What is a “church planter?” It seems obvious at first glance. A “church planter” is a minister whose primary calling is to start churches. But many people – even Christians – have no idea what that really means.
Yes, a church planter is a pastor with a specialized focus. But the unique challenges of church planting require more, in some respects, of the church planting pastor:
- There is little to no money, at least to start with.
- There are very few people, if any, to start with. Those that are there often come with competing agendas.
- There is no guarantee that any of your efforts will result in the establishment of a new congregation.
- You are a missionary to your own country, but most believers don’t think of you as a missionary that is in need of support. (See #1, above.)
Most church plants don’t make it. The rough statistics here in North America are that out of every 100 churches started, forty fail in year one; eighty are gone by year five; and only four make it to year ten. Whether it’s the challenges above, or the lack of the abilities and tenacity to address those challenges, starting a church is far different in many ways than filling a well-established pulpit. Church planting is, indeed, a very special calling.
Another interesting statistic is that growing denominations these days are those that are starting churches at a rate of about two percent at any given time. Right now, Bible Presbyterians have church plants going in Washington and Minnesota, one in the beginning stages in South Florida, another set to start in Ohio next spring, foreign church planting works in Cambodia, Myanmar, and South Africa (2020), and talk of more besides. With just twenty-five or so churches in the denomination, that makes for a church planting effort percentage of right around twenty-eight percent! Praise God for His providence!
But remember that first item in the list above? It takes money. We have only taken in just over ten percent of our annual $24,000 goal for church planting. To sustain the rate of growth that we are seeing, we must have your help. Your generous gifts will be multiplied by the efforts of the fine church planters the Lord has raised up to win souls to Christ and build up the faith of believers. Thank you for your partnership with us!
– Dr. Len Pine, PMU Field Director