3 Mistakes Planters Make When Searching For Potential Partner Churches

Both church planters and partner churches are in search of a ministry relationship that aligns with the vision and needs of their ministry. Avoid these mistakes that roadblock partnerships.

1) Not knowing what your potential partner church is looking for.

I’ve found that there are essentially two different mindsets with partner churches. Knowing which one you are interacting with can make all the difference. The first mindset is when a partner church wants to find a church planter in great need, where they can play a significant role with their support. The church wants to find a planter that doesn’t already have lots of partnerships and funding and has an urgency behind their financial needs. What they are searching for is a great need, but also a great vision that simply needs more resources. Here, the potential partner church is looking to feel needed by you.

The second mindset is that of a partner church looking for momentum and traction. Here, the focus is less on the resource deficit and more on the credibility and momentum already established by the planter. Contrary to the first, having several other credible churches that have already decided to give to you just excites them. Think of them like investors that are looking for the most reliable return on their investment. Here, the potential partner church is looking to feel confident in your leadership and viability.

2) Assuming their response beforehand.

There are some churches that have a strong history of supporting church planters. But there are even more churches that have never had a personal partnership with an individual church planter. Don’t let this discourage you from reaching out to them. God may use you to introduce this new layer to their missions strategy. I’m encouraged at the number of potential partner churches I’ve talked to that had never even considered directly supporting a church planter until I asked them. The idea of having a close relationship with a planter (in addition to network/ denominational giving) really intrigued them.



3) Ending a relationship with them if they don’t give you support.

Timing plays a key role in fundraising. That’s why it’s important to learn when your potential partner church’s budget year begins, Many churches plan out their budgets and giving a year or two in advance, and in specific times of their calendar year. If you happen to hear a ‘no’ from a potential church planter, don’t interpret that to mean they don’t want to have a relationship with you. Instead, hear it as ‘not right now’ and continue an ongoing relationship with them. Ask if they would be willing to give you coaching every 6-8 weeks or send a mission team to help you with a specific ministry opportunity. Keeping this relationship growing, as opposed to hearing ‘no’ and moving on, could be the difference that a potential church planter needs to reconsider you in the future.

Stephen Sargent

Stephen is a Church Planting Resident at Grace Church and is preparing to plant a church in Bridgewater, MA in the fall of 2018.