By Guest Blogger, Patrick Bradley, Passion for Planting
October is Pastor Appreciation Month here in the US. There are all kinds of pastors in all kinds of churches, but let me make a special challenge: appreciate church planters in your region this month as well.
There are churches being planted all over the country, even during this pandemic.
1. For the Planter: It Can Be Lonely
Ministry can be lonely. That’s part of the point of Pastor Appreciation Month, right? And if that’s true of established church ministry, then it is doubly true of church planting.
A church planter has usually left behind a more stable ministry or marketplace job to take a risk for the Kingdom. They’re calling into existence something that wasn’t there before, including finding people to recruit and developing new leaders. Even if several families went along to help plant, there’s probably not anyone on the team who feels the burden of it all like the church planter.
On top of that, the planter is out there reaching people for Jesus who have little or no church background. Those new believers and not-yet believers aren’t likely to know about Pastor Appreciation Month. The planter may not be getting a special appreciation this month unless you do it.
2. For You: It Can Be Rewarding
Somebody famous once said, “It is more blessed to give that to receive. ” Who knows what that blessing might be? In your effort to identify a church planter and discover their needs or preferences, you might:
- run across a friend in ministry that you haven’t talked to since forever
- make a new friend in the church planter
- discover that what the planter needs intersects with something you’re passionate about
- experience something beyond what you could even ask or imagine
Hold it loosely, but it’s a principle that proves itself out over and over again.
3. For Your Congregation: It Can Invigorate
If you allow word to get out, you might find that it helps your congregation, too.
It could be that someone is looking for a way to serve, and appreciating a church planter is just the opportunity they need. Or you have a group or class that has been looking for an opportunity to serve and discover that the planter has a great opportunity in which they can partner.
It’s easy to forget that not so long ago (in the grand scheme of 2,000 years of the Church), our congregations didn’t exist. Someone started them, in a chain of church planting that goes back to the First Century in Jerusalem. It still makes me grin when I run into seasoned believers who have never heard of this “church planting.” It is missionary work that must continue so that the chain goes unbroken and heaven is filled to the brim.
Maybe appreciating a church planter is just the thing to start a renaissance of church planting to your congregation or to your region.
4. For the Not-Yet Planter: It Can Captivate
Being involved in church planting, even in small ways, may spark someone’s calling. Not that someone is going to stumble into this church planter appreciation and go out next week to plant a church. Usually the path to planting a church is a long road of calling & confirmation. But appreciating a planter may be just what gets someone in your midst to consider for the first time that they might be called to plant.
Or maybe that someone has been running from their calling to plant, and this is something that helps steer them back. You never know.
So as you plan your various appreciation activities, be sure to include something to appreciate church planters in your region.
Patrick is the Director of Operations at Passion for Planting, a ministry that equips church planting leaders to plant healthy, multiplying churches.