By definition an engineer is one who “plans, constructs or manages an enterprise.” Those who would plant churches have a unique opportunity to plan, construct and manage an environment that will lead to healthy disciples and a growing church body. Like anything that grows, a church needs both the elements of growth and an atmosphere or environment that permits growth. Along with passionate and well trained leaders, a clear vision and foundational values churches need a healthy environment to grow. What do we mean?

Scripture declares “you shall know the truth and the truth will make (or set) you free.” But what is truth? It may be “true” that previous attempts to plant a church in a certain area have been unsuccessful but that history is not a gauge of our future success. It may be “true” that our financial resources appear limited but the value of our experience, the mentors in our lives, the creativity in the local church body can be of greater long term value than would come from a donor writing us a cheque.

A leader’s ability to influence the future is his or her most powerful tool. It has been determined that 80% of all cultures are negative cultures. As such most people measure themselves according to their perceived limitations and their past failures. In a new church plant, the leaders have the opportunity to make the gatherings a place of possibility and potential. They have the opportunity to create an atmosphere of acceptance and celebration. Imagine a place that constantly celebrates the victories, small and large of the people. Imagine a place where failure is seen as temporary and encouragement thrives.

A few years ago my wife took golf lessons. The first week all the class did was grip a club. The second week after reviewing their grip, they began to swing the club. It wasn’t until week three that a golf ball teed up for the students to hit. As the first student gripped the club and began to swing, the excitement grew. Unfortunately as she made contact the ball screamed off in a most undesirable direction. Immediately the student turned to the instructor and asked the question “what did I do wrong?” The wise instructor, the one responsible to set the atmosphere for success asked his own question, “Why, do you want to do it again? Now grip the club and swing it like you know how.” The eager student did as she had been taught, dismissing her failure and hit a most excellent golf shot.

As a church planter you have the opportunity to birth a people and a place where people will be free to excel, doing what you have helped them learn to do.

By Bill Howell


1 The Free Dictionary (Farlex)
2 John 8:32
3 Mike O’Brien, Culture Specialist, Star Performance Group