Home > Blog > From Volunteer to Church Planter

August 23, 2018

From Volunteer to Church Planter

By New Churches Team

It Starts With a Vision

Do you feel like God has recently given you a vision for something that seems big and unattainable? Maybe it’s scary to think about all the work it would take to launch that idea. You just aren’t sure where to start, and so you don’t. You say, “I don’t have the time, energy, or resources to do this right, so I will wait until other things in my life calm down.”

Recently, Daniel chatted with Dave Clayton pastor of Ethos Church in Nashville, Tenn., and founder of Onward, a global family of leaders committed to planting churches and making disciples. They discussed what it looks like to raise up volunteers within your church and high level leaders to be church planters. While discussing Onward, Dave spoke about how to get started when God gives you what seems like an unattainable vision.

First Steps

When Dave Clayton was just 21 years old he felt God calling him to start a campus ministry. Through this grass roots ministry, Dave and his wife saw a void between people who were coming into the Kingdom, but weren’t learning how to live in community with other Kingdom people. This led them to start a church. In the beginning, they thought the church would be a small house church, but it was quickly clear that God had other plans in mind. Within 5 years, they started a residency program, Onward, which trains leaders to be church planters.

Just Start

When Dave began Onward, he had a vision for residents who would move to Nashville and spend time learning about being a leader, learning about church planting, and volunteering within the church and community to gain real life experience. But he also knew that he needed time to figure out the best way to make that program work. So for the first year, he asked 10 people within his church to go through the program with him—meeting every Tuesday for lunch to have discussions about books they were reading and tasks they did throughout the week. He gave those leaders permission to evaluate the program throughout the year so they could discuss what worked when it was over.

Now, four years later, the program is two years long. The members watch videos using Ministry Grid and then put their learning into practice, so that when they meet on Tuesdays, they are able to come to the table as missional practitioners instead of missional philosophers.

So, what does this mean for you and your dream?

To read the remainder of the article, and to watch the full video, click here.

This video is part of Plus Membership. To get full access to it, and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member.



New Churches Team

NewChurches.com wants to help you build a strong foundation by connecting you with top experts in the field of church planting and multisite ministry, and by regularly providing you with the resources, information, and community you need to thrive as you multiply the mission of Matthew 28.


view all
Leading in Times of Crisis

Exclusive Content

A Commission For All

Exclusive Content

Your Life Is Not Your Own [Training Video]
The Dangers of Criticism

Exclusive Content

10 Steps to Effective Easter Preparation

Exclusive Content

How to Evangelize During COVID

Exclusive Content