Cultivate Your Calling

By Ed Love

A discernment guide for curious leaders.

What if God could use me to start a new faith community?

I know this question may sound ridiculous, but consider this for a moment: What if God has uniquely gifted and positioned you to lead a growing group of Christ followers to continually reach people who are far from God?

When I first responded to my missional calling, I never would have imagined I would end up planting multiple churches. However, as I began to operate in my entrepreneurial wiring, spiritual gifts and leadership abilities, I quickly realized God had given me the desire and ability to start new churches.

The biblical narrative is loaded with stories of people who never would have imagined God using them in the way that he did.

The biblical narrative is loaded with stories of people who never would have imagined God using them in the way he did, so it’s really not a surprise God would call me, or maybe even you, to shape a missional outpost that doesn’t exist yet. Within the stories of Moses, Elisha, Jeremiah, Virgin Mary, Paul and Peter, one important thread is woven throughout—each was willing to obey God’s voice.

If you wonder if God is calling you to start a new faith community, it is essential to enter a serious discernment process. Without divine confirmation and human affirmation, you will likely start for the wrong reasons and quit when ministry begins to feel difficult. Yet when the Holy Spirit confirms and people affirm you in your calling, you will begin to tap into a deep sense of enduring faithfulness, continuing on with grit and perseverance.

It is important to know God expresses his calling differently in every leader. Some people receive a bolt of lightning; some people receive continual and progressive nudges throughout their lifetime. Even though no calling experience is the same, there are transferable principles we can acknowledge.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

Isaiah 6:8 ​

As you consider the call to starting churches, take some time to prayerfully reflect on these concepts and questions:

1. Consider how God has wired you.

Catalytic Innovators:

  • Do you like to start new things?
  • Does innovation inspire you?
  • Do small business atmospheres motivate you?
  • Do you have a history of starting new things from the ground up?
  • Do others know you as a risk taker?

Vision Caster:

  1. Do you dream big?
  2. Do people tend to follow you?
  3. Do you enjoy communicating what God is up to in the world?
  4. Does your heart break for people disconnected from Christ and the church?
  5. Do you enjoy developing a strategy to support your vision?
  6. Do you respond to challenges with solutions and get things done?

Friends with non-Christians:

  • Do you enjoy spending time with people who are far from God?
  • Do you have non-church going friends in your cell phone contact list?
  • Do you enjoy hosting events or meals with people who aren’t church friends?
  • Do you pray for God to use you as a light within your relationships?
  • Do you pray, by name, for people who do not yet know the love of Christ?

2. Consider how people respond to your leadership.

  • Have you developed a relationship of trust with the leadership of your church?
  • Do those whom God has placed in leadership oversight of you know about your interest in starting a new kingdom project?
  • Do you submit well to the leaders God has placed in your life?
  • Are you open to going wherever God may call you?
  • Do you get the sense others might follow you wherever you go?
  • Do people tend to enjoy being around you and your ministry culture?
  • Do people come to you and ask questions about life and God?
  • Does God regularly use you to bring about change in the lives of others?
  • Have you led people to Jesus outside of a church setting?

3. Consider the perpetual passion of your heart.

  • Do you believe the good news of Jesus changes lives?
  • Do you love seeing people put their faith in Christ and be baptized?
  • Do you love being transformed by Jesus?
  • Do you love learning more and more about the Bible?
  • Do you have a spiritual boldness?
  • Do you daydream about fresh ways to express God’s purposes in the world?

Church Planters Pre-assessment

If you feel led to discover more about your church planting wiring, one next step is to take the church planters pre-assessment.

Learn more

These three principles and questions related to your wiring, people’s response to your leadership and your involvement with non-Christians may not be a complete checklist for sensing a call to church planting. But your responses can serve as a conversation starter to express the desires of your heart to your spouse, best friend, pastor or district superintendent. If you feel as if God is beginning to confirm a church planting calling on your life, then proceed with humble confidence, knowing that with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).

Even if you do not feel led to take a next step, maybe you know someone who should. Consider sharing this article and encourage your friend in his or her unique calling.

May you discover the great joy of being a multiplier in God’s kingdom.