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January 16, 2016

Your Greatest Contribution to Planting

By Mike McDaniel

Tim Wilson

If I asked you what the single greatest contribution your church could make to church planting would be, what would you say?

If you were to say, we could give more of our budget to church planting, then I’d respond with the fact that church planting is one of the best investments your church can make. If you were to say, we could plant a church, then I’d respond by sharing the fact that there is nothing like sending out a church plant that is as powerful to instill mission into the culture of your church. Or maybe you want to start a residency program. Or adopt several planters.

You should consider all of those things. But let me suggest the one thing that ONLY your church can do that might be your greatest contribution to church planting—it’s developing leaders.

Everyone knows that we need to plant more churches. But what we tend to assume is that the greatest barrier to planting more churches is a lack of funds. It’s not. The greatest obstacle to planting more churches is a lack of planters.

Now don’t get me wrong. We need more funds. Ask any church planter and they’ll tell you. But based on the conversations I’ve had with church planting leaders, the greater limiting factor isn’t money, but planters.

I Planted, Apollos Watered…

Our church has planted 25 churches domestically. A lot of our planters have come out of our congregation. One of our biggest wins last year was planting a guy who came to our church as a college student. A couple of years ago we sent a church planting team to Asia that consisted of eight college graduates, seven of whom became Christians at our church. But for the vast majority of people we’ve sent, we played only one part in their story. Some of them came to us already sensing a call to plant.

Those people didn’t come out of churches with a residency program and a big church planting vision. But what those churches did was invest in them as a leader. Somewhere, someone invited them to serve; someone gave them their first time to lead or teach. And that investment is one of the main reasons they’re planting a church today.

Here’s what I know: all the church planters we need to reach North America are found in our churches. What we’ve got to do is find them. So by all means support planters, plant a church, start a residency, but don’t miss out on the one thing only you can do: raising up the leaders God has put in your congregation.

Planting Churches = Leadership Development

Let me give you one more reason to invest in developing leaders as a means to church planting. The longer I’ve been doing this, the more I’ve realized that for the sending church, church planting = leadership development. We don’t plant the church. Our role is to invest in the leader(s).

Here’s why that should be encouraging. Your church may have no experience planting churches, but you probably have leadership experience. You could go a long way to change the game for a lot of church planters simply by passing on that experience.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike McDaniel

Mike McDaniel (@mikermcd) is the Pastor of Church Planting and Leadership Development at The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC and the Director of The Summit Network. Over the last 5 years, the Summit has sent out over 300 people to plant 19 churches in North America. Mike has a Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, MA, though he originally hails from Texas. He lives in Durham, NC, with his beautiful wife Jamie and their daughters Madelyn and Amelia.

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