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I’m continuing my “what if I church planted again series.” You can read the first post here.

If I church planted again I would do my very best to keep *most* Christians away. When a church planter lacks cash he/she usually says yes to anyone and everyone. Its lonely when you are broke and have no one at attend your mid-week Bible study/vision meeting. So what do we usually do? We Say YES…Please come, hang out…And its was a very very very bad move. (remember-I’ve already made all these mistakes 🙂

Not only does it hurt you-its hurts the other person also. But beyond that most Christians just don’t know how to reach those who are far from God. I know that may sting, please understand my passion for those who are far from God. We plant churches for one key reason-to reach people for Christ. Numbers mean nothing without this aspect in mind. It’s not how big your church is that counts: is you’re church reaching those who are far from the cross? That to me is the only metric that means anything for a church planter. Therefore it’s vital to make sure this is in the ethos of the church from the start. 

Not to be a dead-horse…But this is why I think it’s vital for church planters to get a job and plant the church naturally. It’s easier to make good decisions when you are not stressed out for money. This is also why I’m VERY VERY VERY opposed to metrics…We need to do our job, we need accountability, but who am I to say how many people I will have in such and such time-frame? God can water when and how he wants. Now I’m not opposed to goals and asking God to help reach those goals…But that’s another post with deep theological implications.

Next post: When to say yes to a Christian who wants to plant with you. Remember its rare!



  1. Hey Chris, how do you determine which Christians can stay and which need to go? What are the indicators you are looking for?

    I understand your point, and I have heard it said by many others, but I have a concern. Making disciples happens through lost people coming to faith as well as through expanding the gospel to Christians who only have a part gospel. If a Christian doesn’t know how to reach someone far from God, isn’t that our responsibility as pastors? Even in a church plant?

    And yes, I know the argument that new Christians are the best evangelist, but maybe that sad truth won’t continue if we also bring Christians to repentance. Christians should be ‘better’ evangelist as they mature, not worse.

    If someone is chasing metrics while planting, then maybe they toss the weak Christians aside while only accepting strong Christians. If someone is not chasing metrics, then we have time to call Christians to repentance. We have had some good fruit in calling Christians to repentance and they are becoming more missional each week.

    For me, we take whoever God gives us that responds to a clear vision casting while gauging their teachability, raising the missional focus and bar, the discipleship expectations and letting them repent and respond or drop out on their initiative, rather than on mine.

    Often when I ‘learn’ something that is difficult, it is not for me to avoid it in the future, but to redeem it in the future.

    Love you bro, and love your heart for those who are far from Christ.

  2. Jacob,
    Good stuff bro. I’m going to post some thoughts post-lunch. I think you hit it on the nail-I would accept Christians if they really understood the mission and vision. But so much gets lost in translation.

    I’m also shocked I have not had more response to these post.

  3. David Smith told me that if I ever started anything, to make sure that I didn’t bring my christian friends, because they would just want to have church. I understood what he meant and what you are saying as well.

    Doing a plant bivocationally takes some of the financial stress off, but a church still needs money and christians are used to giving it. God is mighty and knows what we need, so going without a christian base of givers is another opportunity to trust His sufficiency.

    I also understand what you are saying about metrics. The question is not whether to have metrics. As lazy humans, we must have accountability and a way to measure progress. The question is what those metrics will be and who decides.

  4. I am finding your post and comments very worth the reading. I serve 2 churches in 2 seperate communities in the frontier of Nebraska. They are filled with traditional Christians (yes even though they are traditional I believe they are Chrisitans) who give and serve and work.
    I struggle with the fact we do very little active mission work. It is difficult to gather them for visioning. Then I get curious about your post and wonder how it translates over to church replanting???
    I came to this community and began being a chaplain to it and that has given me many contacts but few ever join the church.
    Not sure how to move to a newer level with my ministry. Thanks for the thoughts WaynO

  5. Waybo,

    Thanks for reading. I pray God leads you’re church into a great work.


    That is the tension with metrics. We need to aim at something. Balance is key.

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