The plan:

The plan refers to the planter in regard to the core issue of calling, core questions to help implement the calling, and core values necessary for a healthy Calvary Chapel.

The core issue: calling

       What are the planter’s passions and burdens? What is the planter’s sense of vision? What need or people group is the planter called to? For example if there is a call to reach the next generation, then a community with a college or university may be ideal. On the other hand, if there is a passion for the arts, a rural community may not be the best fit. If there is a burden to reach a multi-ethnic community, a metro area may be a better fit than suburban area. In addition to addressing the individual planter’s sense of calling, there are also some general characteristics that need to be considered.

God has something for each of us to accomplish.

God has something for each of us to accomplish. Paul spoke to this truth in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Jesus also affirmed this truth as he neared the end of His earthy ministry, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do [John 17:4]. Each of us has a particular calling from God, and as we discover that calling and walk in it, we glorify the Father and advance the kingdom of God.

…a planter should be seeking to advance God’s kingdom for God’s glory.

In general, a planter should be seeking to advance God’s kingdom for God’s glory. Would it surprise anyone that some planters are seeking to build an empire for their own glory? Unfortunately, although impure motives are pervasive, no one is eager to confess or repent. Furthermore, many are unaware of the motive matters. The only legitimate motivation for planting is a genuine love of God, His people, and a confirmed sense of call to the work of church planting. Impure motives for prominence, position and power are not a calling and must be identified and addressed through the coaching process.

Impure motives for prominence, position and power are not a calling and must be identified and addressed through the coaching process.

Whose kingdom is the planter focused on? Is there a heart to reach the lost and make disciples? Transfer growth generated by attracting [or even recruiting] disgruntled participants from another local church may not be advancing the Lord’s kingdom an iota. Attracting a mere fan club for the planter, rather than making mature followers of Christ, does not advance the Lord’s kingdom. The crowd does must reflect the characteristics of disciples of Jesus. You’ll get a sense of whose kingdom the planter is focused on as the planter is given charge of growing resources. Support of God’s kingdom is reflected by generosity with kingdom resources to advance God’s work [e.g. supporting global missions or church planting initiatives].

  The general call as a planter will require Christ-like character, Christ-commitment, Christ-confidence and be Christ capable.

The general call as a planter will require Christ-like character, Christ-commitment, Christ-confidence and be Christ capable.

Christ-like character: Does the planter manifest the threshold qualifications described for pastors [1Tim. 3 and Titus 1]? Is the planter submitted to God or does he tend to justify or rationalize attitudes and behaviors that are contra God’s boundaries? Is the planter teachable? What character traits are worthy of affirmation and which are a concern to the coach?

Christ committed: Enduring suffering and difficulty are certain for church planters. Learning to process, grow, and persevere in God’s calling and remain committed to Christ is critical. What are you learning about God, ministry, and yourself through these experiences? Does the planter demonstrate Paul’s attitude that none of the hardships will move him from his call [Ac. 20:24]?

Prepare those you coach to finish well. Robert Clinton concluded in his study of more than 700 Christian leaders that only one of four finished well. In “Seven Habits of Effective Church Leaders” Clinton describes finishing well as: still have loving communion with God at the end of life, still learning at the end of life because we have a learning posture and leaving behind a legacy, having made “ultimate contributions” with our lives.

The leader’s level of commitment will have a direct and proportional impact on reaching the God-inspired destination. What is the leader willing to endure to see the vision become a reality? How committed is the leader to the vision and the inherent challenges to bring about necessary changes to the status quo? John Kotter, in Leading Changes, concludes the number one reason change doesn’t happen is the lack of a sense of urgency [commitment].

            Perseverance is the key: The average tenure for a pastor at a church is about three years, and less than two years for a youth pastor [see, M. Kowalson, “We’re Not Called to Quit” pub. 2.15.07, http://mondaymorninginsight.com]. Unfortunately, most pastors finish their race prematurely. Like Paul, we want to be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that Day, and not only me but also to all who loved His appearing” [2Tim. 4:7-8]. What did Paul know that would help us to be Christ committed and finish our race? First, he understood it was a fight, albeit a good fight, but nonetheless a fight. Be prepared for a battle; this is not going to be a walk in the park. Second, Paul saw the relation between finishing the race and keeping the faith. If you depart from sound doctrine and a healthy relationship with Christ, you will likely fail to finish your race. Third, Paul understood that, although his primary motivation for ministry was love for God, he was confident there were eternal rewards waiting. Please remember Christ desires to greet you with the words, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord” [Mt. 25].

How is the planter struggling in his calling and how can you encourage him to remain committed to Christ during the especially challenging of being a planter and pastor? I remember Pastor Chuck Smith telling countless stories of planters who had gone out from Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa and were struggling. They would share their struggles, and essentially beg Chuck to bring them back home. Generally Pastor Chuck would simply encourage them to continue for just six more months and see what God would do. Then, six months later the call would come and the cycle would repeat once more – just another six months. Often as the church plant eclipsed the two-year anniversary the calls to come home had stopped. The planter and plant had remained committed and reaped the blessings and benefits. So, sometimes simply encouraging the planter to continue in his calling, committed to Christ, is the best coaching possible.

…simply encouraging the planter to continue in his calling, committed to Christ, is the best coaching possible.

Comments

comments

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get these thoughts delivered to your inbox weekly

You have Successfully Subscribed!