Am I called to be a church planter?

We asked James Hyde, CPI NationalCoordinator, to tell us about his journey with church planting.


How did you get involved in church planting?

It begins with my role as a Counties trustee. In 2009, whilst self-employed as an environmental litigator, Counties trustees nominated me to the CPI board. The nomination was a great fit because of my conviction about the urgency to make Jesus known in the UK. This conviction developed whilst serving with evangelist Nick Pollard and then UCCF. Having been recognised as an elder in 1998 and commissioned as part time Admin Elder in 2004, I thought it was a stepping stone to a long term call. In 2010, my wife and I left our jobs and with our two sons, Chris and Ben, completed missionary training with YWAM. But after being refused a visa to begin serving abroad, our call was questioned. It was confusing.

We felt God was saying wait. I wasn’t very good at waiting. Six months went by. Twelve months. Eighteen months. Then God provided. In 2012 CPI called me to serve as a part-time Development Consultant alongside Julian Marsh, CPI’s Director. I felt my call was affirmed as a missionary to the UK serving church planters.

What’s your involvement right now?

Since 2015, I have been mentoring, coaching and training planters as National Coordinator. As I travel around the UK, the questions seem to revolve around three common issues: What does the church of the future look like? How do I make disciples through relationship if I have never been shown how? If I can work out answers to the first two issues, how do I look to God for my finances?

These questions are particularly important in the UK context, because whilst some are convinced the UK is a mission field, others still see the UK as a sending nation. Or to put it another way, I hear three common objections: Don’t we have enough churches? or Isn’t one large church better than a lot of smaller churches? or Shouldn’t we strengthen those remaining before starting anew? I answer these objections by telling the real-life stories of planters’ calls to preach the gospel. I don’t promote church planting as the ‘silver-bullet’. I do see church planters innovating ways to make Jesus known across the UK.

How do you know if you are called to be a planter?

I would invite you to read the book Fresh Shoots in Stony Ground by Stephen McQuoid & Neil Summerton, especially the chapter on characteristics of planters in the New Testament. We are looking for planters with a track-record of pioneering, disciple-making, team-building and those who look to God for their finances. It’s not enough to just be enthused about the idea of planting, being in charge, or not having to do things the way others do. If those are the types of reasons pushing you, you will fail, and the consequences may be devastating.

So who is the ideal church planter?

There isn’t one type of planter, because there isn’t one type of church. Depending on your chosen model, and the context you plant in, the type of planter will differ. However, regardless of model and context, every person needs to first put themselves up against biblical qualifications. There are a few other helpful indicators (see below)

What if you said yes to at least eight of those 13 indicators?

I would ask some eligibility questions: Does my family support me planting a church? Does my church support me? Do others affirm this calling? If you answered yes to the above questions and indicators, then I encourage you to contact me. I pray as a result of reading this, some of you may also see in yourselves the passion for serving as a missionary to the UK through church planting.

If you meet 8 or more of these characteristics will you pray about a call to plant a church?

 Church Planting: Ridley’s 13 Characteristics

  1. Visioning capacity
  2. Intrinsically motivated
  3. Creates ownership of ministry
  4. Relates to the unchurched
  5. Spousal cooperation
  6. Effectively builds relationships
  7. Committed to church growth
  8. Responsive to community
  9. Utilizes giftedness of others
  10. Flexible and adaptable
  11. Builds group cohesiveness
  12. Resilience
  13. Exercises faith


To find out more about church planting email

By |2018-09-21T09:40:50+00:00October 31st, 2018|Feature stories|