Ground Breakers


Make disciples of ALL the nations. We haven’t fully embraced the Great Commission until we are committed to go to all the nations (ethnos) and all the peoples. Not just the easily-reached and already-touched. We really are called to take the Gospel where it is rare; to bring discipleship where it is uncommon; to break ground where the ground might still be hard.

For that reason we are praying for ground-breakers. If you know someone interested in being a part of this kind of ministry, send them our way. Here are a few short thoughts we shared with potential ground-breakers and church-planters at our Leadership Conference a few weeks ago.

1. Know your first love.

All ministry must flow out of our personal intimacy with God. I won’t bring on a pastor unless they are willing to separate two hours/day in the secret place with God. If you have not developed an extraordinary prayer life, now is the time to start. Part of your prayer need is actual intimate knowledge of Jesus. If you do not truly know Him, when the trials of launching come, you will crumble. “Extraordinary Prayer” is the #1 characteristic referenced by David Garrison as he studied church planting movements across the globe. The ground breaker must have an extraordinary personal commitment to prayer. There must also be a plan to provide corporate prayer cover. Establish a prayer team as soon as you have direction about what God might be leading you to do.

2. Know your family.

Is your family in order? Are you on the same page? What is the plan to “be there” for your spouse? And children? Date nights, family time, trips to visit out of town family must make it on your schedule. Few things demand constant withdraws like breaking ground. Prepare to establish boundaries you are willing to follow through on.

3. Know your APEST.

Some are apostles. Some are prophets. Others are evangelists or shepherds or teachers. It would be foolish to use these as titles, but the sooner you become honest about your Ephesians 4-giftedness the better. Pray for eyes to recognize such tendencies in the people and leaders around you. For example, you would be wise to acknowledge how much you’ll need to lean on the apostolic and evangelistic functions to establish growth; you’ll be in desperate need of the shepherding function in assimilation; etc. Launch with an eye for a well-rounded APEST reality.

4. Know your vision.

Keep track of what God has made clear. Figure out what really bothers you. What is your burden? What would you take a bullet for? What portions of Scripture seem to most inform your life direction? When you think about what could be and what should be, what comes to mind? I keep a journal, and every time something seems to be stirring that contributes toward vision I make a note with big circled V around it. Write it, rewrite it, pray it. Write out vision as short as a text message and as long as a page. But don’t settle for a vision; have an encounter with God for HIS vision.

5. Know your launch plan.

Your vision is hopefully inspiring and timeless, but ground breaking will need specific direction. Start formulating your plan. For example: We desire to be multi-ethnic from day one. We will launch in a home and desire to be in a macro church facility within a year. We will launch in homes and multiply house churches. We will plant a work in university setting. We will raise $20,000 before we launch. We will partner with a local school where we will do mission while securing a place to meet. Etc.

6. Know your stuff.

There is no reason to NOT be knowledgeable in ground breaking. Read books, google search articles from church-planters, master the book of Acts. Be a learner. Read without ceasing.

7. Know your place.

Where is God calling you to go? God will use you best in a place that you come to know. And love. Begin to pray for God’s heart, burden, passion, insight into the place where He is calling you. Ask for confirmation. Look to spiritual brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers for further confirmation.

Published by Mike Patz

Question isn't merely, Will I go to heaven when I die? but, Will heaven come to earth while I live?

3 thoughts on “Ground Breakers

  1. Chewing on your statement, “It would be foolish to use these (APEST) as titles.” Resonates and reminds me of the activity Paul’s pointing to and the true “function” behind his words in his letter to the Church in Ephesus. The work of the kingdom is at hand and the Spirit empowers us to do the work. The work involves specific activities (APEST) and what must follow is an equipping by the Spirit (calling) and those who are spiritual mature (training) in order to prepare the Church to do the work.

    In what ways does our language locally (Greenhouse) reflect this activity vs. the notion of titleship for titleship sake we lean so close to in our Western culture? In what ways (e.g. language we use, acts we commit) do we as a Greenhouse church body represent or even potentially misrepresent what Paul is saying? It could be something as simple as using titles as identifiers for people rather than the work those people are called to commit themselves to. For example, if one’s calling and equipping represents that of the work of evangelism than do we need to be putting the title of “pastor” before that individual’s name? Or are we simply using that title because it’s just the way it’s always been done? What are gaining by using a familiar title even if it misrepresents? Conversely, what are we losing?

    Other questions your statement prompts…

    In what ways are we uncomfortable with some of the other APEST identifiers? We don’t see many people in our faith tradition (denomination) using the title “Prophet” to label the work of some within the Church. This pick-and-choose approach has the potential of sending mixed messages and creating shaking foundations within our understanding of who the Church is and how we fit together as one in our affirmation of those gifts being from the Spirit and not from ourselves.

    Furthermore, are we reserving these identifiers for specific individuals because of status and thereby compartmentalizing the activity of the Spirit?

    When Paul writes in his letters, “I, an apostle of the Lord” is he pointing to the label as a way of identifying his title or is he elevating the Spirit’s calling to bring the Good News to the Gentiles in a revolutionary way and how that calling was affirmed by the greater body of believers in Jerusalem?

  2. This is so good, P. Mike! Just sayin’! Just prayin’!

    “Lord, be thou OUR vision. When we catch wind Your vision for our lives, let Your Holy Spirit wind propel us forward in your strength and not our own. Then we KNOW we will reach the marks towards which you’ve called us to ‘GO’!”

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