Three Essential Pieces of Advice for First-Year Replanters


Embarking on the journey of church replanting can be both exhilarating and daunting. It’s a venture filled with challenges, triumphs, and numerous lessons learned along the way. For those stepping into the role of a first-year re-planter, the path ahead may seem uncertain, but there are invaluable insights to be gained from those who have walked this road before. Here are three crucial pieces of advice I would offer to first-year re-planters:

1. Measure Time in Years, Not Weeks

 Escape the Comparison Trap. One of the most significant pitfalls for re-planters is the temptation to compare their progress with that of others. Every church community is unique, with its own set of circumstances and challenges. Comparing your journey to someone else’s can breed frustration and undermine the progress you’re making. Instead, focus on the incremental growth and celebrate the milestones achieved within your specific context.

Evaluate the Cost. Re-planting a church often involves facing resistance, setbacks, and personal sacrifices. It’s essential to understand that meaningful growth requires perseverance and a willingness to endure discomfort. Embrace the challenges as opportunities for growth, both personally and within the congregation. Remember, the growth of a church is directly proportional to the leader’s willingness to endure the pains of transformation.

Entrust the Call. Re-planting a church is a divine calling that extends beyond immediate results. While it’s natural to desire rapid progress, it’s vital to trust in God’s timing and sovereignty. Avoid the temptation to overestimate your abilities or underestimate God’s power to work through faithful obedience over time. Remember, pastors often overestimate what they can achieve in one year but underestimate what God can accomplish in a decade.

2. Model Change, Not Demand It

Embody the Vision. As a re-planter, you are not merely a facilitator of change but a living embodiment of the vision you seek to instill within the congregation. Lead by example, demonstrating the values and behaviors you wish to cultivate within the church community. Your authenticity and commitment will inspire others to embrace the vision wholehearted

Embrace the Challenges. Change can be met with resistance, but it’s essential to view challenges as opportunities for growth and refinement. Rather than avoiding discomfort, lean into the difficulties, seeking solutions that align with the overarching vision for the church. Embrace a mindset of resilience and adaptability, knowing that obstacles are integral to the process of transformation.

Entertain the Possibilities. Maintain an open mind and a willingness to explore new possibilities. Re-planting a church requires creative thinking and a readiness to adapt to evolving circumstances. Remain receptive to innovative ideas and solutions, drawing inspiration from diverse sources both within and outside the church community. Cultivate an environment where experimentation is encouraged, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and growth.

3. Multiply Leaders, Not Programs

Eliminate the Bullies. In order to foster a culture of leadership development, it’s essential to identify and address toxic behaviors that undermine unity and collaboration. Bullies and divisive individuals can hinder the growth of emerging leaders and stifle the overall health of the church community. Take decisive action to confront such behavior and create a safe and supportive environment for leadership development to flourish.

Establish a Biblical Baseline. Ground your approach to leadership development in biblical principles and values. Equip emerging leaders with a solid foundation of biblical knowledge and a deep understanding of servant leadership. Encourage humility, integrity, and a commitment to the well-being of others as essential traits of effective leadership within the church context. 

Enlist the Faithful Servants. Identify individuals within the congregation who demonstrate a heart for service and a willingness to invest in the growth of the church community. Empower these faithful servants with opportunities for leadership development and mentorship, allowing them to flourish in their roles and contribute to the overall mission of the church.

The pathway of church replanting is marked by its challenges, triumphs, and transformative growth. By measuring time in years, embodying change, and multiplying leaders, first-year re-planters can navigate this journey with wisdom and grace. Remember, the ultimate goal is not merely to revitalize a church but to advance the kingdom of God and bring glory to His name.

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