“Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25). This mutual encouragement is not only needed among local church members, but also among those who plant and pastor these churches. However, church planting pastors need a peer group beyond their churches to increase church survivability.
Dr. Ed Stetzer’s research asserts, “Those who try to plant a church without the support and counsel of others have greater risk and less chance of survivability. The church planter who meets with a group of church planting peers at least monthly increases the odds of survivability by 135 percent. We found that out of those church planters who were part of a peer group, 83 percent of their churches survived, whereas only 67 percent of church plants among those who did not have a peer group survived. The old adage, ‘You can’t do it alone’ is true. Church planters need to learn from each other and support one another through the blessings and the trials” (Dr. Ed Stetzer, Church Planting and Survivability, 2007).
SENT provides a peer group for our church planters and pastors within our monthly Collectives. These Collectives give our network planters and pastors the opportunity to join in a meal together, celebrate “evidences of grace,” share trials and prayer, and receive instruction and encouragement from SENT leadership.
We recently sat down with Adam Muhtaseb, planting pastor of Redemption City Church in Baltimore, MD, to hear more about the way SENT Collectives have positively shaped his ministry and encouraged him.
As a pastor of a growing church plant in the city, how has connecting with other planters and pastors at SENT Collectives affected your ministry? Friendship. CS Lewis said a friendship begins when two people exclaim to one another, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one.” And in the SENT Network I’m saying, “What? You too?” A lot. Guys who are going through similar challenges and struggles that have your back. And we get to learn together.
Could you share a specific story of a time you were encouraged by attending a monthly Collective? Greg St. Cyr, Lead Pastor of Bay Area Community Church, Annapolis, MD, spoke about endurance in the long marathon of ministry. Hearing from him was perspective shifting and really encouraging for me.
Do you have any final thoughts about Collectives that you would like to share? Collectives are like mini, monthly retreats. A water break on the long marathon run of church planting. You can survive without water breaks, but the run is a lot more fun and healthy with them.
While pastoring a church will always have its difficulties, SENT hopes to edge some of those out for planters who want to reach their cities with the gospel. In what can be isolating work, our monthly Collectives give our network of pastors and planters a safe place to be encouraged and strengthened as they continue leading the charge.
Please be in prayer that our network of planters, pastors, and the churches they lead will flourish.
In His grace,