Church Planting – the roles of the planter and the established pastor

Chris Miller, President of Miller Management, is the host of this week’s episode. He is joined by his colleague, Matthew Marrs, who is the Pastor at Northland Church and also works with the SEND Network.

Church Planting – part three

This series focuses on why churches should plant other churches and how they can help support others in their planting efforts. The first episode discussed the need for multiple churches, not chairs. Last week’s topic is on supporting other planters. And today the focus is on the roles of the new and the old.

As the Planter

As a new church, how do we engage with the established church?

Matt says, don’t let them find out by seeing the banner on the first week of the launch. You should see the established church as a mentor, someone to reach out to. As the planter, you could ask the Pastor “where do you see a need locally?” They probably have an idea for you, and may even have been feeling overwhelmed that the area is too big for them to handle alone.

Even if that Pastor down the road has never planted a church. They have performed 1,000 funerals, officiated 500 weddings, and counseled several families in multiple situations. Don’t write off the Pastor of the established church; they could be a valuable resource. These people that you want to come into your doors – they die, they want to get married, they get divorced, they have hospital stays; everything that established Pastor has been doing for years.

Some things the planter should ask the established pastor:

  1. Do you feel there is a need in this area?
  2. What specific community?
  3. Can we connect and are you open to coaching me as a new pastor?

As the Established Pastor

As the established Pastor, you may feel like your legacy is in jeopardy. That the flashy new church down the road is trying to encroach on your territory. But let’s take that legacy for a test drive. One example our guest gave was when a Pastor died the church attendance at that church declined. But the churches that they planted? They continued to thrive, even after the death of the Pastor.

“Your planting that you do, will have a far greater, far reaching impact than the one church you pastor. So you should get involved in planting.” – Matt Marrs

THE church will go on, your church will die. Sometimes it could even come full circle. The planted church may one day need to come back around and help the established church they came from. Every church has it’s season.

What do planters need to do to prepare themselves?

The stress of a new plant is real. But we encourage you not to go it alone. You need a team, you need accountability, a coach or mentor is great. They all want you to succeed and thrive; in your church and in your personal life.

One of the things the SEND network does in the application is a marriage assessment. The support at home is huge for church planters. Then they provide a marriage retreat during the planting process. Just like any new thing, it’s going to put a strain on your marriage. Like a new kid does.

According to our guest, spiritual health and the health of the marriage are the two most important things. Almost everything else you can learn as you go.

Word of Caution

One caution to avoid. Avoid “if” and “when” language. “If we get 100 people.” “When we buy the building.” Because that can go on forever. Just like your first kid – there probably isn’t a nursery, car seat, and crib first. Often those things come after the pregnancy news. The same is true of church planting. Our guest’s friend says that anything worth doing is worth doing poorly, at first. You can learn from each plant’s mistakes. There is always someone bigger or smaller than you, don’t wait for them, if the Lord is calling you.

A Call to Action for Healthy Churches

Healthy churches – we encourage you to spend resources in the area of planting. Whether that is through coaching/mentoring, providing administrative resources, funding, the building space, or being the actual planters. We are all called to reach the nations; so let’s get to it.

Join us next week as we conclude our series on Church Planting with Michael Porter.

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Special thanks to our guest, Matt Marrs, and our masters of all things Podcasting, Chris and Lauren Miller, for this third episode in our Church Planting series.