3 Important Questions Every Church Planter Must Answer
Updated: Feb 23
What a Truck can teach you about Church Planting
There are three questions church planters must constantly answer…
Who are we?
Where have we come from?
Where are we going?
I was once told that if you think you are a leader, stop for a moment and have a look to see who is following you. If no one is, you are not leading, you are just going for a walk. And that is fine if that is who God made you to be.
But if you truly have been called to lead, you will discover your most powerful ally is your ability to paint compelling pictures of the world around you… where it has come from, where it is now, and where it could be if God breaks through.
As a church planting leader, do not underestimate the power of stories. Stories provoke a response from people in three important areas. To understand these, let me take you for a test drive in my truck, a Toyota Tundra 5.7 liter V8. When you drive something like that, you know you are the king of the road. Well, at least, in East Tennessee you are.
The Dash – Who We Are
The first thing you notice as you get behind the wheel is the dashboard. Buttons, dials, gauges, interactive monitors. These are essential for the safety, not only of the truck, but of yourself and every other person on the road. They are constantly talking to you in one way or another, indicating the health of the vehicle and its performance while you are driving. In the church setting, the dashboard is your core values; it is your core beliefs; it is your particular church culture.
Essentially, all churches agree on most everything. And yet, they are all so vastly different from each other. This is because some beliefs, some values, are more core to them than others. It is the leader’s role to identify the kind of Church Jesus is intending to plant, and establish the culture that reflects His heart.
Core Values, Core Beliefs, and Church Culture do not just happen. At least, not the thriving ones. You cannot take them for granted. “Who we are” is something the church will not learn by osmosis. You have to teach them. Always.
Are you feeling called to church planting? Learn more about the Pathfinder Institute, where Ian Miller is the Executive Director at: www.pathfinderinstitute.com or click Apply Now above!
The Rearview Mirror – Where We Have Come From
There was a time when I was getting a little cocky in my driving prowess. The truck only narrowly fits under my carport, but I prided myself on knowing exactly where it sat on the road to the inch. Backing out, I reversed as fast as I drove in. Until the day when I hit the side mirror against one of the carport posts.
Mirrors do not bend. You do not realize how much you rely on your mirrors to know what is behind you. To be sure, you do not want mirrors that are too big. That would limit your safety moving forward. But you do need to know where you have been and what may be coming up on you from behind.
In the church plant, the rearview mirror is your history, your roots. It is the “Where we have come from” aspect of the church planter’s toolkit. It is not a large part of the leader’s repertoire, but it is an essential one.
People need to be aware of the bigger picture behind the church plant. Its history, its origins, its affiliations. They have been engrafted into an altogether larger journey. All this helps them understand their role in the larger scheme of what God is doing in the world.
The Windshield – Where We Are Going
One of my pet peeves is dirty windshields. Occasionally, I might drive someone else’s car or truck and shake my head at how foggy and streaked their screen is. How can they see where they are going? And it can be dangerous. If you are driving into a sunset or sunrise, the light exacerbates every dirty mark in front of your eyes. You either have to slow down or pull over altogether to get a rag out and clean it.
You can see where this fits into the analogy of church planting. The windshield is what is in front of you, your direction. It is your future. It reveals where you are going and where you are not going. And it is alerting you to changes in the path in front of you, potholes to avoid, turns to make.
Here is an incredibly important lesson for the church planter – No one can paint the picture of where the church plant is going like you. The bigger the church plant grows, the more important the need for the people to understand the potential for where God is directing them, the more important for you to clearly articulate where you all are going and why.
Drive Somewhere, Anywhere
Trucks are built for the road. They are not built to sit in a carport. Mine is well built, well maintained, capable of many things. Whether in the city, in the country, on the Interstate, in the backwoods, or even off-road, it has a purpose. It was built to go somewhere.
Your job as leader is to get the church plant moving. Without you, the past and present will dominate your congregation. And they will resist change. You see this malady everywhere. I have found that people, in general, want change – but they do not like it because it is not comfortable. Church planter! Create the environment that will help people embrace the discomfort they have been praying for.
If you do not, effectively your church will go backward. Like it or not, the whole world is in motion, constantly moving forward. If your church is stationary, before too many years go by, it will be a picture of the past, a time capsule of what once was.
Move forward. Anywhere! Drive into your future with boldness. Jesus is behind the steering wheel, but guess what… you are sitting on His lap. Let Him take you into your glorious future! Did this resonate with you? Tell us what you think in the comments below!
Are you a church planter or minister feeling called to church planting? Learn more about the Pathfinder Institute, where Ian Miller is the Executive Director at: www.pathfinderinstitute.com