Who is Sending Me?
Bono once penned the lyrics, “Over the counter, with a shot gun, pretty soon, everybody got one.” Every planter should have a sending pastor who “blasts them out of the barrel with the force of a shotgun.” The only problem is that unlike Bono’s song, you can’t buy shotguns or sending pastors over the counter. You’ve got to take the time to build a relationship with a man of God who has a heart for Jesus’s glory and a passion for kingdom expansion. Unfortunately, some planters just go on their own without anybody propelling them out into the field. They are the ones that are talked about in hushed whispers at pastor’s conferences, “Some are sent, and some just went…they went.” You’re going to make loads of mistakes in your church plant; don’t let that be one of them. You’re going to need the wisdom, support, and encouragement of a sending pastor. You can’t see it now, but the days are coming when you will call him with your tail between your legs, and he’ll spiritually, emotionally, and ministerially restore you.
My sending pastor regularly visited me in the field stateside and abroad. He acted as my confessional when I felt confused, alone, or wanted to quit. His veteran wisdom and experience supplied vision in areas where I’d lost perspective. He bandaged up my wounds, loved me no matter what, and inspired me to keep marching. He’s your medic and field chaplain while you’re charging the gates of hell. Lastly, for an overseas missionary planter, he gave me a home to come back to and a homecoming when I did.
That said, a sending church can also be the biggest factor in killing a church plant with good potential. A sending church that is bent on controlling the church plant sends it to an early grave. Sending churches are there to support it, not to control it. In the early church, men were commissioned through the laying on of hands, and released into the Roman Empire to do damage for the kingdom. Antioch was the sending church that commissioned Paul and Barnabas, but never controlled them, or claimed authority over the church plants in Asia Minor. The sending church is tempted to control the plant because if the plant fails, it reflects poorly on those who sent the planter. The sending church must recognize that they released the planter into the hands of God, and therefore no longer bear the burden of success or failure. If they fail to understand this biblically from the book of Acts, they will prove more hindrance than help to the planter. More than likely, the rules and regulations they impose will be the reason the church failed because of the way in which it stifled the planter, and quenched the Spirit.
For every church that Paul planted, however, there was the backing of Antioch. He wasn’t a maverick, or a lone ranger operating under his own authority. He’d been sent. In between each of Paul’s missionary journeys, he returned to Antioch as his mission station. Captain Kirk had the Starship Federation, Wesley was still an Anglican, and Paul had the ordination from the risen Lord, the blessing of Jerusalem, and the backing of Antioch. It’s crucial that you have the support of your sending church. After all, you’re going to be asking permission to “fish” your support base from out of “their pond.” Your sending church has the money, resources, and manpower you need.
Who is Supplying Me?
Let’s talk about money. Michael Cheshire said it best, “Ah the church start up and money. Seems so hard to get them in the same room.” Unlike Yosemite Sam rubbing the genie lamp, you’re gonna need some of “that green stuff.” First off, you probably aren’t budget priority number one for your sending church, but those couple hundred dollars a month that they’ll give to you as a “missionary” can make the difference between success and failure.
They also have resources. Because you don’t have bags of money, resources are at a premium. Your church’s old sound system sits in a storage closet collecting dust, while the church planter agonizes over how he can raise the funds: don’t raise funds, raid the storage closet. To be frank, most churches have enough old gear laying around for two or three church plants.
Projector screens, LCD projectors, offering boxes, coffee machines, air pots, and just about anything else that you can think of will save you thousands of dollars right off the bat. The Master has need of their donkeys if they’re not going to ride them.
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.