Most jobs have a static job description – the job is the same in the first year as it is in the fifth year. Church planting is not one of these jobs.
When you start planting a church you are a missionary, or at least you should be. Missionaries baptize, teach and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20) Pastors, on the other hand, work to equip christians for the day to day work of ministry (Ephesians 4:12).
Both of these jobs are important but if you perform only the duties of a pastor in the first year of your church planting and avoid missionary activities you’re likely to find that you’re new church won’t grow very much.
The bottom line is this: The needs of a church change as the church matures. The church planter must also change. This little chart basically depicts the gradual shift the founding pastor should make over the first few years of a churches life.
Church planters with a strong missionary gifting will be right at home with evangelism and leadership development but struggle with daily pastoral work such as discipleship, sermon preparation, administration and counseling. On the other hand, church planters with a strong pastoral gifting will likely be inclined to spend all their time caring for the concerns of core team members leaving little time for building relationships with those far from God.
It will help to do some self-evaluation to get a good handle on which way you are inclined. In the early stages of a new church missionary engagement is essential and as you win people to Christ the church’s pastoral needs will require more of your attention.