Has God really called you to start a church? The truth is, many church starters talk themselves into starting a church. Some are disgruntled staff members who think they can lead better than their senior pastor. Others see the church dying and think a new style of worship is the answer. Others have watched new churches around the country explode with growth and think, I can do that!
The first question I ask a church starter is, “Has God called you to start a church?” Is this God’s idea or your idea? Has God confirmed this new endeavor for your life or have you been lured at the latest conference? Is this a good idea or a God idea? Because good ideas never build strong churches; “God ideas” build strong churches. Don’t underestimate the power of your calling.
Starting a church is about a personal calling and your journey with God. Do not merely duplicate a new church-starting methodology. Follow your calling.
“Calling” is a fuzzy word that has been watered down, and mystified in the ministry. How can you define it to someone? A calling is personal; it’s the voice of God in your life. Henry Blackaby writes in Experiencing God, “If you have trouble hearing God speak, you are in trouble at the very heart of your Christian experience.”
A calling comes from a relationship—not with vocational training, nor simply a career path. Many church starters fail because they have misunderstood God’s calling for their life. God loves them, and He may have called them to ministry, but not to start a church.
Starting a church and pastoring an established church require very different gifts and abilities. Just as there are specialized positions for professional athletes on a team, an established pastor and a church starter are specialized positions in ministry. A church starter has a different skill set and calling than an established pastor. A church starter is a risk-taker and an entrepreneur. He must be a generalist and wear many hats to get a church off the ground. Most pastors of established churches are specialists who function well in a structure. In new churches, there is no structure. It must be created. Change is the only constant in a new church and a church starter must be able to make decisions quickly.
If you are wrestling with starting a church, first and foremost, get alone with God. Shut out the noise and distractions around you, and take a personal retreat to confirm God’s calling on your life.
Read more from Starting New Churches on Purpose.