Rising Challenges for Church Planters


Photo By: Joshua Earle

In 2011, Ed Stetzer and Todd Wilson, from Exponential, compiled a list of the top challenges facing planters today. These included:

  1. Leadership Development and Reproducing Culture
  2. Financial Self-Sufficiency and Viability
  3. Launch Team Development and Mobilizing Volunteers
  4. Systems, Processes and Cultures
  5. Casting Vision and Avoiding Mission Drift
  6. Evangelism and Discipleship
  7. Spiritual, Physical and Mental Health of the Planter and Family

Current or potential planters would do well to comb through and reflect upon this study. Bringing some pastoral perspective, Darrin Patrick adds another aspect needing to be heard. When asked what the greatest challenge is facing a planter today (see here), Darrin Patrick responded:

“Himself. Period. Can you die to yourself so that God can do something through and in spite of you? Can you trust Jesus to build the church and not overwork so you won’t destroy your health, marriage, and family? Can you surround yourself with friends who challenge you and not just fans who like your vision? Are you able to train and empower godly elders who will serve as your equals and will more than once save your and the church from certain implosion?”

[Tweet “Church planting is not for the faint of heart.”] Stetzer and Wilson’s study makes this clear. Many challenges await church planters; as Darrin reminds us, none is more challenging then yourself.

 Command and teach these things.  Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.  Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:11-16).



CGCS Administrator
Center for Great Commission Studies
The Great Commission Studies (CGCS) is the hub of Southeastern’s Great Commission efforts, helping develop students and faculty members who are Great Commission servants of their local churches. The CGCS serves the Southeastern community in four major areas: academics, research, mobilization, and convention relationships.
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Posted in Blog, Missions, Planter's Bulletin, Pray for Missionaries.

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