I’ll never forget that day when he asked Sharon and I that question:

Have you ever considered planting a church?”

I was a 32 year old businessman and had only been a Christian for about 6 years. Sharon was a social worker who was now a stay at home mum looking after 3 year old and eighteen month old boys.

We had never considered church planting, but had gone to this wise man for guidance about what to do with our lives. His name was Normal Pell, and he was the Superintendent for the Baptist Union of Tasmania, having previously been part of Billy Graham and Leighton Ford’s teams for 18 years.

Sharon and I made a time to meet with Norman because we had heard that he was a wise and godly man and we wanted direction for our lives. We were restless and so we made a time to go and see Norman. More to the point, Sharon was restless and I went along in support and because whatever we were to do, we were in it together.

Norman saw something in us that neither Sharon nor I saw, but when he asked us that question and explained how church planting was the most fruitful form of evangelism on the face of the earth, something in our spirit jumped.

God used Norman to speak to us about the call that He had for us. I sometimes wonder if Norman hadn’t asked that question; “have you ever considered planting a church?” how our lives would have played out. Would someone else have seen something in us and asked that same question? Would we have heard the audible voice of God asking that question? Or would the call to ministry have passed us by? We can never know.Perhaps someone reading these thoughts might be waiting for someone like Norman to see something in you and ask the question. It doesn’t have to be that question. It may be another question like:


“Have you ever considered interning?”

“Have you ever considered studying for ministry?”

“Have you ever considered becoming a pastor?”

Or then again it might be that question “have you ever considered planting a church?”

Maybe you are a leader and you see the possibility of something like this in someone else. If so, have you asked them the question? Perhaps they need to hear you ask them. Just perhaps, it may irrevocably alter the direction of their life.

Then again, maybe you have sensed that God is whispering a question to you. If you are married, talk to your husband and wife about it and then go and talk to your pastor or a mentor that you respect and ask them what they discern and think.

And don’t make the mistake of looking at where you are now and thinking that you don’t measure up. Neither Sharon nor myself were ready to be church planters when Norman asked us that question. But we were ready to start going on a journey of praying, planning and positioning ourselves to be equipped as church planters.

You might even want to take a preliminary online assessment to help you ascertain whether you are wired to be a church planter. If you decide that this is a journey that you feel God is calling you to embark on, we’d love to let us know so that we can hear your story and help you on the journey.

It’s a great question isn’t it: “have you ever considered planting a church?”

Tim O’Neill

President, A2A


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