Distinctions in church planters and their training

PDJ outlines the differences between a church planter (who plants multiple churches) a church founder (who plants a church and then spend his lifetime pastoring it) and a church sponsor (a senior pastor who encourages church plants)

This article is a must-read:

Playing one round of golf does not normally qualify you as "a golfer".  It is the person who regularly plays golf that deserves the dubious title of "golfer". So it is a little strange to call somebody who has only planted one church a "Church Planter".  While he is planting the church the name may be appropriate but generally somebody who is a "Church Planter" plants more than one church.  In this he differs from a "Church Founder" or a "Church Sponsor"....

It may seem from this that, while the church planter needs a firm grasp of the gospel, he does not necessarily need the same depth of understanding as the founder or the sponsor.  And there is some truth in that observation.  The pastor is going to preach, teach and lead the same group of people for years.   All will experience the depth or shallowness of his theological education.  The church planter will soon move on before people realise his inadequacies.


Yet he too must have some depth of understanding.  It is not simple to adapt the gospel method to different situations without adapting the gospel truth.  It requires a sophisticated grasp of the essentials and the non-essentials.  In particular he will have to understand the doctrine of the church lest he lays some faulty foundations for others to build upon.  It is therefore important that he is either following a clear template or has thought out the theology of the church with great clarity.  Preferably the latter, so that he can adapt to the different situations in which he is planting.