Pastor or Planter?

One of the biggest challenges in starting a church revolves around your view of yourself.  Are you a pastor or a planter?

I understand that most of us who call ourselves planters are also pastors.  In the denomination I run in, a planter is a pastor.  It helps to understand, though, that not all pastors are planters.  Planters are a very unique breed of pastor, to the extent that many of the traits that make them effective planters run counter to being an effective pastor.

Both are necessary for the Church to be Church.  But high frustration results when pastors are called to plant and planters are called to pastor.

In a recent conversation with a friend considering planting one of our future campuses, I explained it like this:

The pastor is focused “in here.”  His vision leans to the congregation.  He possesses a deep calling to care for the people in his congregation.  He is a shepherd in the truest sense of the word.  He is often drawn to discipleship and counseling, perhaps to theology and study, more than to being out and about with people, especially people outside his congregation.

If one had to split the percentages between discipleship and outreach, the pastor would lean over 50% onto discipleship.  Significantly.

The planter is focused “out there.”   His vision leans to the community.  He is constantly making relationships with people in the community.  When given an opportunity to spend time with people, he chooses the neighborhood party rather than the church social.  While he has friends in the church, he gravitates to making friends who are not yet in the church.  He enjoys being around people who do not yet know Jesus.  He is not intimidated by their use of non-Christian language or habits or lifestyle.

While he may have a love for theology and study, it’s probably not his first-love.  And it’s always distilled into common language that connects with those outside the Church.

Next time: Starter or Continuer?

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