A MINISTRY OF PARTNERSHIP
By: Les Higgins | Exec. Administrator, USA Missions
More Than A Trend
Church planting in the Church of God is more than a trend; it is a passion. We recognize not only the need to plant churches that replace those being closed but we hear the voice of God calling us to take His witness to the next neighborhood, community, and city. God is leading; we are following.
The key to successful church planting will always be the church planter. The work of the planter will be significantly enhanced through strategic partnerships. A Church of God planter in close relationship with a Church of God State Office will see their potential for success dramatically increase when this partnership is nurtured.
What should a church planter expect from the State Office?
- The Truth. The process of church planting requires honesty and a solid recognition of the facts. Nothing is accomplished by living in fantasy. Obviously, faith is required but it must be rooted in truth.
- Wisdom/Experience. It is a major asset for the church planter to be able to draw from the wisdom and experience of state leadership. Lessons learned by others can be a painless way to gain knowledge. Listening to those who have been there is a smart move on the part of the planter.
- Support. Never underestimate the value of a strong arm to lean on when you are negotiating uncharted waters. Receiving encouragement and prayer support from leadership during this time can make all the difference in the world. It just feels better knowing someone is with you and has your back.
- Connection/Networking. One of the truly beautiful things about being part of a large organization is the ability to connect with others who are doing what you are doing. It is a blessing to be able to interact with others to exchange information and develop contacts. Networking takes church planting from YOUR responsibility to OUR opportunity.
- Training/Equipping. Through the Church Planting Task Force, the State Office is prepared to offer training and equipping designed specifically for the church planter. Other training events are offered by USA Missions. Preparation and proper tools are vital for this journey; the Church of God is here to help.
- Resources. Many times the State Office will have resources available to assist a new plant. These can range from equipment to financial assistance. This is a conversation the church planter should be prepared to have with the Administrative Bishop.
What should the state office expect from the church planter?
- The Call of God. Planting a church is not something one does because there is nothing else to do; it must be driven by a call from God. This call will be the burning motivation that pushes the planter through discouragement and setbacks. This call will ensure there is no satisfaction until the job is done.
- Pioneer Spirit. This old-fashioned concept is still in play, today, with church planters. It’s the idea of being willing to make sacrifices to go where no one has gone in order to fulfill a dream given by God. This attitude will find God’s favor and bring success.
- Accountability. An independent spirit will be detrimental to a church plant. A willingness to be accountable to those over you in the Lord will bring blessing – it’s His idea. Never forget there is safety in the multitude of counselors.
- Loyalty/Team Spirit. Church planting can be a lonely experience. Nothing combats loneliness like being a member of a team. There will be a tremendous advantage for the planter who intentionally connects with their state family.
- Communication. A real effort to maintain contact with the State Office throughout the process will keep everyone on the same page, thus eliminating the stress that comes from surprises.
What happens when the church planter and State Office work together?
- Community is Developed. Instead of two entities, there is one. The “us versus them” attitude is destroyed and a Kingdom partnership is established.
- Both Are Stronger. There is a strength in unity. “Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him. And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12)
- God’s Favor is Manifested. God loves and blesses a unified effort for His glory. When His favor rests upon a project, it is unstoppable. His blessing upon the church plant will do more toward our success than anything we can do on our own. We want His favor!
The Church of God is serious about planting churches because we believe God is calling us to do it. We are praying for men and women to hear His voice and receive His anointing to establish healthy churches in every region of our country. The denomination is ready to help – we are committed to FINISH the Great Commission in the Spirit and Power of Pentecost.