Mike Hickerson

Leading Your Plant from a Place of Health & Current Trends

About The Episode

“Jesus has already given us the mission, and He already tells us what heaven celebrates.” Today, Mike Hickerson leads the discussion about trends in church planting, plus key reminders to keep planters in a healthy place of leadership. Find out what planters should be obsessing over, why data is your friend, and why the “rise of ‘nones’” brings hopeful opportunity. It’s all in today’s episode!

Welcome to Episode 021 of The Unfair Advantage Podcast with Mike Hickerson.

Insights From Mike


  • We’ve got to love Jesus.
  • We cannot be chasing our identity in anything else other than Christ.
  • Humility is the soil in which the spiritual gifts grow.
  • If there are any cracks in our character, marriage, finances, etc., the pressure of church planting makes those cracks become canyons.


  • A big percentage of church planters come from a student ministry world. 
  • The pool of student ministry leaders is shrinking. (Will the pool of church planters be shrinking too?)
  • The best student ministry leaders are not staying as long.


  • We are increasingly in a post-Christian and cynical world. 
  • We are in a culture of low biblical knowledge and low biblical trust.
  • People are cynical about the Bible or not ready to give the Bible authority over them.


  • There is a cynicism around institutions.
  • Instead of joining a church’s compelling vision, a shift in culture is taking place where it’s less compelling to join a vision and more compelling to get help. “Home Depot” church: “You can do it, and we as an institution can help.”


  • Rise of the “nones” but also a rise of revivals.
  • There is great potential and opportunity here.


  • People have a low tolerance for abuse and scandal. 
  • We have to be above reproach.
  • “What good is the church in the community?” We should have a good answer to that.


  • Fundraise more than you think you need to for your project.
  • Fund for the life of the project.
  • Make a 4-year budget plan (salary, launch cost, facility, equipment, operational, etc.)
    • Year 1: 75% funded
    • Year 2: 50% funded
    • Year 3: 25% funded
    • Year 4: Self-sustaining


  • Year-to-year data will help give you trends. 
  • Be focused on the data about people’s action steps. (Decisions made, etc.)
  • Data tells a story.


  • Developing is greater than doing.
  • You can’t delegate what you can’t define. 
  • Define what “can’t” a volunteer can do.

Episode Links

Do ministry together! Three gatherings, nine planters, one cohesive journey. Check out the Ascent Leader Church Planter Cohorts. Get more information today at: https://theascentleader.org/cohorts/

Who Is Mike Hickerson?

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.

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Thanks to our sponsor: Generis.

A generous church is a healthy, growing church. So, if you’re ready to advance your mission, visit Generis.com/getstarted today!

Quotes From Episode

“We’ve got to lead from a place where our identity is rooted in Christ.”

“Our spiritual gifts have the potential to take us to places that our character cannot sustain.”

“Jesus has already given us the mission, and He already tells us what heaven celebrates.”

“Obsess about people getting connected to roles and relationships.”

“Developing is greater than doing.”

“You can’t delegate what you can’t define.”

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.

Contact our team: ops@theascentleader.org

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