Imagine attempting to get a job in today's competitive marketplace - and having to get their without ever having had a teacher to instruct you how to read, to add, to discover, explore and experiment.

Imagine needing a doctor, knowing that he or she had never had an internship with qualified staff to observe and guide their development, to show them the proper way to diagnose organs, perform surgery safely.

Imagine boarding a plane knowing that pilots had no schooling, no training, just someone that likes to wear a uniform with stripes on the arms and always wanted to fly.

That is kind of scary. We might even call that a failed system.

Imagine planting churches without having a coach or mentor to guide you, to cheer you on, to help you address the core parts of establishing a team, addressing your demographic strengths, help you focus on central issues.

Oh wait, that is all too often the system that is established. That works for the intuitive, auto-didactic ones, the "jump into the deep end and see if you can swim" types. But it is really the most viable way to launch a church? Is that the way we want a young team to learn the realities of ministry?

"If you are planting a church you need a coach (yes, maybe even a paid one). The coach (or mentor) can help planters focus on goals and actions steps related to all ... issues. I know that may overwhelm you, but you are investing in viability. How much will it cost you personally if the church plant closes? We all know that the cost goes far beyond dollars and cents for all involved."

7 Top Issues Church Planters Face

Church planting guru Ed Stetzer is not a lone voice. It makes no sense to go alone, when it is not necessary. Consider a few things when pursuing a coach.

1. Ask established ministries if they would assist you for a set amount of time.

The most valuable asset that a successful coach will have is time. Ask for six months of assistance. Or if it is a complex need, ask for 9-12 months. There should be an exit strategy for the assignment.

2. Formulate a question that you would like solved. Be specific.

What is the next step in ministry life for your team? Put that question to another ministry that can specifically address that need. Questions like: How do we set up a website? Coach us through the steps of hiring. What are the core elements of assimilation we need to implement? How do we discover our core strengths?

3. Technology.

Implement Skype, webcams for keeping contact fresh. You need not always have the coach on site.

4. Teachability.

How committed are you to learning and implementing what you discover? Many are more interested in discussing ministry that actually doing something of impact for the kingdom. Show your coach that you are hungry and that their time is a worthwhile investment.

Keith Gandy - GermanyKeith Gandy - Germany

Keith, originally from the desert of Phoenix, Arizona, has been planting a church in Aschaffenburg, Germany for over thirty years. Daughter churches have also been started and missionaries have been sent out of the congregation. Annually, he participates in encouraging other European church-planters and frequently travels to visit them in their respective field of service.

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