Andy Wood & Mike Hickerson

The Where – 5 Questions Before Choosing A Place To Plant

About The Episode

“So much of our journey is discovering what God has in mind.” Questions are powerful. Asking the right question with the right heart posture can be used by God to take your church plant far. Oftentimes, as church planters, we come with ready and willing hearts, but we lack the understanding of where God is leading us practically to plant a church. Today’s episode gives you five key questions to prayerfully ask as you discern where to plant. 

Welcome to Episode 013 of The Unfair Advantage Podcast with Mike Hickerson and Andy Wood.

Insights From Mike & Andy

Five Stages of Church Planting

  • The dream stage (0-9 months)
  • The build stage (9-12 months)
  • The launch stage (12-18 months)
  • The growth stage (18-24 months)
  • The multiplication stage (24 months on)

Determining Where to Plant

  • Both Andy’s and Mike’s church plants began with dedicated prayer. 

How to Ask the Important Questions on Where to Plant

  • Ask prayerfully – led by the Holy Spirit
  • Ask with your spouse in mind – not independently
  • Ask with an attentive heart 
  • Ask with an open Bible

Question #1

  • If you could plant anywhere, where would you want to plant?
  • Psalm 37:4
  • Ask your spouse this same question.
  • Let yourself dream.

Question #2

  • Where is God at work?
  • Where is He opening or closing doors?
  • Don’t push through closed doors.

Question #3

  • Who has God given me a burden for?
  • You might find a common city coming up in conversation repetitively. Maybe God is putting something on your mind/heart.

Question #4

  • What season of life am I in?
  • Who do you naturally connect with? 
  • Consider your spouse/family and their commitment level as well.

Question #5

  • Where is there great need?
  • Instead of basing a decision on where you’ve seen great fruit, focus on where there are gaps.
  • Maybe God wants you to find a community where there is nothing like what you’re trying to do. 
  • Don’t take the easy road.

Episode Links

Blue Ocean Strategy

Do ministry together! Three gatherings, nine planters, one cohesive journey. Checkout the Ascent Leader Church Planter Cohorts. Get more information today at:

Who Are Andy Wood & Mike Hickerson?

Andy Wood is the Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church. Andy and his wife Stacie are answering God’s call to serve at Saddleback after over a decade of church planting. The Wood’s started South Bay Church in 2009 with two other families. South Bay Church officially changed their name to Echo.Church in January of 2018. Echo.Church has become one of the fastest growing churches in the most unchurched area of the United States and is now reaching over 2,300 people in regular attendance in three locations across Silicon Valley.

Andy’s passion is to create environments that engage the unchurched people of the Bay Area. Along with leading the church, Andy enjoys investing time in helping church planters and church leaders think more innovatively and strategically to reach people in the most unreached areas of North America. Andy and Stacie have three kids, Caedmon, Sammy, and Karis. 

Mike Hickerson is the Lead Pastor of Mission Church in Ventura, CA. Mike describes himself as a church planter, lucky husband, outnumbered dad of three daughters, Oklahoma Sooner fan, coffee addict, and a struggling surfer.


Thanks to our sponsor: Food For The Hungry.

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Quotes From Episode

“The Great Commission is working and alive.” ~Mike Hickerson

“I don’t want to go into the land of milk and honey without the presence of God.” ~ Andy Wood

“So much of our journey is discovering what God has in mind.” ~Andy Wood

“We like to rush things…God is more about the health.” ~Mike Hickerson

Our goal with the Ascent Leader and our church planting cohorts is to help church planters win early and finish strong. We want to resource you so that you can avoid common pitfalls and simple mistakes. Being involved in a community of leaders like our church planting cohorts is one of the best ways to wrestle through these questions. We’re here to help you, if we can be of assistance to you please feel free to reach out.

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