Last month, we introduced the three essentials of church planting: the right planter, the right place, and the right plan. This month, we’ll focus on the right planter.

 You’ve heard the old saying that “everything rises or falls on leadership.” Nowhere is this more evident than in a church planting endeavor. As goes the church planter, so goes the church. Over the past couple of decades, different denominations and church planting networks have developed formal assessment processes to evaluate prospective church planting candidates. When conducted well, I have found these processes to be extremely beneficial for the planter and spouse as well as the sending church or agency. While no two church planters are just alike, every planter exhibits three distinguishing characteristics.

  1. They are Called by God.

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said,

“Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Acts 13:2 (NIV)

The right planters are called by God. This call is evidenced by an internal work of the Holy Spirit within the planter and confirmed by Godly leadership around the planter.

  1. They are Compelled by the Love of Christ.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 2 Corinthians 5:14 (NIV)

Right planters are compelled by the love of Christ. Their primary motive for church planting is directly related to their passionate pursuit of Christ and their compassionate heart for people.

  1. They are Competent Ministers of the Gospel.

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our

competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new

covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 (NIV)

The right planters possess the evident character, gifts, skills, knowledge, and abilities that lend themselves to the church-planting arena. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they focus on bringing people into a saving relationship with Christ, building and equipping people into disciples and leaders, and mobilizing them into ministry and mission to change the world!


by Jay Nickless, church planting field coordinator