Answering the Question, “Why Don’t You Plant a Church?”

Primary Audience – Whoever Read the Previous Post – A Yankees Take on Church-Planting in Nashville

Sometimes you have to provoke what you perceive to be a problem to see that it’s not (or may not be as bad as you think – make sense?) As I mentioned, I received a couple cool emails and links from people doing good work in Nashville like here and here.

I’ve also been asked the obvious and legitimate question, “Why don’t you plant a church here in Jersey?”  In truth, I’ve been asked this quite a few times. It’s not because I am special; I’m pretty sure most pastors (and seminarians) in their 20’s & 30’s get asked as well. I confess, I do have a fascination with church planting. Some guys make it look so fun and easy on Twitter that you can’t help it and some of my friends are planting (they either do not exaggerate as well on Twitter or not planting missionally/purposedrivenly/annointedly/Jabezly). And similar to how I am fascinated with the idea of batting second for the Yankees, I am just not sure if that’s the direction I am going.

I certainly do believe in the importance of church planting so yes, to compare it to playing major league baseball is a bit ridiculous – even for this blog. But I also do believe in the importance of reforming and rebuilding our existing churches. Just like it takes a special type of person to plant, I think it takes a special type of person to reform. And I’d like to add that it takes a special type of person to be in youth ministry. Hmm, maybe I was wrong, maybe I am special :)

To use the “called” language, not only do I feel called to be a part of reforming the Church, I feel that I am to be doing that in youth ministry. Honestly, most days, I really like what I do. Indeed there are days when I get frustrated, like when a need comes through the church and someone else volunteers the youth group for it (Volunteer yourself bro!), but really, I find a great deal of fulfillment and consider it a privilege to be a part of this chapter in our students’ lives.

A lot of is due to the type of youth ministry we are trying to build here. I know it sounds a bit dramatic but I actually believe this stuff – we are trying to create & foster a Christ-centered culture of young disciples to serve God’s kingdom. Blessed with a great Jr. High pastor and some fantastic youth leaders, we have been working on a culture that is loving, sacrificial, generous and “deep” (not always sure what that means, but we do tackle some tough content). To be truthful, there have been times when our students have completely dropped the ball. There have even been times when the youth leaders have dropped the ball. And there was one time that I forgot to fill up the church van after an activity but I would hardly call that dropping the ball Ok, ok, I’m the worst of them all but come on, I was distracted by the prospect of batting second for … :)

But there have also been times when our students have really went above and beyond anything I/we have expected. Many of them have the godliest parents I have met, some of them have not been as fortunate but the Lord has been just as near – and it’s been incredible to witness. I’ve seen students barely stay awake in youth group and then months later, tearfully express to the group what the Lord is doing in their lives. I’m betting that it wasn’t my teaching that had drastically improved in the short span but rather the student taking hold of the faith that God was extending. There is a goodness you gain in knowing that you are doing your job well but then there is an overwhelming fulfillment in knowing that you are a small part of something that is happening through you and your community and in spite of you and your community.

Witnessing students embrace Jesus and pursue the work of the Kingdom is among the greatest joys of my life. As you can see, this is a very special thing to me and until the Lord changes my heart, I doubt I’m planting a church, leading one, or batting second for the Yanks.


  1. nicely done
    i appreciate your passion and hope for the already established and re-establishing church.
    although “Church of the Black Coffee” has a nice ring to it!

  2. Awesome, dude. We need more youth ministers like you.

    And by “we,” I don’t necessarily mean in Nashville. I’m sure we have a Youth Minister on every corner here as well. ;)

    And as far as your comment about feeling called to reform an existing church, AMEN. I completely agree. It doesn’t have to be either/or. It needs to be both/and. Reform declining existing churches while planting new vibrant ones.

    I can now say I have been a part of both. And I can also say I think reforming an existing one is harder than planting a new one. Maybe it’s just the way I am wired — as a trailblazer, creator-type, planting may come easier. Or maybe reforming really IS harder. Doesn’t matter. It’s a matter of calling, as both are vital to the Kingdom.

    All that said, if the church (universal) is truly the body of Christ, we need all kinds. Planters and reformers, Yankees and Southerners. The only requirement is a passion to give their lives away for the Glory of God.

    Great post, Tim. Again, I appreciate your humility.

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