An essential quality for church planters is that he or she has a visionizing capacity. This doesn’t just mean having dreams. There are lots of dreamers. But a church planter has the dream and gets others to buy in and live it out. It means taking the dream and building it into a reality from the ground up.  A planter with a visionizing capacity “pictures a preferred future, initiates plans, and builds significant projects from the ground up to see that vision realized.” That’s the definition from the church planter assessment.

Good potential church planters will have numerous examples of doing that kind of thing, and this visionizing capacity is often demonstrated early in life in a variety of settings. It doesn’t have to be ministry-specific: it could be starting a business or creating something new that involves others, but it needs to result in something that actually happens.

The Vision

When I was a junior at UCLA, I took on the middle-school ministry at my church. I envisioned launching something called “Come Alive Week,” which was basically a jazzed-up Vacation Bible School for older kids. I imagined meeting every evening for five consecutive nights and doing all kinds of different activities: go-carts, swimming, music, Bible lessons. We even planned a “sound scavenger hunt,” where we took the kids to the UCLA campus with portable tape recorders and had them go around trying to record specific sounds. (Note, this was a while back.) The outcome we were aiming for was to establish discipling relationships with these middle-school students.

The Building Phase

To put the ministry together, I needed a lot of people in a lot of different roles. Someone would need to facilitate the games; someone would need to do the registration. There were permission slips, name tags, refreshments, worship, teaching, discussion time. I gathered a group of about fifteen college students and we started with a lot of teaching on spiritual gifts. The idea was to help them discover their gifts and to identify gifts they wanted to experiment with, in order to discern which ones they possessed. The focus was not only on getting the job done, but on developing the people serving.

After the training and preparation time, everyone got a role aligned with a gift they wanted to explore: administration, service, hospitality, teaching, encouragement. Some people had very small roles, but everyone was a part of it and the whole team worked together to accomplish the mission.

The Vision Realized

We mobilized leaders and offered follow through gift-mobilization for them. We reached 40-some kids and offered follow-through discipleship for them. It launched, and it was a vision that came to fruition.

Visionizing capacity is an essential competency for a prospective church planter.

More Resources…

The Church Planting Journey- This newly released book is a comprehensive guide for the church planter. It is the culmination of experience that includes being a church planter myself, and coaching and consulting church planters for more than 40 years. You will find wisdom, systems, and processes that can help you launch well as well as sustain your unique vision and call within the pages of The Church Planting Journey.

The Church Planter Assessment- Are you thinking about church planting or are already in the process? The Church Planter Behavioral Assessment is a valuable tool. To learn more about how you can be assessed email us at

The Leadership Difference- If you are running up against barriers that aren’t specifically theological but are more about how to lead people and get along with them as you work together, The Leadership Difference is for you. This book focuses specifically on key leadership skills, you need to be effective as a leader. The skills and strategies in The Leadership Difference result in a lightened own load, the development of skills in others, and getting the job done more effectively.

Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash