5 Qualities of Fruitful Church Planters

By D.A. Horton

As we seek to send church planters who will be fruitful, we should consider these five qualities.

In order to send church planters who will be fruitful, we must identify individuals whose call is to plant churches by bringing them into alignment with other churches that support starting congregations around North America and the rest of the world.

Let’s identify five qualities of fruitful church planters:

  • Evidence the person is a follower of Jesus Christ: They can communicate the truthfulness to the gospel, realize the conviction of their sins and the utter dependence on Christ alone, coupled with growth and discernment through Scripture.
  • A student of the Word: This is demonstrated through the witness of individuals who have walked alongside prospective planters.
  • In alignment with their spouse: Is there tension in the relationship? Is their desire to fulfill self-motiving ambitions? 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 explain a biblical model of leading a home. If prospective church planters aren’t doing so, they have no business to lead a church.
  • Understands spiritual gifts and identifies weaknesses: Wise decisions are made through counsel, assessments and insights from others who investigate various aspects of our lives. Meaningful conversations, dialogue and observing one’s life are crucial in identifying church planters. Assessments are the key component to doing just that. We must find a balance in processing church planters: neither us rushing them through or them dragging their feet.
  • Desires to make Jesus known: 1 Thessalonians 2:8 lists three characteristics for someone being led by Jesus to start a new church. Does the candidate have an evangelistic heart? Are they committed to both gospel proclamation and transparent communication? Are they driven by the love of God?


Adapted from the Sending Church Masterclass. The Sending Church Masterclass provides training and development for kingdom-minded leaders and churches in this Great Commission work. Understand your church’s role and get practical help reaching the nations with the gospel, one church at a time. Click to start the Sending Church Masterclass.


Published December 7, 2022

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D.A. Horton

D.A. Horton serves as an Assistant Professor and Program Director of the Intercultural Studies program at California Baptist University. He is also blessed to serve as an Associate Teaching Pastor at The Grove Community Church. He earned his B.S. in Biblical Studies from Calvary Bible College, his Masters Degree in Christian Studies from Calvary Theological Seminary and is working on his Ph.D. in Applied Theology with a North American Missions emphasis at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has authored eight books; G.O.S.P.E.L., DNA: Foundations of the Faith (both by Moody Publishers); Letters of the Revelation: To the One Who Conquers, To The One Who Conquers (Youth Study); Authentic Love (all through Lifeway Publishers); and Bound to Be Free: Escaping Performance to be Captured by Grace. He was blessed to co-author Enter The Ring: Fighting Together for a Gospel Saturated Marriage with his wife Elicia (both through NavPress). On October 22, 2019 his newest book, Intensional, published through NavPress released! He and his wife, Elicia, have been married for 17 years, and they have two daughters, Izabelle and Lola and one son, D.A. Jr. (aka Duce).