Launching a new church is no small feat. There are many things to consider when in the throws of church planting. Mainly the question has to be “Are you called to plant a church?” The calling of an apostolic church planter is the anchor that will keep that planter going when the going gets tough. When you advertise for your Sunday gatherings and only 15 people show up, the test of if you are really called to do what you’re doing will come into play.
Church In A Box
Now I’m referring to grassroots church planting here. I can’t speak from the “church in a box” planting model that so many churches use in modern day culture. Is this the easier way to plant a church? Maybe. There are advantages and disadvantages to every church planting model out there. However, I can only speak from our experience in our process of planting a life-giving, grassroots church in Elgin.
So what exactly is a “call”? We can start by explaining what a call is not. A call from God is not seeing a interesting formation of what you think is the face of Jesus in the fluffy clouds during your lunch break on your job. A call from God is much more mature than that.
It is a nagging feeling, deep inside your heart, that no matter how hard you try and run or ignore it, it keeps popping up in your heart.
The Call To Do Exploits
A call from God typically will involve an extraordinary feat, or something that naturally would be completely impossible for you to accomplish on your own strength. This is why I question the involvement of God in some of our so called “church planting efforts”. They are too small minded, to easily constructed and too man centered.
I believe a call is a combination of several pieces to a puzzle:
- Your history with God
When looking at your “call” you can see for yourself how God has used you in various scenarios and contexts in the past. I consider this “training ground” or preparation for your function or calling. Keep in mind, the call doesn’t necessarily have to be related to church work. The call can be considered any area of vocation for your life, from politics to art. Look at how God has used you in the past and prepared you for where you are to go.
- Your particular passion
Sometimes we believe that God could never call us to something that we are actually passionate about. Somehow, this is too good to be true. Where did we ever get the idea that we have to endure pain and suffering to submit under the true call of God? Is the call easy? No. Is it difficult? Most likely. Does it invigorate you? YES! Then go after what the desire in your heart is.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
- Your gifting or skill set
Take a look at your unique, tailor made gift set. What can you do that no one else can do? Where this gifting and passion intersect is where your call would be. Not everyone loves to get up in front of people and speak. Nor should everyone get up and speak to groups of people. We should assess and evaluate people on the basis of their gifting, anointing or skill set. Find out what you are a “10” in. Most likely, this is where you will find your call.
The apostolic call is one that cannot be manufactured, though some try. To plant churches, establish Kingdom emissaries, you must absolutely need a true and genuine call from God. Not only does the individual need the call, the call must be affirmed and confirmed through the local church or presbytery of ministers. In my experience of planting new churches, the planter must rely upon the call no matter what. The call will continually pull the apostle forward into the future of what God wants to build, seen or unseen.