On the last My Ministry Breakthrough Podcast, Northwoods Community Church Senior Pastor, Cal Rychener, and I talked about leading a church plant 30 years later. Off mic, he and I shared a laugh about at what point a church planter can, and maybe should, stop calling themselves a church planter. This, of course, led me to think: “When is it time to stop using a term like church planter?” After all, I made the mistake of once calling someone a “former Marine.” I was quickly informed that there exists no such thing. Once a Marine, always a Marine. So maybe it’s the same with church planters.
However, I do believe that there are some indicators that a shift in the language you use for your church might be required. Here are ten signs it’s time to stop calling yourself a church plant:
- You just launched the fourth campus.
- Your middle school girl’s associate pastor is asking for a cost of living raise.
- You are considering running two Christmas services in the local NBA arena this year instead of one.
- Your time speaking at conferences on church planting is really cutting into your time running a coaching network of young church planters.
- Your publisher is really turning the screws on getting this latest manuscript wrapped up.
- Your school principal wants part of the south parking lot repaved and striped before summer band practice.
- You find it harder and harder to raise enough financial support to replace the blades on your helicopter. (this is a real thing)
- You aren’t holding your breath anymore when you turn around after worship to start the sermon and see how many showed up.
- You are giving serious thought to upgrading your LED wall for Easter.
- You look forward to a good old-fashioned Saturday night snowstorm that shuts down the city without worrying about missing a week of offerings.