Four Things You can Do Right Now to Prepare for Church Planting

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Are you exploring a church planting call? Are you wondering if church planting is in your future but you simply haven’t settled the question? Here are four things you can do right now that will be of benefit regardless of how the Lord leads.

1. Prepare

Every call that God places requires preparation. In our enthusiasm to be used by God we often forget that His call to ministry (of any variety) is also a call to prepare. When we are prepared, then He will place us into ministry roles. Too many people jump into ministry prior to being adequately prepared to serve effectively. Someone once said, “You can cut more wood with a sharp axe than you can with a dull one.” While wrestling with a call, gain sharpness and skill in ministry, read and learn history, converse in theology, so that you can be used effectively in God’s hands specifically once the call clarifies.

2. Flex

The vision for what God wants to accomplish in a specific ministry location may initially be fuzzy/unclear. You may not know where God is calling you—even if he is calling you to church planting. Take the opportunity to visit places. Explore different models and expressions. If you get a sense that God is calling you to a specific location, then the details of what He wants to accomplish through you will likely become much clearer as you step out and visit and move into the community and see for yourself the vast needs and opportunities. The sights you saw in other communities and other models will expand your perspective.

3. Sacrifice

There is a direct correlation between our conviction of God’s call on our life and our willingness to make personal sacrifices and persevere over the long run. Begin the practice of sacrificial living now. Sacrificial living isn’t just for leaders, but it is certainly for leaders. Only those who are convinced God has called me to this place, will make the necessary sacrifices to see the church fully established.

4. Communicate with your spouse

Your spouse (if married) must affirm and agree with your call to ministry, but they likely will not sense the call of God to the same degree as you do. This is acceptable, but a non-supportive spouse is a deal-breaker. They must be behind your call to church plant. If a spouse doubts your call, but you are certain, you must communicate. You must listen and you must share your feelings. It is highly likely God is not calling your spouse to plant a church (that is your calling), but your spouse must be willing to support, aid and be a helpmate to you. Thus their call is different from yours, but complementary. If they are not sensing this call or cannot affirm your call, then there must be deep and ongoing communication of seeking the Lord. So start now! Does your spouse know the feelings and ideas you are exploring? Do you know their feelings towards a new adventure?


The great task of church planting is highly rewarding, and much needed. As one who has planted and led church revitalization efforts, I can say without reservation: I wouldn’t have traded the great adventure He sent us on. God’s call is real, the need is great, the challenges are significant; His grace is sufficient and the results are so worthwhile. As you sort through the call, prepare, flex, sacrifice, and explore. They are next steps regardless of the path you are on.



Rev. Dr. Stephen Elliott is Director and Professor of Pastoral Ministry & Church Planting Degree Programs and Campus Pastor at Kingswood University in Sussex, New Brunswick. He began his full-time ministry in 1983 when he and his wife Helen began a church plant in Ottawa, Ontario with just 2 people. When he left Ottawa 22 years later to pursue doctoral studies, the church was the 4th largest evangelical church in the Ottawa area and the second largest Wesleyan church in Canada with a staff of eleven and a church constituency of over 1300. He is known for his creative and dynamic pulpit ministry, his emphasis on visionary leadership, his passion for healthy/vibrant local church ministries, and his tender and compassionate pastoral heart.