• Mark Alan Williams

4 Obstacles To Church Planting And The Myths Behind Them

Updated: Mar 31, 2019

Occasionally, I experience difficulty hearing due to an accumulation of earwax obstructing my ear canal. It is an annoying hindrance that limits my hearing in the physical sense. Thankfully, my wife Carolyn is an RN and helps me by extracting the blockage. The result is I am able to hear well again.

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CC Image courtesy of Justin Brown on Flickr


In a similar way, Christians can have their spiritual hearing blocked through “spiritual wax buildup” resulting in incorrect mindsets. The world, the flesh, and the devil all reduce our ability to hear God’s call.

Our hearing can be blocked from God’s call to fulfill the “Great Commission” (Matthew 28:19-20).


“He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:7 NIV)


Here are 4 common obstacles to hearing the call to church planting and the myths behind them:


1. We must be Successful

The world, the flesh and the devil tell us:

  • You must be successful

  • You must never fail

  • You tried it before and it flopped

But in the Book of Acts, as Paul and Barnabas set out to plant new churches, they had:

Three immediate church planting failures (in Salamis, Paphos and Perga, see Acts 13:1-13), before one success (in Antioch of Pisidia Acts 13:14 and 14:21-23)Great opposition and persecution.Strife and division (Acts 15:39)


Success in church planting is: “Sharing the Good News with a view to starting new churches in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God.” (This is an adaption of Bill Bright’s definition of evangelism.)


We don’t have to always be “successful,” just faithful.


2. God can use Other Ways

We live in a day of fantastic evangelistic advances such as:

  • The internet which is being used by ministries such as Global Media Outreach to lead multitudes to Christ

  • Printing presses which churn out Bibles at amazing rates

  • Christian radio and television

But Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18)


While other ministries are significant, Jesus clearly wants to build His church.


Planting local churches is vital because:

  • Evangelism without discipleship is “Hit and Run” evangelism. We are called to make disciples or learners and followers. The goal is disciples, not just decisions.

  • Discipleship happens best in churches.

This is why Dr. Peter Wagner and others agree that, “The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is the planting of new churches.”


God gives no better method to fulfill the “Great Commission” than planting new churches.


3. We can’t Afford it

This is another lie that Satan wants us to believe. Scripture tells us that he is called, “…a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)

It is normal to question whether we should plant churches out of our own church, and wonder what we will receive back from our investment. It does cost us:

  • Financial expenses

  • People leaving in order to plant the church

  • Time and work

But in Revelation 2:19 (NIV) Jesus says, “I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.”


Jesus knows our sacrifices and He is the one worth pleasing.


People come to faith in Christ in new church plants and that is what really matters.


It actually costs too much NOT to plant churches.


4. God can use Someone Else

Isaiah said, “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 NIV)


God wants to write many more eternal stories and all Christians are called:

  • Some are called to GO

  • Some are called to SEND

Jesus calls us to a radical commitment: “Then he said to them all, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’” (Luke 9:23 NIV)


Take up your cross = death to self!Deny yourself!Follow Jesus!


Pray and ask God if He wants you to be one who goes or one who sends others.


God calls some to plant churches and others to give financial, prayer and other support. The bottom line? Ask God and do whatever He tells you to do to help with church planting.



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