1.29.2007

Launch Conference, Part 3: The Call to Start a Church

The third section of my notes from The Launch Conference is called Calling: The Call to Start a Church. This was probably one of the most significant sessions for me personally.

They started this section by asking this question:

"Do you know for sure that you are undeniably called by God to start a church?"

After giving us a few seconds to wrestle with that question, they began to talk about improper and proper sources of calling.

Sources of Improper Calling
  • Unemployment (“No church will hire me, so God must be calling me to start a church.”
  • Anger about something (e.g., about your denomination, about a church, etc.).
  • Anger at your Senior Pastor (“I’ll show him [or her] how successful I can be!”).
  • It’s easier than searching for another ministry position.
  • Ego. A lot of pastors want to do something that will make them look good or important—like church-planting. (Ken Blanchard refers to ego as “Edging God Out”).
  • Church-planting is kind of cool nowadays.
Sources of Proper Calling
  • Prayer and Bible study.
  • Surprise (i.e., God surprises you with the call to start a church; it’s not something you ever expected).
  • Holy discontent (Admittedly, it can be hard to distinguish between holy discontent and frustration about something in your denomination or church).
  • Strong burden for the lost.
  • Godly counsel (others have confirmed that God may be calling you to start a church).

Next, they talked about The Four Calls of a Church Planter.

1. My call as to start a church.
  • Keep a journal as you start the church and discern God’s calling. Later, when you get discouraged, looking back through this journal will be a source of encouragement to you.
2. My spouse’s call to start a church.
  • If you’re married, your spouse needs to be called, too.
  • Your spouse’s call may not come at the same time. It may come earlier than yours or it may come later.
  • Since God has made the two of you one in marriage, God will speak to both of you. He won’t say one thing to one and something else to the other.
3. Our call to a specific place to start a church.
  • God’s call to start a church is usually a call to a specific place.
  • God prepares a place for you and prepares you for a place.
  • When you go to that place, it will feel like this is what God created you for.
4. Our call to reach a specific people.
  • In any place you go, there are many different kinds of people.
  • God will call you to reach one of those people groups.
  • However, just because you have the heart for a people group, that doesn’t mean you’ve been called to reach them. Your call may be to support someone else who is called. Or to find someone else who has been called.

And here are four questions they said to ask yourself as you consider starting a church:

1. Is your calling clear?
2. Has your calling been confirmed by others?
3. Are you humbled by your call?
4. Have you taken action on your call?

And then they concluded by talking about Answering the Call: Preparation. They discussed three ways in which we need to prepare to answer God’s call:

1. Prepare to lead.
  • Growing churches have growing leaders. Make sure you’re always growing.
  • All leaders are readers. In other words, read lots of books. Or listen to podcasts. Or listen to CD’s. Or wahtever way you best absorb information.
  • A quote I liked: “God, help me become the leader I need to be to lead this church to the next level.”
2. Prepare to teach.
  • You will be the primary voice for the vision.
  • Listen to people who are great communicators.
  • Have people evaluate your teaching.
  • Our message is too important for people to miss it because we lack clarity in our communication.
  • Videotape yourself so you can watch and evaluate yourself.

There you go. Coming up next—Strategy: Developing a Launch Strategy.

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