Twenty-One Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Considering Starting a Church
Developed by Dr. J. Allen Thompson, President of the International Church Planting Center and formerly coordinator of multicultural church planting for Mission to North America for the PCA. As an executive with Worldteam, Allen helped the organization to focus on a strategy for training and deploying national workers in church planting in 14 countries.
1. Is my primary motivation for considering church planting a positive one (such as the glory of God and the salvation of people) and not dissatisfaction with my present situation?
2. Do I believe that church planting is the primary God-ordained strategy by which He accomplishes His will, advances His kingdom and glorifies His name?
3. Do I believe and experience the gospel as the “power of God” not only to save me from sin’s penalty but also from sin’s domineering power over my life?
4. Do I share the gospel with non-believers on a regular basis, and can I point to people who have made professions of faith and are still walking with Christ as a result of my witness?
5. Have I had enough exposure to church planting in a ministry focus group similar to what I am considering that I know what the life of a church planter is like?
6. Am I assured of God’s call on my life to church planting instead of to church pastoring?
7. Do I have the necessary training needed to do church planting effectively?
8. Can I articulate clearly what my gifts and personal characteristics are that would make me effective in church planting in the type community I’m considering?
9. Am I committed to reaching people who are different from me ethnically, racially, generationally, and socio-economically?
10. Is there objective evidence that I am comfortable relating well with secular people (pagans) and able to accept them joyfully into my life and the community of faith?
11. Is my spouse and family willing, even enthusiastic, about our doing church planting?
12. Do I have a gospel-confidence (both lamb-like humility AND lion-like boldness) that, in light of my proven ministry experience, gifts, and skills, I will be effective in church planting?
13. Do I have the spiritual disciplines (consistent personal worship, freedom from patterns of besetting sin, good accountability relationships) necessary for being a spiritual leader truly above reproach?
14. Do I display self-management disciplines (getting work done on time, keeping commitments, consistency, honesty) that will encourage followers to trust my leadership?
15. Have I developed a relatively comprehensive vision (values, mission, philosophy of ministries, gathering strategies, etc.) of the kind of church I want to plant in my ministry focus group?
16. Am I considered a “people person”, someone who is humble, a good listener, teachable, patient, sensitive, and winsome?
17. Do people tend to sit up, listen and come back when I preach–giving evidence that my preaching and communication gifts are special strengths (above average)?
18. Do spiritually wise, influential people in my life tell me that church planting is a right fit for me?
19. Have I had a positive track record in the church ministries I have led–giving strong evidence of my ability both to lead people AND raise up leaders?
20. Do I have a sincere passion for church planting? Is church planting compatible with my personal career goals or is it seen as merely a “stepping stone” to some other ministry in the future?
21. Understanding the gifts and skills of a church planter usually include being a visionary leader, effective evangelist, and an above average Christ-centered preacher, do I have these endowments?
Am I a Church Planter?
- If you answered 17 or more with a yes–probably so
- If you answered 10-16 with a yes-think, pray and talk to others some more before moving in that direction
- Less than 10-possibly not
adapted from 20 Questions, ©ICPC, 2000.