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The following 3 minute video includes a lightly edited transcript below it.

For church leaders today who wonder whether they should plant a church, there can be a feeling of desperation as the leader prays in isolation to discern their call. Usually this process can take years, and can sometimes be based on temporary circumstances.

Typically, most people who have the gifts, calling, and abilities to pastor a church do not have the abilities to plant a church.

In this three-minute video below, Steve Childers gives church leaders advice on how to discern whether they should plant a church. He reminds us that you can have all of the gifts, talents, and abilities, but if you don’t have character, you’ve missed the mark of what 1 Timothy describes as primary for an elder.


The common paradigm is used to help leaders, discern whether or not they are called to church planting is usually diagnosing three particular dimensions of that call and see whether or not they converge. One is, do you have the abilities?

Most people who have the gifts and calling and abilities to pastor a church, do not have the abilities to plant a church. It’s a different gift mixed. Okay? And normally, and it doesn’t mean, I don’t mean by superior or super extraordinary. But a church planter almost always needs to be someone that they say, he’s a good teacher. He’s a good preacher. When he teaches or preaches, I learn. That kind of a thing.

Teaching, preaching is one. The other one is leading. When he leads, people follow. And you always look for the best judge of the future is the past, and you always look, have people followed him? So there’s preaching, there’s leading, I’m kind of working from the bottom up, to what we say, we call the primacy of character in church planting, you can look at preaching, and teaching, and leading, and all of these other areas, but yet, it’s fascinating how God is condescended to inscripturate a job description for a church planter, in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1.

I mean, there’s the description of an elder. An elder, most of that job description, has very little to do with skills, it has to do with character. So, one of the greatest dangers, this church plant, you know, a lot of people don’t realize, when we do assessment centers, we’re reviewing church planters.

The number one reason why most church planters fail assessment that I’m associated with, is because of arrogance.

Or because, of a marriage that needs a lot of work. Or a family that’s hurting.

And so, your character is primary, but after that ability, we call it, the other one, we call affinity, and that’s a concept of you better want to. It’s almost like, I know there’s some ministry where guys will come up to girls that are single, I believe God’s called me to marry you. And I don’t really like you, and I’m not really attracted to you, I know you’re not me but this is something we’re supposed to do. I’m just saying, that’s just weird. In other word, this has gotta be something, I’ve gotta do this! It’s a kinda of I’ll go crazy!

It takes at least 36 months to even earn the right to lead in an established church. So, do you have the ability? Do you have the affinity? Have you made the most significant cut, the character cut? And in the last one, character primary, ability, in terms of, those dynamics. And then the last one, it’s what we call, opportunity. Do you have the ability? Do you have the desire? Does anybody want to plant a church with you?

You can have all the ability in the world, all the interest in the world, and all the character in the world, and not have an opportunity. And, God’s probably not calling you to plant a church.

The following is from the Desiring God Ministries website with a lightly edited transcript of the 3-minute video. A 1-minute summary video is also included at the end of this post.

Many of us struggle to read our Bibles and pray on a daily basis. Therefore, when we do, we rarely question our motivation. It’s easy to assume that Bible reading and prayer are magic bullets — if we read and pray, we will grow. It’s not that simple.

“It is not enough to do the correct thing; it must be done in a right spirit, and with a 
pure motive. A good action is not wholly good unless it be done for the glory of God, 
and because of the greatness and goodness of his holy name.” –Charles Spurgeon

The state of our heart is of utmost importance as we practice spiritual disciplines. It’s possible to read our Bibles, pray, attend Lord’s Day worship, and even take the Lord’s Supper for all types of carnal reasons. Unless we do it for God’s glory, and our joy in him, it does us no ultimate good.

In three minutes, Steve Childers exposes the danger in learning the “how” of spiritual disciplines without the “why.” He presses us to examine our hearts as we resolve to read the Bible and pray more.


An inherent danger in spiritual disciplines is a propensity of the human heart to look to self-effort or practices or methodologies for growth. It is important to understand what is going on underneath the disciplines. What is the motivation for the discipline?

Picture two people running. What motivates each runner? On the outside, you can’t tell the difference. One of them may have an illegitimate, displeasing-to-God motivation, such as vanity. The other may have a good and virtuous motivation for running that honors God. The problem is you can’t tell on the outside.

This illustrates one of the greatest dangers of spiritual disciplines: learning how to run but not understanding why you run, or learning how to do things versus why we do them. So one of the most significant things in spiritual disciplines is understanding the affections of your heart. Is the motive Christ? Is the means Christ?

“One of the most significant things in the spiritual disciplines is understanding the affections of your heart.”

Take for instance, the proverbial quiet time. If you ask someone anonymously, or maybe on a survey, What do you really think? What do you really think is happening when you have your quiet time or when you don’t have your quiet time? I think most evangelicals actually believe they phase in and out of God’s love based on their performance.

Consequently, the quiet time often becomes simply a means by which they follow the discipline of reading Scripture versus a time where they use the Scripture to adore and worship God in Christ for who he is and for all he has done for them. But what is fascinating is: You can’t tell when you are just looking on the outside.