Identifying Next-Generation Church Planters: Six Key Traits

JohnBy John Alwood, president and founder of Gospel Ventures

Raising up a new generation of strong, Jesus-loving, mission-motivated leaders is essential to the future of church planting. How can we tell if we have a potential church planter on our hands? There are many characteristics a potential church planter needs to possess, but here are six primary things to look for:

  1. Commitment to following Christ no matter what. Church planting requires leaders who can persevere through immense hardship. We need to find individuals who are willing to make sacrifices to spread the gospel. Sometimes there are big personal costs that come up with this job. We need leaders who are so filled with passion for Christ that they will soldier on, despite the costs.
  2. Ability to inspire others. Paul sought out leaders for the early church who were passionate and visionary. We need to do the same. Contagious, overflowing passion for a cause inspires others to follow.
  3. Humility and willingness to learn.
  4. People with an entrepreneurial spirit. One of the biggest things we look for in planter assessments is a history of successfully starting things. What opportunities are you giving young leaders to develop entrepreneurial gifts by starting new ministries and initiatives?
  5. People who learn from their failures. Leaders who have experienced restoration and redemption through the gospel firsthand will be more equipped to preach it.
  6. People who are collaborative. The church is a community, and spreading the gospel is a group effort. We need people who are not only effective leaders, but effective team players.


For discussion with your leadership team:

1.     Who are the young people in your church (between the ages of 10 and 20) who show signs of these characteristics?

2.     How might you cultivate the leadership abilities of youth in your church?