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  • Baptist Beacon

5 mistakes new church planters make

WINDSOR, ON – In April (2016) Dan Rockwell posted a piece on his leadership blog called “The Five Biggest Mistakes New Leaders Make.” I’ve been reflecting on this since I attended a Church Planting Pipeline Roundtable in Atlanta where we talked about leading potential church planters or interns in the pipeline, and what it’s going to take to plant 1,200 healthy churches every year.

What are the five biggest mistakes new church planters make?

1. Leading an unprioritized life. Church planters, and church planting interns, with too many priorities fail at everything they do. The top three priorities for all church planters:

  • Priority #1: Personal development and well-being

  • Priority #2: Family

  • Priority #3: People development and relationships

You’ll spend most of your time working in and on your church plant. Just don’t neglect your priorities.

2. Working too hard. A bias to action – something most church planters possess – leads to low performance as time passes, unless you learn how to prioritize and rest. Learn to trust the people around you. You can’t bring your best when you’re lost in the busyness.

3. Chasing too many opportunities. Limit the sphere of your activities to the things you do well. Your first question is, “What needs to be done?” Drucker said the second question is, ““Of those things that would make a difference, which are right for me?”

4. Neglecting feedback, both giving and receiving. Ask teammates, ask your core team, ask your launch team:

  • Based on my use of time, what are my priorities from your point of view?

  • Based on my interactions, how am I making others feel about themselves?

  • Based on my strengths, when am I at my best?

5. Having all the answers. Tap into your ignorance. The practice of “not-knowing” elevates leaders more than having all the answers.

  • Lead with confidence while staying curious.

  • Ask, “What else?”

  • Ask, “What do you think?”

I don’t want to be a church planter. I want to be an effective church planter. I don’t want to be a coach for church planters or interns. I want to be an effective coach. Paying attention to these five mistakes that Rockwell writes about should help.



Garth Leno is Senior Pastor at The Gathering. Garth and Patty Leno planted The Gathering in Windsor, Ontario in 2014. The Lenos have three grown children, Nathan, Jamie, and Kristin.


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