The Unique Challenges of Being a Church Planter in a Pandemic
Director of Church Planting
Church & pastoral health
Church planting & multiplication
I live and pastor in Minnesota. In mid-November, our governor made the difficult decision to “dial back” the re-entry back into everyday life during the pandemic. While there were no new restrictions to churches, there were restrictions for movie theaters. Since we meet in a theater, we are currently having services online only because the theater we rent cannot let us in at this time.
The pandemic is a hard time for all churches, but it does affect church plants in some unique ways. Here are three challenges that church planters face in a pandemic:
Lack of permanent or long-held space.
Often churches are in rented facilities. Some of these facilities are only available on Sunday mornings (i.e., movie theaters, schools, daycare centers). The churches that meet in these places are at the mercy of the facility or the mandates of the government present on top of a church’s regulations. Scores of church plants around the country are being prevented from meeting in their regular locations. If church plants are fortunate enough to own or lease space, they usually carry with them more considerable amounts of debts or expenses due not owning it for long.
Lack of deeply rooted people.
Due to the nature of a church plant, there are not deeply rooted people with a long history. The lack of depth of relationships can pose a challenge when all the regular rhythms of life are thrown off. Also, church plants have a larger-than-normal amount of new and young believers. While this is great, it also means they do not yet have a deeper understanding of the importance of church attendance, serving, and giving.
Lack of generational faithfulness.
Established churches are able to draw upon a rich history and family systems that are anchored. Much like the second challenge, the lack of generational faithfulness shows the vulnerability of church plants. Church plants cannot look back on as many times in the past, nor can they lean into the wisdom of older saints who have been seasoned by life. If a plant is fortunate enough to have older generations, there are not the stories of God’s faithfulness to THIS church for encouragement.
In light of these challenges, here are three ways you can come alongside our church planters:
Prayer. Please pray for our church plants, the planter, and their family. The ministry challenges are taking a toll on them, and they need your prayers.
Encouragement. Consider sending them a note of encouragement or calling them. Most pastors are weary by now, and planters are no exception. They would be blessed by hearing your supportive voice.
Support. Would you consider sending a love offering to a struggling church plant? Do you know potentially supportive people in their city that you could introduce them to? Can you send them a pulpit supply or people to help out?
Church ministry is hard. Church planting is not harder, but a unique hard. Would you prayerfully consider coming alongside a church plant? We are indeed better together, and our planters could use a reminder that they are not alone.
Steve Krier, Director of Church Planting
Steve is the director of church planting for Converge Heartland and Pastor of Ignite Church.