Evangelical churches across America are looking for people to start churches. Many will say the most difficult reason we are not planting more churches is that we are “tapped out” of church planters.
I wholeheartedly disagree and challenge the notion that we are “tapped out.” In this article I offer three relatively untouched areas of abundant resources for leaders, disciples, pastors familiar with APEST, and promising church planters.
Local Bible College, Bible University or Seminary:
There are hundreds, maybe thousands of Bible trained, passionate and eager leaders, disciples, promising pastors to be. At a recent graduation for Pacific Rim University in Hawaii, of the entire graduating class, the large majority are overlooked as leaders, disciples, pastors, chaplains and church planters. We incorrectly assume that these graduates are already identified as leaders in their respective churches, already in a process for licensure and leadership; but this is surprisingly NOT the norm. Consider visiting Life Pacific College, Pacific Rim University, New Hope Christian College and the dozens of Bible Colleges, Universities, or Seminaries just in our Pacific Southwest District alone. Adopt a student, find an intern (and pay them good money!), engage a prospective scholar/athlete toward the ministry. I have found graduates who are young, but trusted and mature enough to completely run a church right now as a pastor or chaplain. Bible Colleges, Universities and Seminaries are an overflowing reservoir of talented, hard working NextGen leaders and church planters.
Marketplace Leaders Ministry:
This Ministry has produced hundreds of able, willing and capable leaders, council persons, pastors and church planters. Many are waiting for you to invite them. These leaders are already experts at team building and people skills, adept at finances and generators of ideas and income, some even bible trained. One leader I know was the president of a large bank and top notch theologian who was not used except for his knowledge about finances. Completely trustworthy, he became a pastor and is living a dream teaching weekly bible studies to a packed audience. Marketplace Leaders Ministry is a seed bed for pastors and church planters as they are calculating risk takers, entrepreneurial in spirit, and proven competitors who can win in both task and people.
Local Church Summer Camp:
The National Basketball Association, National Football League and Major League Baseball organizations are finding talent and drafting these student athletes out of high school…why can’t we do the same? Consider visiting our youth camps to encourage, exhort and prophesy over these NextGen leaders. They are out in full force as campers and leaders at the camp which I call a cradle or nest of leadership. A strong majority of current pastors found their calling at Summer Camp. There are so many benefits of serving at Cedar Crest or other Summer Camp: Your youthful zeal is rekindled, there is great opportunity to transform a life, you can identify the special, talented, and gifted early.
Rather than “tapped out” I believe that these reservoirs, seedbeds, cradles and nests are virtually “untapped springs” for leadership, pastors and future church planters. Let’s have eyes that see!