5 Bible Verses for Discouraged Church Planters

Since surrendering to vocational ministry in my late 30s, we started our own nonprofit, have been involved in the starting two churches and the revitalization of three churches. Plus, through our ministry, we have assisted a dozen or so nonprofits get off the ground.

I have learned there are days when you simply need outside encouragement. The idea for this article came after a conversation with a very stressed and frustrated planter. (Imagine launching in the middle of a pandemic.)

At times I simply don’t know what to say to someone. In those moments, the best I can do is point them back to truth. These have been encouraging verses to me in my work. If you need it, I hope these reminders help.


“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” —Zechariah 4:10

Every living thing begins somewhere. Jesus talked about the “life” contained in the smallest of seeds. Sometimes small has advantages. Don’t compare yourself to others. Contentment is being satisfied where God has you today.

“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young.” —1 Timothy 4:12

Of course, this was written to a young pastor, not to a local church. And you may not be considered young anymore. I love those who are still involved in new things when they are my age. But the principle here is still encouraging. Continue reading the verse and see how you can set yourself apart even in these early days of the work.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” —Philippians 1:6

Here is another verse that can quickly be taken out of context and misapplied. But I am confident of this. If God called you to it he has a plan. It may or may not look like what you imagined, but it will be good, because God is good.

“And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.” —Acts 15:19

Don’t overcomplicate things. Everything doesn’t have to be elaborate. You shouldn’t compare yourselves to the bigger, more established churches—who also have more staff and a larger budget. Sometimes simple works.

Stick with the basics. People need the hope of the gospel.

“Nevertheless, I have reserved 7,000 in Israel.” —1 Kings 19:18

I can’t tell you how encouraging this voice has been over the years. Elijah felt alone, but he wasn’t. God already had a people prepared for his support.

I have learned by experience that if God is calling me to it he is already preparing others. Sometimes it is hard to find them among a sea of complainers, but they are there. Part of my leadership is to find them.

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This article originally appeared on RonEdmondson.com and is reposted here by permission.

Ron Edmondson
Ron Edmondsonhttp://ronedmondson.com

Ron Edmondson is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. He revitalized two churches and planted two more.