Church Planting

Unveiling the 7 Game-Changing Shifts in the First 2 Years

Whether you're planting a church or leading one, these seven shifts will be pivotal in the first two years of development. They set the tone for a community's growth and impact. Remember, it's about a long obedience in the same direction. Take it step by step, and give yourself and your team the grace to grow.

5 Bold Convictions on Prayer for Every Church Planter

Prayer—it's not just some spiritual tool you whip out when you need it. Today, Mike Hickerson and David Hibiske talk about how skipping prayer might actually be holding you back more than you think. Starting with pastors’ own private prayer time, Mike and David break down how investing your time and even some cash into prayer can transform the heart of your church. Listen in for practical tips on bringing prayer into your community, making it accessible and meaningful for everyone.

Rick Burge on the Truth About Church Planter Assessments and Building Genuine Partnerships

“If you can’t understand who you are, you’re probably misdiagnosing who other people are.” Meet Rick Burge, a dynamic leader and coach with a passion for identifying, developing, and mentoring high-capacity leaders. Rick walks through a detailed list of key characteristics for church planters wanting to build up healthy partnerships. From basic leadership competencies to tips for handling the pressure of planting, Rick guides us thoughtfully through this conversation of healthy church planting.

Leading Your Plant from a Place of Health & Current Trends

“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.

Parenting and Planting

“We overestimate how much energy we need to make an awesome church, and we underestimate how important it is to have a healthy marriage.” Today, we’re joined by hosts Mike Hickerson and David Hibiske in a church-planting conversation centered around the family side of a pastor. Often, in the hustle of church planting, pastors can fall into the trap of prioritizing work over family. This only ends up negatively affecting both the church and your family! Listen in for key takeaways and best practices to maintain strength in your family as you pursue ministry alongside them.

How to Lead with Humility and Courage in Different Seasons of Church Planting

“The thing I’m after is an exemplary life.” Meet Andy Wood, Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church. In an open and honest interview, Andy encourages and challenges church planters to lead with humility and courage in the various seasons of church planting. With insights into leading alongside a spouse, filling big shoes, and the general identity challenges of pastoring, lean in today for wisdom in your church-planting leadership.

David Hibiske on the Importance of Commitment and Capacity-Building in Church Planting

“There’s something about commitment that brings focus that unlocks growth.” Meet David Hibiske, Pastor of Strategic Ministry Initiatives at Saddleback Church. Today’s encouragement to church planters is to be ridiculously faithful with what God has given you. Whether you are planting a church, or in a season of growth and waiting, there is encouragement for you in today’s episode. David shares two big leaps in leadership that make all the difference in your capacity to allow for church growth.

The "How" - Eight Steps for Raising Financial Support

“Sometimes we pray generic prayers and expect God to give specific answers, but there is a power in inviting God to show off in the process of planting a church.” Today’s church planting insights include eight steps toward raising financial support. Andy and Mike reflect on their own church plant experiences as they advise church planters on the financial side of the ministry launch. Be encouraged today by fellow church planters as you navigate your own planting journey!

Ben Pilgreen on The Nuances of Urban Church Plants

“If you don’t value team, and if you can’t build a team, it’s going to be lonely, and it’s going to be limiting.” Meet Ben Pilgreen, founder and lead pastor of Epic Church in San Francisco, CA. Today, we get to hear a unique perspective from Ben on his experience planting a church in the urban setting of San Francisco. Discover with us the core church planting elements that stay the same along with the nuances that come with a large, urban context.

The “Who” - The Top Characteristics I Should Look For In A Staff Team

“Whenever God does a ‘what,’ He first finds a ‘who.’” Today we are tackling what could be considered one of the most important aspects of church planting–the “who” of your staff team! Mike and Andy remind us there are few “lone rangers” in the Bible. But cultivating a team can be a daunting task when you want to launch a sustainable church plant.

Brent Storms on the "Where" of Church Planting

“Perseverance is an underrated characteristic of people who succeed.” Meet Brent Storms, President of Orchard Group, an organization that helps leaders plant churches. In today’s episode, we’re getting practical with the “where” of church planting. A few crucial shifts in the way you approach a planting location can infuse your church with longevity and set it up for success.

The Where - 5 Questions Before Choosing A Place To Plant

“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.

Derwin Gray on the Pastor’s Role in Planting Churches of Holiness and Unity

“Planting a church doesn’t start with the people you want to reach. It starts with the God who reached you.” Meet Derwin Gray, speaker, author, and Lead Pastor at Transformation Church. In today’s episode, Derwin gives encouragement to church planters by informing the key characteristics of a New Testament Church, reminding us of the right posture for a church planter’s heart, and challenging us in the areas the church falls short.

The What - 5 Decisions To Shape My Church Planting Vision

“...the more it’s clear the kind of culture I’m trying to create, I’ll attract people that also have similar values…so it’s so good before I go to that building phase to start getting some of this stuff super clear in my heart–one, so I can communicate it, but two, so that I can attract the right kind of people and I’m not having to work so hard to get people convinced about my vision.” On today’s episode, Andy Wood and Mike Hickerson share five key decisions to shape and clarify the vision for a church plant.

Church Planting Year One–the Mistakes and the Miracles

“A growing church is always led by a growing leader. And whenever a leader stops growing, the church starts dying.” Meet Ron Sylvia, founding pastor of Church @ The Springs. In today’s episode, Ron shares the realities of year one in church planting–especially as a pioneer church planter when there were not too many resources and advice at the time. Ron’s encouragement to new church planters is to listen to the voice of God and stay grounded in the vision and calling. As a church planter, you’re on the front lines of what will be your legendary days…

The “Why” - 7 Good Reasons To Plant A Church With Andy Wood & Mike Hickerson

“Church planting is not an easy sport, it’s an obedient sport.” There are good reasons and bad reasons to plan a church. The difference between the two is almost always tied to motivation. On today’s episode, Andy Wood and Mike Hickerson unpack the 7 good reasons to plant a church and share personal stories from their own experiences in church planting.

Mike Breaux and Gene Appel on Church Planting Before it Was Cool

“Back in that day, we didn’t have any church planting resources, any church planting organizations, books on church planting, nothing. So we just prayed.” On this episode we’re joined by Gene Appel, Senior Pastor of Eastside Christian Church, and Mike Breaux who serves on the teaching team of multiple churches throughout the country. Between them, these two ministry giants have over 60+ combined years of church planting wisdom, ministry experience, and encouragement for the next generation of leaders.

Andy Wood on Defining a Successful Church Plant and Leading a Team By Examining Character, Passion, and Shaping

What defines a successful church plant? Am I wired to lead? Do I have the right team in the right roles? On today’s episode of The Unfair Advantage, Andy Wood and Sean Morgan unpack both the qualitative and quantitative elements of a “successful” church plant.

Being Good at Home and Leading Well in Ministry Together with Andy & Stacie Wood

“Ministry and family is not an either/or. It’s both/and. But there’s certainly a priority. And if you get to the place where the family is not your priority, eventually you might have to make a choice.”

Slowing Down To Plant Well With Mike Hickerson

“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.