I just recorded a podcast with Larry Kreider and Ron Myer and discussed the topic of church planting. One of the questions Larry asked us was regarding “landmines to look out for.” I shared a couple of “landmines” on the podcast but wanted to expand on his question in this blog post. So, here are some of the most common landmines I have noticed and learned from.
1. The Lone Ranger Syndrome
One of the biggest landmines a church planter can fall into is the Lone Ranger Syndrome. This is when someone tries to accomplish everything independently without help or support. It’s admirable to want to be self-sufficient, but the reality is that it’s impossible to plant a church entirely on your own. So be sure to seek a network of support from other pastors, church planters, and denominational leaders, but also gather a team within the church plant. Empower them to do tasks even if they don’t do them as well as you might to do them. John Maxwell speaks of a 70% rule. Whenever someone can do the job at 70% of your capacity, equip and empower them to take on the task.
2. Overreliance on Technology
Technological advances have made it easier than ever to do just about anything, including planting a church. However, it’s important to remember that technology is just a tool and cannot replace human connection. Therefore, there must be a balance between leveraging technology to reach people and realizing that building real-life relationships is essential.
3. Lack of Prayer
Prayer is critical to the success of any church plant. Praying for God’s guidance and provision in every aspect of the process is essential. However, with so much work to do, it’s easy to prioritize other things over prayer. Remember to take the time to pray for your church, your team, and your community.
4. Overemphasis on Numbers
It’s easy to fall into the trap of measuring success based solely on numbers. However, numbers are not always an accurate reflection of the health and vibrancy of a church. Instead of focusing on attendance numbers, focus on building meaningful relationships with people and creating a culture of discipleship. If you document specific metrics, consider counting the total volunteers that serve on a Sunday, how many members are involved in small groups, or how many first-time guests attend the church each Sunday.
5. Lack of Boundaries
The reality of church planting is that it can be all-consuming. With so much to do, putting everything else on hold and neglecting a healthy work-life balance is easy. Church planting is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s essential to have clear boundaries in place to ensure that you prioritize your family, health, and spiritual life.
Church planting is an incredible journey, but it’s important to be aware of the landmines that could derail your efforts. You can learn by experience, or you can by others’ experiences. I pray this helps you as you endeavor to plant a life-giving church for the glory of God.