Church Planter Coaching

The Church Planting staff of Mission to North America is convinced that on-site coaching and mentoring of church planters is absolutely critical to the life and health of our church planting ministry and to the church planter and his family as well. As you read through the information below, you will see our heart and passion for this ministry, and our staff welcomes the chance to interact with you on these issues personally.

Church Planter Coaching Goals:

As the PCA continues to plant churches across North America, there is a growing need to provide ongoing support for church planters, who face tremendous challenges both in ministry and in their personal lives as they balance the demands of ministry with their family needs. They require ongoing, hands-on encouragement, accountability, and guidance. The PCA has done relatively well in recruiting, assessing, and placing church planters at the rate of 40-50 per year for the past several years, but ongoing coaching once a planter enters the field has often been lacking. As a result, many church planters have become discouraged and burned out while others have fallen to temptation, and consequently their families and churches have suffered. Many other denominations have recognized this need and have taken steps to address it. In the PCA the need will only become more acute as we continue to plant new churches, especially if we are successful in assessing, training, and placing increasing numbers of planters in the future. Many leaders in the PCA have indicated that the support and coaching of church planters is the number one need for MNA to address, supplementing what is already provided in the training opportunities we have in place.

The Need for a Coaching Ministry:

“I can’t take it anymore.” Pastors may not clearly remember the first time they spoke these words. These are the words that come from a heart frustrated when the call of God on a minister’s life meets with resistance or is outright interrupted. This squelching may come in many forms: a difficult individual relationship, an apathetic congregation, the sheer weight of trying to meet the parishioners’ felt needs. Worse, it may come from a spouse.

More than 70% of pastors do not have a close friend with whom they can openly share their struggles. The dominant cause for pastors to leave the pastoral ministry is burnout. Number two is moral failure. These are alarming statistics. And there are many more:

  • 80% of pastors believe the pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families (Life Enrichment Ministries – 1998)
  • Only 50% of pastors felt that the education they received adequately prepared them for ministry. Most pastors rely on books and conferences as their primary source of continuing education. (George Barna – 2002)
  • One in four pastors doesn’t know where to go for help if they have a personal or family conflict or concern. One in three have no established means for resolving conflict. (George Barna – 2002)
  • Four out of ten have no opportunity for outside renewal such as a family vacation or continuing education. There is a very clear relationship between the amount of time a pastor takes for personal renewal and his satisfaction in his job. (George Barna – 2002)
  • At any given time, 75% of pastors in America want to quit. (Church Resource Ministries – 1998)
  • More than 2000 pastors are leaving the ministry each month (Marble Retreat Center 2001)

The church is a God-ordained community — a place of safety where needs can be shared. In many local churches today, practical considerations rule out this option for the church planter and other pastoral staff. But God has also ordained the church-at-large, the broader body, to work on His behalf. It is within this context that MNA Church Planter Coaching lives out its ministry.

In light of the very real needs facing church planters, these are our highest priority strategic goals:

  • Teaching coaching modules to strategic leaders at MNA-sponsored training events.
  • Providing recommended resources in the area of coaching, including trained and approved coaches with whom ongoing coaching relationships can be established.
  • Producing a strategic plan for a comprehensive coaching ministry in the PCA.
  • Meeting with presbyteries or church planting networks to implement a coaching ministry strategic plan.

Please contact me directly at for further information on this vital facet of church planting ministry sponsored by Mission to North America.

For Christ and His church,

Doug Swagerty


Updated on June 15, 2020

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