FAQ's about church planting

We are in the midst of a lot of church planting highlights. We just commissioned our 6th daughter church, Grace Community in North Lakeland. They will launch publicly in just a couple of weeks. A former student of ours, Ian Thomas, is also preparing to launch a new church plant at Dixieland Elementary, The King’s Church. On Sunday, September 16, our denomination’s Church Planting Coordinator, Paul Hahn, will be here at Trinity. Paul is a Lakeland native and grew up with several of our leaders. He will speak at our Renew Polk network gathering at 5p on September 16.

I field a lot of questions about church planting, and the most frequent are:

How do we afford it?” People from all over the country have asked me this, and my answer has been pretty consistent. I do not believe that we can out-give God, and Jesus said plainly, “Freely you have received so freely give.” Jesus did not live as if giving is losing. To give is to love and (this takes faith) ultimately to give is gain as we reflect His likeness.

Why does Trinity do so much toward church planting – from training apprentices, to sending out daughter churches, to supporting other church planters in our area?” It’s because we own the lostness of our geography. There is no way that one church can reach an area as large as ours. And when you consider that easily 80% of our neighbors do not go to church, then the need is profound. If we planted 30 churches of 500 in Lakeland, we wouldn’t even reach 10% of the unchurched!

How does it work?” We work as a team believing that as Jesus did work we could not do, so also other congregations (even denominations!) will get work done that we cannot do. A significant reason we want to stay connected to our daughter churches (and grand-daughter churches) is that we need them to succeed where we never could.

What if we fail?” I believe this question is really about risk. “What if we try and fail – what if we risk and lose?” And the Gospel teaches us that we have already failed terribly and yet Jesus has loved us! So why live in fear? Of course we fail!  But our confidence is not in our “succeeding” but in His working – and He does not fail. By His resurrection He guarantees that we we cannot lose! So we can step out in faith toward the greater goal of reaching the over 200,000 souls in Lakeland who do not yet know Him. 

Things to pray for:

  • Vision. Ask the Lord to give you eyes to see and ears to hear the scores of people in our area who do not yet know Jesus.
  • Renew Polk. Pray that the Lord would protect, sustain and bless our efforts to plant churches throughout our area. As Jesus called us to in Matthew 9, ask the Father to raise up workers for this harvest. 
  • Love. Ask the Holy Spirit to bear in us the fruit of love, especially for those who do not yet trust in Jesus.
  • Courage. Pray that the Father would give us such a profound sense of security in His grace that we would be willing to take great risks, to give and sacrifice eagerly to advance His Kingdom.