I love church planters and church planting.
The stats of lasting church plants are mixed, varied and not always encouraging. That smell and taste of new "church planting trenches," is my delight, yet we have to reflect with sober faith, on how we can do this great gospel assignment far better.
So, it is a good exercise to ponder on the mistakes that do lead to stumbling or even failure.
It would seem to be true, that one of the big reasons for stumbling is motive - why guys go out to plant. Here are a few really poor reasons.
1. "It is the cool thing to do right now" - as with other societal groupings, the church is not devoid of trends and peer pressures. As much as the hipster styles as replicating themselves across the western globe, so too church planting can be the new adventure that seems tantalizing and exciting. Not a good reason.
2. "I want my own story" - in the late 1800's in England, the older son tended to get the family business and estate. The young brothers went to the military or ministry to carve out a good socially reputable career. Simply wanting to craft your own story is not a good reason. When the bullets start flying, we certainly need more than ambition to stand strong.
3. "We can't see eye to eye, so lets plant out with you" - this "splant" appears to be a face saving way to detract from the brewing conflict that cannot be resolved, so planting seems an honorable alternative. Oh dear. This is a recipe for more pain and anger than resolution at home base.
4. "We plant churches" - whilst I would love this culture to permeate through more churches, it does not erase the notion that one only goes to plant because the Father has clearly spoken. It is not "the thing to do," nor is it "multiplying a brand" with all the support that that brings, nor is it "the next step in a career in ministry". That rank corporate influence has done the church more harm than good.
This is not a comprehensive list, but it does facilitate a conversation for potential planters that can be helpful