Mike Hickerson

Slowing Down to Plant Well

About The Episode

“Why would you waste your life right now, in the prime of your ministry, to go teach a couple hundred people at a movie theater in California?” Meet Mike Hickerson, Lead Pastor & Planter of Mission Church in Ventura, CA. In this episode, Mike shares he and his wife Jodi’s personal story as church planters and unpacks some great advice for planters that he wishes he had ten years ago. He encourages planters to “fight to the edges to be around lost people” and challenges all church leaders, “Don’t arrive. Always think like a church planter… because we’re all still on the hook for the great commission.” 

Welcome to Episode 005 of The Unfair Advantage Podcast with Andy Wood. 

Insights From Mike Hickerson

Launch Team: A Good Kind of Crazy

  • What can’t a volunteer do? Not much. But sometimes as staff, we say no for them. We started with three salaries, so we had to change our mindset on that. 
  • I knew these people had the capacity to grow with the church because they had sacrificed to be part of the team. The big and complex didn’t scare us because we had each seen bigger and more complex before.

Raising Support for Your Church Plant

  • We had some surprising “no’s.” But God will also provide the surprising “yes.” 
  • I had to realize that no one was going to fundraise the church for me. 
  • Fund it as a full project (not just your salary) to where it can become self-sustaining in years two and three – give it room to breathe and grow. Your best window for fundraising is pre-launch. 
  • If you’ve already planted and started, and you’ve had some early success, that’s a great window to go back to your circles to share those wins and ask them to come alongside your church again for specific projects.

Areas Planters Should Give Energy From Calling to Launch

  • Slow down. You get one chance to do this season well and in a healthy way.
  • Exegete the culture as best you can. What are the “isms” about your place? “There is something holy about the people and place that God has called you to.” Eugene Peterson

The Calling

  • There is something holy about a calling. 
  • Don’t get your identity wrapped up in what you’re doing being a pastor, before placing it in who you are as much loved sons and daughters. 
  • If you need the approval of others, this is the worst job you could possibly do for your soul. 
  • I am not my role. I am not my gifts. I am a much loved son, and that’s enough.

What advice would you give to yourself?

  • Don’t underestimate your role, and don’t overestimate your role. Just agree with God that you’re so loved. 
  • The value of a team. No matter how gifted you are, you’re not good enough to do it on our own. 
  • Fundraising – get better at it sooner. Hang out with Steve Stroope sooner. 
  • Reaching people who are far from God takes grace, truth, and time.

Episode Links

Money Matters in Church by Steve Stroope 

Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni 

Do ministry together! Three gatherings, nine planters, one cohesive journey. Checkout 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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Quotes From Episode

“It’s ok to be the leader.”

“Fight to the edges to be around lost people.” 

“Your church won’t be more evangelistic than you are.”

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 Andy: Andy@theascentleader.org

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