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3 Ways to Raise Up More Church Planters

By Scott Sanders

When driving down the Great Western Highway at night, the lights of Sydney illuminate the great size of the task. Sydney has a little over 4.9 million people. Research suggests that as many as about 4.5 million people do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

In my role working with the Australian church planting network Geneva Push, I’m constantly asking myself, ‘How will we reach this city, this region or this community with the life transforming news of Jesus?’ It’s often in conversation with church leaders, groups of elders, potential church planters and church members all with a desire to see people move from darkness to light. Part of the answer is raising up more full-time Christian ministers. Which brings me back to the Great Western Highway…

The reason for the drive was a conference. It was run by The Ministry Training Strategy and aimed at encouraging young leaders to follow a path into full-time ministry. The organisers set about achieving this in three ways every ministry can learn from.

1. Going Beyond the Fringes

Firstly, being motivated by God’s Word to take the gospel to the world, the gospel-poor parts of Australia and then everywhere else (we reflected on the Lordship of Christ from the book of Colossians). Colossians has some great passages to reflect on: Paul the suffering apostle to the Gentiles (Col 1:1, 21, 2:1, 4:3, 18); the Colossians and their fruit (Col 1:3-7); and the Lordship of Christ (Col 1:15-20). God’s Word needs to push us out beyond the fringes with with the gospel.

2. Gathering Together

Secondly, gathering together with others thinking through full-time gospel ministry. There is an obvious energy that comes from shared experience. If your church can’t be part of something bigger find opportunities to take young leaders away together to talk through the implications of following Jesus in all their lives. During the weekend there was time to reflect alone on what would next steps look like, the way they’ve seen God grow their character, convictions and ministry competencies, and the obstacles to full-time ministry.

3. Learning From Others

Finally, the young leaders were given time to this through with an experienced ministry worker. As part of the weekend each participant took part in a one hour interview. Our churches are full of people with different ministry pathways and experiences. Personally, it was a joy to spend time with two young guys hearing their testimony, wrestling together with them about current struggles and talking through next steps.

I attended a similar conference 17 years ago at the age of 20. I realize now how important this conference was in seeing the needs outside (and in) my local church. I’m thankful for the opportunity to reflect on the gifts given me by God (personally and through the web of relationships) and the importance of the body of Christ.

The application to church planting is clear. If we want to see more churches planted, we need to be actively engaged in raising up more leaders for the huge harvest field.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Scott Sanders

Since June 2010, Scott Sanders has worked closely with church leaders throughout Australia to see new churches established in his role as Executive Director of the Geneva Push, an Australian church-planting network. Prior to working with Geneva Push, Scott was the Secondary School Chaplain and Head of Christian Studies at SCECGS Redlands from 2007-2010. He completed his Master of Divinity at SMBC in 2006 and worked as a Tax Manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Transfer Pricing and International Tax.

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