Killer Questions is a series of blog posts designed to help planters and starters have transformative conversations with themselves and their co-labourers.   

Do you Know Your Own Heart?

Planters and starters are people who are fueled by what is their hearts: a gnawing sense of holy unrest, a vision of a new way of being the body of Christ, a courageous decision to try something new, and the willingness to stick it out against the odds. And yet, God’s primary concern is on deepening our character not simply ensuring we make our visions a reality. That’s why we need to take a closer look at what is going on in our hearts as we lead. Your heart is what will fuel your project and sustain your ability to stick with it over the long haul. So pay attention!  

Here’s a quote from one of the planters from my the research project that became the book, Gutsy,

“I think we go into church planting with the idea that this will be enjoyable. I don’t think anyone goes into it thinking that this will be a process of holiness. But that’s what it is—a process of holiness.”  

What this planter proceeded to tell me is the way that they wished they had watched over their heart more carefully. The challenges of planting really took a heavy toll on them. Many planters assume that the death blow for their church will come from outside their immediate church community; from a tone deaf denominational leader or a busy body church in the city. In actual fact, more often than not a church plant’s most lethal problems originate inside the church plant itself. All too often the problems lie within the heart of the planter themselves: misunderstood motivations, unmet expectations, misdirected attention, and an unchecked interior world. Problems inside the heart of the planter did far more damage than anything outsiders were ever able to dish out.  

With that in mind, let’s get personal. Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself about … yourself!

  • Do I understand my own motivations for planting in the first place?  
  • What do I think this is all about for me?
  • Could this project become a way for me to make a statement to others?
  • When I’m around other leaders how do I feel?
  • Do I engage in unhelpful fantasies about how awesome I am because I am a planter or a starter?
  • How many of the ideas are in response to someone in my past or someone outside my group?  
  • How many of my ideas are a direct response to the people that are right here, right now?
  • Where do I think my authority comes from?
  • Why do people follow me?
  • Do I share the burden of my vision or do I imagine myself heroically taking it on alone?
  • Do I have a concrete sense of what God would like to teach me through my life as leader in this next season?
  • What practices do I engage in regularly that help me understand what God might be saying to me?
  • Does anyone else know what is going on in my heart?
  • Who are the people that speak into my life?
  • Are our conversations intentional or haphazard?
  • Do we go deep or stay at the surface?
  • When was the last time someone challenged me and I changed because of what they said?
  • Am I aware of my own weaknesses as a leader?
  • Am I aware of my strengths?
  • Do I have a real plan to mitigate my weaknesses?
  • Does the fear of failure ever drive or paralyze me?
  • Do my actions tend to flow from a deep confidence that I am loved by God?
  • Do my actions tend to flow from something else?
  • Am I working from rest rather than resting from work?
  • Am I currently self-medicating, rather than dealing with underlying stress?
  • Am I tempted to keep secrets from people?
  • Am I currently insisting on doing something that my conscience is uneasy about?

These questions are adapted from the book Gutsy: (Mis)adventures in Canadian Church Planting. To explore more helpful advice on what it takes to plant new kind of churches in Canadian soil order your copy today! 

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