Although once unheard of or very uncool, church planting has come around as something that not only many seminary students are considering but lay people trained and equipped solely by the local church to be sent out are doing. I think that this is an overall a good trend, but hopefully the ones called by God to plant are planting because if one goes out to plant based off of a trend than the cool factor will quickly leave, which results in a group of people with no direction and a lot of confusion. In fact, many of my friends who have planted domestic church plants will be the first to tell you that it is the hardest thing that they have ever done.
I read a blog post by Ed Stetzer this week on "Why plant churches in the south?" in which he basically laid out some options to consider in planting a church and in his case it led him to the south. I fully agree with the options that he puts forth and would like to revisit them here, aside from the last but not least option of considering planting in the South.
I believe that considering to plant a church is a good thing, but when considering to plant a church, consider this first:
1. Consider International Planting First. Yes, there are needs everywhere and as one friend reminded me recently, "Everywhere is unreached," but many guys do not even consider international planting. Although there are needs everywhere, the greatest needs percentage wise are within the 10/40 window. For some this may be a season of planting and for others this may be a lifetime, but what is important is being open and willing to be obedient to Jesus for where he would have you plant. Currently this is where my family and I are as God has led us to plant in an unreached area for a season.
2. Consider Planting in A MegaCity in North America. Over 50% of the world's population now lives in the cities. In the mega cities of North America the needs are the greatest and Christians often flee from them for fear of their influence. Culture flows out of the mega cities and therefore we need more planters in these cities with a body of believers living in them as missionaries.
3. Consider Planting in Rural and Unchurched Areas. God does not call everyone to plant internationally or even in a mega city because of course God cares for the rural folks too. Some of you considering planting know that a rural church planter is exactly what God is calling you to and hopefully you are considering in an unchurched area. Rural planters do not often get the recognition that one planting in a mega city receives, but remember that your obedience to planting is to God above not man below.
It is often said around my sending church that the church is God's plan A for reaching the people. More guys need to consider church planting, but consider the three options above in planting. The needs are great everywhere and the work is not finished, but plant where God has called you to, whether that be in S. Asia, Denver, or rural South Dakota.