Need escalates for church planters

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Planting 60 new churches in 10 years will require qualified personnel

Mission USA news

Recruiting gifted, qualified church planters is a growing priority for Mission USA, the USMB church planting and church health ministry. As the vision of planting six new churches by the end of 2012 unfolds, the bulk of the work in starting these new churches will be on the shoulders of leaders who have what it takes to get the job done right.

In light of this, the eight USMB staff members have adopted a six-month theme of praying for new church planters and looking for church planters within their individual spheres of ministry.

To date, several names of potential planters have been channeled to Mission USA.

“I have had names come to me from many sources, including our USMB staff,” says Don Morris, Mission USA director. “Some names come from our MB family and some are names from outside our family.

“Another avenue for finding church planters comes from our district leaders,” says Morris. “In fact, district leaders quite often take the lead in discerning leaders who have the capabilities to start something new.”

While Morris is thankful for the growing list of names, he is quick to emphasize the importance of carefully assessing potential church planters.

“Although many names may come to us, we need to make sure that these are leaders who have the right kind of gifts,” says Morris. “Otherwise, it will be detrimental to us as we seek to plant churches and to the leader and his family if they find themselves in a failing environment,” he says.

Finding qualified church planters has become an issue for this year as well as for coming years. Our vision is to plant 60 churches in the next 10 years—six per year. This will require a pipeline of church planters who are in various stages of development. Some leaders will need to spend time in a current church plant environment to learn how to plant a church from the ground up. Other leaders may need experience in preaching or leading teams.

Mission USA is in the process of developing, along with district church planting boards, a system that will enable church plant interns and apprentices to work their way through a prescribed plan of preparation.

“Just yesterday I had a very strong church planter candidate ask me, ‘What do I need to do to get ready to plant a church?’” says Morris. “That is exciting, because it tells me that they are in it to do it right, not just to do it. We want to reduce the number of failed church plants to as low a percentage as we can. To do this, we need to develop and train excellent planters.”

Morris says the national average, for all denominations, for failed church plants is about 32 percent. The USMB failed rate is now around 20 percent.

“If we can keep it there or below, we know we have done a good job of choosing, assessing and preparing church planters,” Morris says.

Morris invites all USMB churches to be in the ongoing mode of discerning church planters. With 60 new churches on the horizon over the next 10 years, the need is obvious. “With God, all things are possible!” says Morris.

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