Hi, my name is Jonathan Davis. My wife and I have had the good fortune of working alongside Clint and Jennifer, planting Pillar Church, for about 5 years. I am amazed at how good these guest blogs have been. (A definite upgrade from the regular blogging that goes on here …j/k) I decided to wait on writing this until the night before because I wanted to discuss a subject that had not been elaborated on.
Since I have a few single friends who aspire to become church planters, I will take on this question: What age and experience are necessary for a young man whose aspiration is to plant churches and is it acceptable for him to stay single if he is qualified in other areas?
I think in order to answer this question we must first look at the qualifications of what it takes to be a pastor/elder. In 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 Paul lays out for us the biblical qualifications that he considers “a good work.”
The only red flag that I see mentioned in this text that would apply specifically to someone single would be “the husband of one wife.” I do not believe here that Paul is excluding people who are single (because it would mean that an elder must also have children v.4) but is referring to one of two things. He must be a “one woman man” and he should not be divorced. (Unless it is in extreme circumstances such as sexual immorality or an unbelieving wife)
So, if we take in the biblical context of what it means to be a pastor of a church, it does not exclude a pastor who is single nor does it give specifics on age. However, the only “skill” that is required of a pastor is the ability to be an able teacher. Teaching is a gift that God has given each one of us at some level, but a pastor must be able to explain and defend the gospel in a clear and articulate manner.
One more point. According to 1 Corinthians 7:7-9, Paul says that we are gifted in different ways. Some are gifted for marriage and some are gifted for singleness. If we are to follow Paul’s example (which he states we do) then none of us would be married. It is important to adhere to Matthew 7:7 and seek God’s will for your own life.
In conclusion, I do believe that a person gifted with singleness can be a church planter as long as they fall under the qualifications of an elder as posted above. Age is not so much a requirement as experience is. It is vitally important to seek the counsel of wise elders when making the decision to plant a church as they would have a working knowledge of how you live your life according to God’s word.
I wish I could have elaborated a little more, but I realize I have to keep this post to a minimum. Let me know what your thoughts are.