Jordan Thigpen explains that lostness deserves the best of our efforts for the sake of proclaiming the gospel around the world.
3 reasons to send our best to plant churches
Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018
“Why are we sending some of our best leaders to plant a church? We don’t have enough leaders as it is.”
That was the question presented to me as our 22-month-old church prepared to plant our first new work in the next county over. It was a fair question; we were not even two years old.
We weren’t planting because we were out of space — we were doing two services in a 475-seat movie theater. We weren’t planting because we had an abundance of resources — at the time we had pastors who were working on volunteer status. So, why are we sending out leaders to plant a new church?
We recognized a need
Some of the people on our core team were from a neighboring county who then became leaders in our church plant. It wasn’t long before we had a significant amount of people who were driving in from their small towns because of their relationships — more than 100 of them in a 12-month period. It was obvious that there were people who wanted to be a part in what God was doing through our new church, and it was time to act on those desires. You may be able to convince Christians to drive 30 miles to church, but it’s really hard to reach their friends from that far away. God had blessed us with this new church and new leaders, and we wanted to be a blessing beyond our town. We saw a need and an opportunity. God had placed these leaders on our team for such a time as this, and now He was sending some of our best leaders back home to reach their community.
Reproducing creates opportunities
When our church was five months old, we told our leadership that we would begin a second service in three months. As you can imagine, our kids ministry freaked out because they were already struggling with team members. We shared with them that this was actually going to be a plus for their ministry because now their workers could serve on Sunday in kids and go to church because they would be able to attend one and serve one.
Reproducing services provides more seats and more serving opportunities for your church attendees. The same thing can happen when you send leaders to plant new churches — some team members become leaders, some attendees become team members. Church planting gives the opportunity for new leaders to step up. Will you feel the absence of these departing leaders presence? You better believe it. But their leaving shows others that they, too, are important to the mission of the church. There will be leaders who would not be serving and leading had you not sent some of your best.
This is what we do
Before a new church even has a name, the core leadership should have aspirations to be a reproducing church. We had been reading a lot about church planting and church multiplication movements and heard the phrase, “Churches should plant before the cement dries.” We didn’t want to become one of those churches that knows that it should plant but never gets around to it. Every church should be a planting church. Every church should be giving itself away often.
When we were preparing to plant our first church and were asked, “Why are we sending leaders to plant a church?” Our answer was simple: Because this is what we do.
In the book, Gaining by Losing, J.D. Greear says, “God calls his leaders, not to a platform to build a great ministry for themselves, but to an altar where they die unto themselves. This means sending out the best with abandon.” Since that day, we have partnered with nine church plants and will continue to send our best because it is the best that we can give. Isn’t the gospel worth it?
EDITOR'S NOTE: Mike Pittman is the lead pastor and founding planter of Vertical Church.