How is God inviting you to participate?
If you suspect God might be inviting you into something more in ministry—maybe church planting, becoming a ministry leader or multi-site pastor, or something else—then a great first step is to invite some trusted people into a process of discerning together where God is leading.
The following questions are intended to help start the conversation between you and your overseeing pastor. Set aside some time to pray through these questions, and connect with your pastor to talk through your answers and what they mean in a series of prayerful conversations.
When you're ready, submit the form to get connected with resources based on what you feel God has next for you.
Download the 10 Questions
1. Do you enjoy trying new things or do you prefer tackling a consistent set of tasks and problems?
Some areas of ministry and leadership call for an experimental, entrepreneurial mindset. You may at times have to do things that are not your favorite, but whether trying new things in itself is or isn’t fun to you could help determine what the best ministry fit for you is.
Ask yourself, do you like a different challenge two or three times a week? Do you enjoy a lot of variety in your work? Or do you prefer a predictable, controlled environment?
2. Are you flexible and adaptable?
How do you handle being asked to work unexpected jobs, having to fill unexpected roles, navigate financial challenges, or deal with difficult people? Do you enjoy rolling with whatever each day brings, or are you easily stressed when things don’t go according to plan?
At the same time, are you able to keep your goals in view when unexpected circumstances arise, or do your goals and focus easily change based on what else is happening around you?
3. How much time do you like to spend with those that don’t normally go to church?
Some areas of ministry deal very directly with members and attenders of church, while others types of leadership depend on the leader’s ability to make connections with people outside the church. Consider your honest answer to this question, as well as how interested you are in growing beyond your comfort zone in this regard.
We are all called to relationships both inside and outside of the church, but depending on your background, you may naturally be more drawn to one group or the other. As you consider what kind of leadership God is calling you into, ask him if you need to grow in either area of relationship.
4. Have you been recognized as a leader by those that you know best?
For this question, look both in front of and behind you. First, look behind you. People don’t suddenly become leaders when someone gives them a title. If people are following you in your life right now, you’re a leader. Now take a closer look. Who’s behind you? Do they know the real you? Vineyard leaders should have integrity and authenticity with the people they are leading.
Now consider your current and past leaders. Have they recognized your leadership gifts and abilities? And are you learning how to serve under their leadership in a healthy way? The most trustworthy people to have in authority are those who have learned to operate under the authority of others in a healthy way.
5. Do you attend and serve in a church?
Running a church is a lot more complicated than it looks on the surface. Anyone exploring a call to leadership should spend some time serving in their church: you need to have your fingers deep in the day-to-day realities of ministering to real people so you get a good sense of what you’re getting into.
The very best way to learn how to pastor and lead is to be a part of a local church that you help to grow and thrive. If you can’t serve in a church, why would you want to plant or lead in a church?
6. Do you daydream about changing, tweaking, or improving some facet of the church that you attend or even the church in general?
The gaps and holes that you notice can be indicators of the kinds of gifts God has given you and can help point to how he might be calling to lead.
Do you read the newspaper and find yourself brainstorming ways your church could become more relevant to your city? Do you itch to bring order and efficiency to systems that are outdated or that your church has outgrown? Do you seem to have a special radar for things in the weekend service that might confuse or alienate a first-time visitor?
As you begin to think through the answers to these questions, you’re actually beginning to bring into focus the vision that God is giving you.
7. Are you a risk taker?
All of us are called to be risk-takers from time to time. As we love to say in the Vinyeard, faith is spelled R-I-S-K. Failure is not a possibility; it is a certainty. You have to be willing to fail in order to grow.
But some of us thrive on risk-taking, while others of us prefer to experience risk in smaller doses. And again, being a risk-taker is not the same as being reckless. Honestly consider where you are on this spectrum, and how you are willing to grow. We encourage a prayerful risk-taking with a perspective towards the glory of God, and aimed at helping others find the life of Christ for anyone who wants to grow in leadership.
8. Do you have a desire to teach the Bible?
Preaching and teaching can take a variety of forms, but a desire to instruct others in reading, interpreting, and applying the Bible is central to many areas of leadership in the church.
A good follow-up question here is “why?” If you answered yes, why do you want to teach the Bible? If not, why not? This question might appear simpler than some of the others, but don’t skim over it. Take time to discuss your answer with your pastor and pray together over what your answers mean.
9. If you are married, is your spouse supportive of your ministry dreams? If you are single, do you have healthy relationships with people who are supportive of your dreams?
Most areas of leadership are large enough to have a significant influence on your family—and probably at some point, it will cost each of you something. If your spouse isn’t in full agreement and support, the sacrifice of ministry will cause enormous problems in your relationships. They have to believe in your call, as well as their own. When God calls a person, we believe that he calls our whole family. You will need to agree together that this is what God is calling you to.
A single person doesn’t have to take a spouse’s opinion into account, but it is no less important for single people to have supportive relationships as they pursue ministry. Do you have trustworthy friends or family who will back you as you pursue your calling? If not, why do you think that is? This could highlight a lack of friendships with spiritually discerning people. On the other hand, if the ones who know you best don’t think you can do thing you feel called to, if could be an indication that you have some more growing to do before you are ready to be a leader.
10. Do you manage your finances well?
It’s not sexy, but God calls us to be good stewards of our money. We must be able to manage it in a way that glorifies God. Step one is learning how to manage and be generous with our own personal finances.
This characteristic is particularly crucial for those who think they may be called to church-planting or a senior pastor role.
After you and your pastor have worked through these questions, take some time to process together what God revealed in those conversations, and where he might be leading you next as a result.
Next Step For Church Planters
Online Church Planting Assesment
If after answering these questions, you feel that church planting might be the right fit for you, we’d love to have you complete the Church Planting Candidate Assessment (CPCA) through Lifeway Research. This online assessment is designed to help provide potential planters with an initial indicator of their readiness to plant a church by evaluating more than 20 different characteristics we feel are important for church planters.
As a potential planter, you can access the online assessment at http://churchplanter.lifeway.com/organization/131/. Once on the homepage you will be asked to purchase a passcode which costs $29 and provide your basic information. The CPCA consists of four parts designed to evaluate your spiritual gifts, spiritual formation, risk factor analysis and a basic church planter assessment. Expect to set aside approximately one hour to complete the assessment.
Upon completion, results will be available for download and emailed to our national church planting office. A Vineyard church planting staff member will contact you after completing the online assessment to share with you what the next steps are. We encourage you to share your results with your pastor as they can be praying and supporting you along your church planting journey.
We want to support you in your calling in any way that we can. If you need further information please don’t hesitate to contact us.