“If you can find satisfaction and fulfillment by doing anything else other than church planting, then go and do that thing.” These are the wise and challenging words of Michael Gatlin, Senior Pastor of Duluth Vineyard and National Coordinator of Multiply Vineyard. I first heard him say this while I was participating in the Residency+ Program and it has stuck with me ever since.
After contemplating my passions, skills, and gift set, I had the realization that there is nothing else that I can see myself doing, at least nothing else that provides as much challenge, joy, and reward as leading a community of people into a healing relationship with Jesus.
Is that true for you? Well then, you just might be called to be a church planter.
Calling is Always Confirmed by Community
If you think church planting may be part of your vocational calling, don’t simply go on your own conviction; make sure that your calling is confirmed! You’re going to need that confirmation as a source of encouragement later when you’re in the nitty-gritty process of planting, when the going gets tough and you start to doubt everything.
If you believe that you’ve been called to a particular ministry or vocation, maybe even church planting, what have others said about it? Has your calling been blessed and confirmed? I encourage you to bring your thoughts about your calling into community and let others speak truth into it and pray for you.
Next as you continue to discern your calling and begin a process to plant, here are some things to consider for your continual growth and well-being:
Stay connected to the Vine
Most importantly, we need keep the focus on our own personal relationship with Jesus. Jesus is the vine and apart from him we can do nothing. It is all too easy to become so focused on the ministry tasks that we forget about the one who called us to the task in the first place.
We may be called to a myriad of different ministry opportunities or vocational tracks, but the number one thing we are all called to is a transformative relationship with Jesus. If we’re not leading out of a place of personal spiritual transformation and growth then we not leading at all. We might be maintaining or sustaining something, but we’re not leading anyone into a new place of intimacy with Jesus.
Stay Connected to the Vineyard
The Vineyard Movement really does feel like a family that’s willing to support and guide you on your journey. We were never meant to do this thing alone and, luckily, we don’t have to!
There are a multitude of resources to take advantage of. Check out the Vineyard USA website for starters. Since we’ve moved away from our sending church, we’ve been intentional about attending area pastor meetings, regional conferences, and worship services at the Vineyards nearest to us.
Continue to Grow
I listen to podcasts from my favorite Vineyard churches and attend area and regional events. I’m also intentional about maintaining important relationships with my pastors, and leaders, and those who are discipling me.
I’ve also recently signed up for a church planting coach! We have online meetings once a month for coaching sessions because she lives in Florida and I live in Wisconsin. Thanks to the internet, we have opportunities for continual learning and connection right at our fingertips!
Many people’s idea of church is a traditional Sunday morning church service. So if you don’t have that yet, people often question what you are doing and that can cause us to question what we’re doing as well. Having a community around you to encourage you, point you toward Jesus, and help you keep growing in your gifts will help you to be confident in God’s calling and be sustainable in ministry for the long haul.
Are You Called To Be A Church Planter?
Reflect on these 10 questions to help discern your calling.
Skylar Turek and her husband, Aaron, moved to Eau Claire, WI in March 2017 after feeling compelled by God to return to their home town and begin planting what will one day become the Eau Claire Vineyard. After discerning their call to leadership, the couple was trained and equipped through the Duluth Vineyard’s Residency+ program and each completed an internship, which further refined their hearts for ministry. Skylar’s gift of compassion has led her to work bi-vocationally as a Child Protection Social Worker while also working to cultivate a healthy, Kingdom-focused community for those who are spiritually seeking in the Chippewa Valley. In her free time, she enjoys chatting over coffee with friends, tubing down the river, getting groovy on the dance floor, and hiking with her puppy, Winston.