What Are We Looking For in a Church Planter?

in Blog

Vision-casting ability

  • Someone who can see beyond what is to what might be.
  • Sees resistance as an opportunity rather than a reason to stop.
  • Is able to communicate a clearly articulated vision of the new work.
  • Can not only communicate but can ask people to join them on mission.
  • Provides pathways for people to connect.
  • Makes the process seem simple, not easy.
  • Isn’t just a “dreamer”, but can develop a plan to bring the vision to reality.
  • Believes God will show up in power.


Self-starter and resilient

  • Is committed to excellence.
  • Knows how to get things done in a timely fashion.
  • Is willing to work hard.
  • Displays a high energy level and is healthy enough to sustain it.
  • Is flexible and adaptable.
  • Can manage their time and work without supervision.
  • Is growing in their understanding of who they are in Christ.
  • Can handle rejection and resistance without folding.
  • Knows that there will be challenges.
  • Is emotionally stable enough to handle the inevitable ups and downs.
  • Can handle loss, pain and struggle.
  • Is a hopeful and positive person.


Believes in the concept of team

  • Knows how to communicate the vision and get buy in from others.
  • Is comfortable with delegating.
  • Can get people to take the next step of discipleship no matter where they currently are.
  • Can help everyone understand the vision for this unique church.
  • Gains commitment from others to the shared vision, mission and values.
  • Can set benchmarks that can be achieved and create momentum.
  • Regularly celebrates the “wins” corporately.
  • Honors volunteers and staff.

Is committed to evangelism, compassion, mercy and justice

  • Is willing to engage the culture and share the Gospel.
  • Is a student of the culture and isn’t afraid to move in it.
  • Has a circle of un-churched friends they meet with regularly.
  • Is committed to equipping and training the church to engage the community.
  • Will tithe of their time to engage those who are far from God.
  • Breaks down barriers between churched and un-churched people.
  • Majors on grace.
  • Can handle the “messy” lives of those who are far from God.
  • Can communicate in a way that allows everyone to understand the Good News.
  • Can build trust in those who distrust organized religion and the church.

Has a fully committed spouse (if married)

  • Church planting is a team effort and requires equal commitment on the part of husband and wife.
  • Understands how to separate home and work in a healthy way.
  • Knows how to create a team at home.
  • Can develop boundaries around the use of the home for church activities.
  • Understands that their family is their first mission field.

Values relationships

  • Is committed to “loving well”.
  • Non-judgmental of those in transition.
  • Wants to get to know people and develop honest relationships
  • Doesn’t view people as a means to accomplish a goal.
  • Knows that spending time with people IS the job.
  • Can move comfortably amongst a lot of different people groups and cultures.
  • Is compassionate and caring.

Is committed to planting a thriving, reproducing church

  • Understands the need for the church to become self-sustaining and reproducing.
  • Counts numbers because those numbers represent people Jesus loves.
  • Won’t let the church slip into maintenance mode.
  • Knows that stability is the enemy of vitality.
  • Believes that God wants the church to grow, thrive, and reproduce
  • Realizes that it isn’t just about more, but about helping people grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus.

Understands the Biblical concept of
“The Body of Christ” and the “Priesthood of all Believers”

  • Doesn’t try to meet all the ministry needs alone.
  • Is committed to helping people discover their gifts, and then use and develop those gifts.
  • Realizes they’re not good enough or smart enough to plant a church alone.
  • Will not project their gifts on others.
  • Is an encourager and will celebrate with others.
  • Can develop enough structure to prevent ministry burnout.
  • Will equip and then release others to do ministry (Ephesians 4)
  • Exercises discernment and discipline when necessary.

Engages the broader community

  • Gets to know the civic leaders, teachers, and business leaders in the community.
  • Purchases or finds relevant demographic data on the community.
  • Willing to do a community needs analysis to determine how best the church can engage the community.
  • Prioritizes people’s time and resources for maximum impact.
  • Adopting the way church is done to adapt to the needs in their community.
  • Is a gifted communicator and preacher/teacher.

