CHARLESTON, SC – While our church is now more than 10 years old, I still call myself a church planter. I get away with holding onto this enigmatic title because our church has from the beginning planted other churches — our daughter churches. In our short history, we have planted seven autonomous churches, each of which are thriving today. Raising up church plants is much like raising children. Both require a great sacrifice, but also come with several very real blessings. To say “church planting has changed my life” is certainly cliché, but it is true, nonetheless.
Here are five ways my life has been changed by staying in the church planting game after planting our own church:
1. Keeps me young.
Church planting puts me around next generation leaders. Yes, they are Millennials, and they do things differently than any other generation before them. But don’t forget, Boomers, the generation before you referred to you as “hippies” when you were entering the workforce. We have something unique to offer to one another. We can complain, or we can train!
2. Keeps me focused.
Like little else, church planting fixes my eyes on the Big-K Kingdom over my little-C church. Jesus’ favorite topic during his ministry was the Kingdom. He spoke of it 121 times in the Gospels. In comparison, he spoke of the church only twice. Being a multiplying church aligns us more with the idea Jesus himself was most passionate about.
3. Keeps me relevant.
Mentoring other church planters forces me to stay on top of the latest ministry strategies. God consistently seems to entrust His next vision for our world to the upcoming generation. It’s likely because we “established” leaders can easily get stuck in what makes us comfortable. Instead of falling into the complacency trap, I want to continue to ride God’s wave all the way to the end, rather than getting stuck in my created rut.
4. Keeps me humble.
Multiple times now, I have stood on the platform with a church planter by my side and told our congregation, “Everyone who feels compelled or called by this man’s vision, with gladness I release you to join him.” This keeps me humble because church planting reminds me that it was never my church to begin with. Giving away our resources (funds and people) for the benefit of others is a God-approved action He has used over and over again throughout history to conform us to his image.
5. Keeps me on my toes.
Church planting is an adventure. I want to see fruits from my ministry grow on other people’s trees, as others’ fruits are now growing on mine. As a torch was passed down to me from the generation before, I have a legacy to continue. My glory is too small a thing to live for; therefore, I choose to join the adventure of creating a platform for the next generation.
There is an adventure waiting for so many pastors, maybe you, who are waiting on the sidelines of church multiplication. Let me invite you into this life-altering adventure. Get yourself ready for the biggest joy of ministry you’ve experienced since you led your first person to Jesus. Become a sending church!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Will Browning, born in Barnwell, South Carolina, currently serves as the Lead Pastor at Journey Church, a multi-site church in the Charleston area. While studying Human Resource Management at Georgia Southern University (B.B.A., 1995) Will became a Christian. He continued his studies at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div., 2005) and completed his doctorate at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (D.Min., 2015). In October 1999, Will married the love of his life, Tarah. Will and Tarah have three kids: Piper, Ethan, and Jedidiah. Will is an avid South Carolina Gamecock fan, coach to church planters, developing writer, novice triathlete, curious reader and lifelong learner.