by Sam Rodriguez, Director of Hispanic/Latino & Multi-Ethnic New Church Starts, Path 1
After having just finished facilitating Session One of Church Planting 101 for the Lay Missionary Planting Network, the topic of finding planters is fresh on my mind. As I started the session I shared how I obeyed a calling to full-time ministry four years after the seed was planted in my mind through a pastor who was sure I was a “shoo-in” for a position at a community center in Texas. After shaking off the disappointment of not starting a vocation in full-time ministry and going back to selling stuff, I continually wondered why this had occurred. Was it that God was testing me and growing my desire? Why would this pastor be so sure that I was going to get this job?
Indeed, it was merely a seed for four years until one day at my church a District Superintendent stood up and announced that he was looking for someone to lead a new initiate that will focus on being in ministry with the Hispanic communities of his district. As the saying goes, “the rest is history”. Today I thankfully continue to serve God in full-time ministry.
Finding planters is primarily the work of God through the Holy Spirit; however, if we do not ask the question “are you called to be a church planter”, which can sometimes drop that seed that may grow quickly (or as in my case take a few years) we will not find new planters. After all scripture teaches us that the Holy Spirit is not only embodied and revealed in us individually, but the Spirit’s presence is also made known through relationships, bonds, and experiences shared between Christians. We are “called” to help others find how God is “calling” them.
The opportunity to facilitate the first session of a new church planting training curriculum is a true blessing as it gives one the opportunity to ask an important question to a captive audience: Are you called to be a church planter? We recognize that not all participates in the Lay Missionary Planting Network training will be church planters. This particular form of ministry is not for everyone. Never the less we are encouraged by those who do and will heed God’s calling on them to plant because someone dropped a seed and others provided a way to be equipped for planting. We are not just making disciples here. We are making disciple-makers.
Who “dropped the seed” into your mind that you might be called to be a planter? Share your story with us here.