Church planting is Holy Spirit work. It is the Spirit who empowers and equips us for the mission of Jesus. Our great temptation is to rely on our personality, gifting, and resources to plant our church. While all of these are used by the Lord, there is a “coming to the end of self” that is required for living on mission and planting churches. Here are two solid ways to know if you are relying solely on your own efforts in your church plant:

Praying for the Holy Spirit

First of all, you aren’t praying. Prayer is the heaviest lifting that we do. We must plan and prepare. We must have strategy sessions with our staff. But, if you think you can plant your church by putting your heads together, your plant will look more like the city of Babel than the New Testament Church that Jesus lived, died, and resurrected for.

If your dream doesn’t bring you to the end of yourself and to your knees pleading with God to save your friends, raise the funds, change the hearts of an unrepentant family, then it likely isn’t a work the requires the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Planning for the Holy Spirit

Secondly, you aren’t making plans for the people who aren’t at your church. If all the decisions are for the 20 adults you’ve rounded up to help you launch the church, you may as well call it now and have a home church. Jesus said his church would expand from Jerusalem, Judea, and to the ends of the earth. If you can’t get the church out of your living room, it’s possible that you aren’t pressing into the Holy Spirit.

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The elders that will lead your church are men living in your community right now that are likely not yet Christians. You won’t lead them to be elders by raffling off a shotgun. You will lead them to be elders by becoming their friend, pointing them to Jesus, and making your church their church.

One of my favorite things to do is go to a restaurant and imagine my waiter as an elder at Valley Life one day. Maybe the cashier at the grocery store will end up leading a community group? I can’t accomplish either of those dreams by relying on affinity and iPad giveaways. I have to ask the Holy Spirit to save them. It is the gospel of Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit that makes us family and puts us on mission together.

Jason Vance

Jason Vance

Jason Vance is the pastor of Valley Life | Surprise, planted in 2014. He was the Director of Missions for Mullins Baptist Association from 2010-2014.