Posted by: everynation | March 4, 2009

So You Want to Plant a Church, eh?

adam-mabryby Adam Mabry

I have a bone to pick…

Church-Planter has replaced Worship-Leader as the sexiest ministry job. Come on, you know it’s true.

Why has this happened? Well, I have a few ideas, but I’ll not go into those. Suffice it to say that I doubt that its because recent interest the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul has taken a large leap.

Please allow me to cut through your glossy-eyed ideas of the dreamworld that some of you wanna-be church-planters might be living in. You know, the dream where you have the cool communication skills of Rob Bell, the rants of Mark Driscoll, the theological prowess of John Piper, and a church bigger than Joel Osteen’s in half the time it took him. You know. That dream.

Allow me to share with you from my brief experience in church-planting.

1. Church-Planting is freaking hard. You are living in some sort of la-la-land if you think its not. If you sit out in your current church on Sunday mornings listening to you pastor and thinking, “I could do that better,” you’re probably not ready. Understand that man’s journey and some of the pain he’s walked through first, please.

2. Church-Planting is freaking expensive. You not only will have the joy of paying for your own living costs (which will be pretty high, probably) but you’ll have the added excitement of raising the $150-$250k that guys like Ed Stetzer say you need to show up with, just to play the game.

3. Church-Planting is freaking painful. When you plant, you will find yourself in a relationally challenging place. Your relationship with your wife, your kids, and your friends will all change because all of a sudden, you’re bearing the weight of a vision. Not to mention that you’ll probably be moving away from your family and friends, which is also very easy, let me tell you. People are sinful, and working with them will be very, very painful.

4. Church-Planting brings out your junk for all to see. Guess what, when you lead, all your issues get magnified. Your sin starts to affect not just you, but your church. Yay.

5. Additionally, you’re going to have to find new friends, meet new people, lead people to Jesus, hunt for venues, raise insane amounts of cash, argue with neat-nicks and the occasional weirdo, pray, fast, pack, move, unpack, etc, etc, etc. So why do it?

The only, only reason you should church plant… because Jesus told you to. Please, if you’re a minister who’s having wanderlust, if you’re a pastor who wants to be more, if you’re a seminary student who has listened to too many podcasts, if you just want the church that you’ve always wanted, don’t plant. Not unless Jesus has told you to. Every other reason? Idolatry. Damnable. Horrible. Unworthy. Unchristian. Prideful. Idolatry.

There’s one more thing to add to my list. Church-Planting is, if you’re called to it, freaking awesome, because its what Jesus wants you to do, and when you do it, you’re obeying the one who’s dreams for you actually matter. And trust me, they’re better than yours.

Adam Mabry is the Director of Worship Arts and Student Ministry of Centrepoint Church and is the author of My Missional Confessional. He lives in Scotland with his wife, Hope, and their two daughters.


  1. Adam

    Thank you for a wonderful blog laced in reality and purpose


  2. My son is Chris Lawrence. He directed me to your blog today. I read it all the while thinking about Chris’ efforts to get & stay in Philly, PA a couple years ago. As they said, “You read his mail”. What you wrote about planting a church made me almost tear up and laugh at the same time. I know it was in Chris’ heart to go and help plant a church. And in someways as bruised and “busted” as he and Kate have been since that experience, I believe that dream, as it were, still exists. God Bless you as you labor in Scotland as our dear Perry departs.

  3. Well said bro.
    It hurts so good!

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