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  • Writer's pictureTommy Duke

Keys to Becoming a Successful Church Planter (Part 2)

Updated: Feb 6, 2018

Big faith is admirable and common in church planters, but is it enough?

As I shared in the first post of this series (click here to read), I have spent over half of my years on earth involved with church planting in one way or another – as a preacher’s kid, staff member, lead planter and now as a coach and trainer to other church planters.

Years of observation, great mentors, and many days spent at the school of hard knocks have taught me a few lessons I’m sharing…

The first key to being a successful church planter is to become a “Master Asker” (read more), Church Planting Success Key #2 is demonstrating Faith With A Plan.

One of the most common traits associated with church planters is faith – and that’s certainly right.  

Starting a new church from scratch, often with nothing more than God’s call on your life, is a profound act of faith. But don't miss this: faith in and of itself is not enough.

“Dear brothers and sisters, what’s the use of saying you have faith if you don’t prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can’t save anyone.” – James 2:14

Success in church planting requires that you also bring along Faith’s 1st cousin, Faithfulness.

For example, you might have FAITH that God can connect you with just the right “persons of peace” in your community to expand our new church’s influence beyond anything you can imagine right now.


  • Do you have the FAITHFULNESS to prepare a 30-minute, 3-minute and 30-second presentation of what your church is about and how you’re going to make a positive, eternal difference in people’s lives?

  • Do you have the FAITHFULNESS to get online, get on the phone and (most importantly) get out in the community and strike up a conversation every time an opportunity arises, never knowing when or how God might connect the dots?

  • Do you have the FAITHFULNESS to prepare ahead of time to develop a plan to follow up with new believers, interested people from the community or potential partners, readying yourself to cooperate with God every step of the way?

  • Do you have the FAITHFULNESS to sit down and write down a strategy – on purpose, on paper – to launch this new church on a specific date in the future, including all the steps it will take between now and then to make it happen?

Let’s stick with that last question for a moment… the question of developing and executing a strategy.  This is vital, not only for church planting but for leadership in general.  It’s how new initiatives come to fruition, how problems are solved and ministries are made more effective.

No wonder Proverbs reminds us both that planning and hard work are good and skipping them are bad:

“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5

And by the same token, by putting together a strategy and working that plan we’re also ready to be redirected by God if need be:

“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” – Proverbs 16:9

See, Faith With A Plan is simply a different way of describing Faithfulness – the willingness to take whatever steps are necessary to act in faith even when the outcome is still in question.

To say it another way, having Faith With A Plan means trusting God enough to invest the time and energy to pray through and plan out how to move forward, then working that plan even when circumstances are difficult.

As you travel the path of church planting, you may hear stories of failed or stunted church plants that seemed to have “everything going for them.”

One of the culprits that lead to such devastation is a healthy dose of faith without the accompanying faithfulness to work up a plan, then work out that plan. This is why one of the first sessions in our church planter coaching networks is about developing and executing a strategy.

My prayer is that you will choose a different path – that of Faith With A Plan.

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