In the past couple of years, I have had the privilege of coaching several pastors who were in established churches.  They were fighting existing patterns of ministry and a mentality that in many cases was hindering the church from having a high impact in their community.
When one of those barriers would surface in our coaching conversations, I would make the statement, “You have to begin to think more like a church planter.”  Let me explain; church planters simply work under a different mentality than a traditional ministry:
Church planters are as concerned about who they are going to reach as they are about who they are going to keep.  It isn’t that church planters aren’t concerned about connecting and keeping people.  Most planters I know want to keep everyone who walks through the front door of their church.  However, they refuse to let those who stay take them off the mission of reaching that next wave of people far from God and the Church.  That is a hill they will die on.
Church planters are always on the look out for the next new connection.  The most effective planters I know are always in the community meeting new people, making new connections, and forging relationships that will create a bridge to their church.  They do not have church office to hide in forty plus hours a week.  Their head is always up.  Their eyes are always open.  They are looking for that next opportunity to lead someone to Christ and/or the Church.
Church planters look for solutions that are often outside-the-box.  The short history of a new church demands that solutions to ministry challenges that arise be creative and new.  This outside-the-box mentality is why many new churches live on the cutting edge.  The past doesn’t have to be repeated and these new solutions often lead to new kingdom impact.
Church planters rub two nickels together to make a dollar.  Most planters lack a permanent facility and have limited ministry dollars.  This forces them to figure out creative ways to do more with less.  They refuse to allow the lack of resources to keep them from taking a step of faith or advancing the mission forward.  Doing more with less requires that leaders get creative with what they do have.
Multiplication can take on many fronts around the Church.  It isn’t only for a select few who courageously parachute into a city to start something from scratch.  Multiplication begins to unfold when new ground is being claimed in the Kingdom of God.  Claiming that new ground demands a different mentality, the mentality of a church planter.
Which of these traits needs to come more alive in your ministry?  How can you begin to more intentionally think like a church planter?

Post contributed by Tom Planck, HGC Multiplication Catalyst.

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