Characteristics of a Church Planter

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In 1 & 2 Timothy Paul is helping Timothy to be a more effective Church leader. The principles there apply to planters too.

Oxlike – 1 Tim 5:17-18 – that section is about teaching and preaching well with strength and passion that will pull people behind Biblical truth and keep them from heretics and nutters.

Athlete 2 Tim 2:5 who are disciplined, compete well and stay within the rules. We have been given a spirit of power, love and self discipline. Athletes manage their time, diet and training well. So planters need to be disciplined with their time, look after themselves well, continually grow and run from sin.

Soldier 2 Tim 2:3-4 Planters need to fight the good fight, engage in conflict where necessary and keep going under pressure. Our enemies are the world, the flesh, the devil and the merely good.

Farmer 2 Tim 2:6 Farmers get up early and work hard. Mark Driscoll says “many young men are attracted to ministry because, as one pastor said, it’s a job indoors that does not require any heavy lifting”. Planting a Church is hard work and like a farmer, no-one is watching over yous houlder, so you have to be a self starter and motivated to get up, gather people, find new people, study the Bible and pray lots, train leaders, raise money and get it done!

In the 90’s Todd Hunter of the Vineyard Church movement in the United States did some research into why some of their plants were successful and some failed. He found that the Characteristics associated with successful Church planters are these

  • Hard Workers – 100%, but 91% of those that failed also worked hard
  • Proven record under supervision or authority 95%
  • Sure of their call 95% compared to just 50% of the unsuccessful planters
  • An attitude of optimism and faith 95%
  • Good social skills, friendly and likeable 95%
  • Took responsibility for Church growth themselves 95% compared to 55% of the unsuccessful planters
  • Husband and wife felt the call together 90%
  • Held the values and vision of the network 90%
  • Oversight from other leaders 80%
  • A strong marriage 80%

The unsuccessful planters had these characteristics

  • Inability to recruit, train and deploy workers and leaders 95%
  • Use of ineffective methods of evangelism and an unwillingness to ruthlessly evaluate the results 77%
  • No clear plans or goals – working hard at the wrong things or a lack of focus 77%
  • No proven record under supervision or authority 73%
  • A nurturer/enabler/facilitator rather than an assertive leader and equipper 68%
  • Failed to adequately research and understand the community of the plant 64%
  • No trans local support and encouragement 64%
  • Unsure of the Holy Spirit’s leading of the Church 59%
  • Not willing to take responsibility for Church growth personally 55%
  • Success or failure tied to self image, ego, strength problems 55%
  • Unsure of call 50%

Sobering reading. Church planters and future planters take some time to ponder these Biblical truths and research data and then get up and at ’em!



Andy Moyle is a church leader and web developer. His biggest project is the Church Admin WordPress plugin and app. He also runs, mainly so he can eat pizza.