Is a good fit for church planting in their chosen context

  • Is a good denominational fit.
  • Has the right spiritual gifts for church planting.
  • Handles their finances in a responsible way.
  • Fits the community they are targeting culturally.
  • Has the right temperament for church planting.
  • Has full-time vocational ministry experiences (usually 5 years or more)
  • Has shown fruit in previous ministry contexts.

Has excellent communication skills

  • Has experience preaching and teaching.
  • Is a lifelong learner and listens and studies other good communicators.
  • Can write and communicate in a clear and compelling way.
  • Preaches in a way that helps people take steps on their faith journey toward Christ.
  • Can plan and organize a preaching and teaching schedule based on the ability to listen to God and to study the congregation.

Has the ability to gather people

  • Has the ability to attract people to follow the vision that God has given them.
  • Is not intimidated by the prospect of meeting new people.
  • Can handle criticism without becoming overly defensive.
  • Has identified mentors or spiritual directors with whom they are able to share the struggles they are experiencing personally and in their ministry.
  • Is grace filled and able to relate to people much different than themselves.
  • Has an understanding of how to work with highly needy or highly controlling people without letting them pull focus away from the vision and mission.
  • Is energized by meeting the needs of people.
  • Can operate as a shepherd and provide care for people.

Is committed to see discipleship happen

  • Is committed to personally disciple a few key leaders.
  • Is personally involved in a small group.
  • Can develop a clear pathway of discipleship to move people from new believers to a deeper walk with Christ.
  • Is committed to developing, and living into, a personal spiritual development plan each year.
  • Is a student of the Bible and can teach or can delegate and equip those who can.
  • Can develop a way to move people into church membership.

Has a growing knowledge of church planting

  • Has read key recommended books in the area of church planting.
  • Is willing to take classes and attend seminars and workshops.
  • Has been a participant in group church planter training.
  • Is a part of a monthly cohort of church planters.
  • Understands the methodology of Project Jerusalem Church Planting and is committed to planting a self-sustaining church.
  • Is committed to numerical as well as spiritual growth.
  • Understands the difference between being a pastor in an established church and what is needed to be the pastor of a church plant.
  • Is committed to planting a daughter church in the first 3-5 years of their plant.
  • Supports the broader church planting movement within our PJ family network of churches.
  • Is coachable and teachable.

Is willing to be flexible

  • Can cope with the unknown.
  • Can cope with constant change and upheaval.
  • Can adapt their style and desires to the situation.
  • Is willing to shift priorities as situations change.
  • Will do whatever is necessary for maximum impact.
  • Won’t let the church settle into routines and ritual.
  • Can adapt leadership styles when working with volunteers and staff.

Is compatible with a Baptist Church heritage

  • Is committed to planting a Bible-centered Baptist church in doctrine and polity (though not necessarily with a Baptist name).
  • Understand the key distinctives that set Baptists apart historically.
  • Has read and agrees with our BBS Statement of Faith.
  • Understands and embraces some form of elder-led, deacon-served congregational polity.
  • Is willing to support the broader ministries of the emerging Project Jerusalem network of church.
  • Desires to be a part of a family of churches engaged in mission together.

Will work on agenda harmony

  • Can build a “launch team” and a “leadership team”.
  • Can develop a pathway for guests to connect with the church.
  • Can develop small groups or some other connectional ministry.
  • Will deal with conflict in a healthy way.
  • Knows how to lead in a way that people are willing to follow.
  • Can help a crowd become a church.

Is a person of great faith

  • Believes that the church is God’s first, best and only plan to reach the world with the life and hope of Jesus.
  • Is filled with hope and anticipation.
  • Is unwilling to develop a contingency plan just in case “this church planting thing doesn’t work out.”
  • Trusts that prayer is the first and most important thing they can engage in.
  • Believes with everything in them that God WILL show up in power.
  • Transformation is expected every time the people of God gather.
  • Is “all in”.