In a previous post, I began sharing some wrong motivations for church planting. In this article, I want to share a few more that we discussed at our recent core team gathering. These wrong motivations are particular to church planting, but should be avoided in other ministry endeavors as well.
7. Craving Novelty. Don’t plant a church because you want something new added to your life. For some, life feels stale and unexciting. Perhaps a new pace of life, new friends, a new city, a change of scenery, and a new church would make life more interesting. But before long, the newness of all new things wears off. What then? The excitement of a church plant and the work associated with it will eventually become old news. Those who don’t kill a desire for novelty will soon move onto the next exciting endeavor.
8. A Fresh Start. Don’t plant a church because you want a fresh start, away from difficult relationships, hard circumstances, and tragic experiences. Moving away to plant a church might bring welcome reprieve from some difficulties, but it is not a good reason to pursue church planting. Those who would run from trials that God intends for their good will find out how unrelenting God’s fatherly discipline truly is (Heb. 12:5-10). True peace is not found in escaping hardship, but by embracing the training that God wills for us in affliction (Heb. 12:11). Those who learn this now will useful to both seasoned and fledgling ministries.
9. I Love My Pastor. Don’t plant a church because of a commitment to a particular man or his ministry. Men die. Men falter. Seasons change. Also, the church is about more than any one individual, no matter how prominent that person may be in the life of the church. If someone wants to plant a church because of their current proximity (or potential future proximity) to a pastor, they might be setting themselves up for grave disappointment (Prov. 13:12). One the other hand, faithful men are hard to find (Prov. 20:6) and
no church can function well without faithful leaders (Ti. 1:5). But the point here is, don’t plant a church because of ill-founded expectations or idolatrous attachments to leaders.
10. Humanitarianism. Don’t plant a church because you feel sorry for “those poor people over there” and desire to see their earthly circumstances change for the better. Sin has had devastating effects on every area of life under the sun — marriage and singleness, parenting, work, health, education, wealth, government, and leisure. But God has not promised to undo the effects of the Fall in every community where faithful churches find themselves. If church planters make humanitarian pursuits the goal of their labors, then the church will look more like a soup kitchen than a pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15).
11. Perks of the Location. Don’t plant a church because of the benefits of the location where the church is located. New Orleans is a diverse city known for its great cuisine, interesting people, captivating history, engaging entertainment, and varying cultural expressions. While each of these aspects of life in New Orleans will be enjoyed by members of the church plant, none of these is a good reason to join a church there.
Our members’ desire to fulfill the Great Commission in New Orleans is a testimony of God’s grace at work in Grace Bible Church. But as Proverbs 19:2 reminds us, “Desire without knowledge is not good and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” We dare not rush into church planting without first checking our own motives. Our desire to multiply ourselves must be informed by God’s wisdom so that our noble efforts are not undermined by wrong motivations.
For more information, see our missions page and our New Orleans church plant page.