I met with a pastor of a large and influential church with the hopes of engaging him in a church planting movement for our city. Over lunch, his observation about church planters surprised me, "I find that most church planters are characterized by two things: arrogance and impatience."
He quickly added, "And I guess I should not be surprised at that. Who else believes that he can gather disinterested people, lead them to a new life in Christ and help them embrace a mission to change the world with little or no physical resources?"
I think the second comment was his way of trying to diffuse some of the tension in the room. After all, I am a church planter—you know, arrogant and impatient. But he was right about church planters, and that is deadly.
The future of church planting requires a commitment to weed out arrogance and impatience in the men who plant churches. A church might get started with an arrogant and impatient leader, but it will not grow healthy with such a leader.
In the church planting movement, we must address arrogance and impatience with thorough assessment, training, and coaching. It's a slower process, but it's better.
Finding the Right Candidates
When considering potential church planters, we have to take time to connect and relate with them, beyond a couple of phone calls and check-in meetings. Assessing pastors must invest enough in potential church planters to see strengths and flaws. After all, they are the gatekeepers.
Even moderately discerning people can feel it instantly, but it's one thing to detect arrogance and another thing to call it out. It's a bit like telling someone they have bad breath and then presuming to know the cure. That's ...