After nearly 10 years of mission work experience with young adults, we have seen many different kinds of people come to the mission field. Over those years we have seen certain things that repeatedly show up in those individuals who have done well on the mission field. We have learned that being a good 40/40 Church Planter has less to do with personality and giftings and more to do with the attitude and values that come out of the heart. Not every missionary may have all of these values, or they may not be very well developed; however, these are all values that can be grown and cultured while being on the field.

You can use this list to evaluate yourself for mission work, or maybe there is someone you know who comes to mind as you read through these values. It’s important to remember, that these are only five of the most important values that make a successful 40/40 Church Planter, and anything that is lacking can be developed.  

  1. Loves What God Loves

Most often, when we have the opportunity to sit down and talk with a young adult who is thinking about going to the mission field, they bring up the topic of the call. They either say they have a call to missions or they are uncertain whether they are called at all. For those who have their calling cemented in their heart, there’s no problem; however, for the one who is unsure, trouble may start to brew.

A calling is necessary to have as a 40/40 Church Planter. It’s what the missionary looks back on when much of the work gets hard. It acts as an anchor that tells the story, “I am supposed to be here.” But, not all 40/40 Church Planters have had an experience where they feel the Lord spoke directly to their hearts they were going to be a missionary. Sometimes, the call looks like simply loving the things that God loves, and that is exactly God’s will. If you simply have a desire to love on people, to disciple others in their relationship with Christ, or anything that looks like ministry, you might have a calling to do mission work. Sometimes the calling is over thought, and because a booming voice wasn’t heard nothing is done at all. There are a lot of callings that are missed because they didn’t come in the form that was expected.

This is actually the secret to living in God’s will! Loving what God loves, and acting on it, is living out that will. A person who has their heart aligned with God’s is a person who knows what the Lord desires, because His desires flow from His heart. This gives a potential missionary discernment from the beginning stages of their journey into the mission field, and follows them through their term in their service city. With this virtue in place, a missionary’s daily situations no longer become a hectic and desperate searching for what God’s will is. Instead, they look to their personal relationship with God, and based on how they know His heart and understand what He loves, they act.

If one has their heart aligned with God and is intimately connected with the desire of his heart, then they know the number one priority of God’s heart, man. This is the central piece of loving with God’s love. This is the very reason that we exist. A missionary who does not love the very people that God sent his son to die for is a tragically confused and misplaced person. Missionaries are to be consumed with love for their neighbor.

  1. Driven to Grow in Christ

This would seem like a given attribute for a 40/40 Church Planter, but it’s not about the Sunday School answer at all. Yes, a good 40/40 Church Planter loves Jesus. Yes, they read their Bible. But, that’s not all their drive to grow in Christ looks like. The mission field is jam-packed with learning experiences. There is hardly a day that doesn’t go by that something new isn’t learned. More often than not, it is birthed out of that space between a rock and a hard place. The mission field is all about the Great Commission and it starts with disciples. The very word disciple means student. If there is no heart for learning and growing, then that person is no disciple and cannot be a part of the mission.

A 40/40 Church Planter is not expected to know everything before they come to the field. These are young adults who, the majority, have not gone to seminary or had any theological training. While the expectation is not that a 40/40 should know everything about the Bible, there should most definitely be a burning desire to know God more and to press deeper into who he is.

Pretty much every Christian has heard the phrase, “God doesn’t call the equipped, he equips the called.” As tiresome as the cliche may sound, and as painful as it is to write out… it is very true. And yet, at the same time, God is a respector of the boundaries an individual puts up. Someone who would make a good 40/40 Church Planter is one who can humble himself/herself and recognize they still have a lot to learn about their self and God. It is possible to figuratively draw a line in the sand before God and say, “We are not going to talk about this,” and He will respect that. Just as the Lord has given us dominion over the earth, we have been given dominion over our internal lives as well. We can decide to either keep God out, or let Him in. Behold, He stands at the door and knocks!

Lane Freeman (Antofagasta 40/40 Church Planter), says “You could compare [this] to a good friend. When you have a good friend you desire to spend time with them and to continue to get to know them more, and it’s the same way with our relationship with Christ. He should be our best friend. The difference is that it shouldn’t stop. And just like you gloat about your best friend to the people around you, you should do the same with Christ. A relationship of true best friends never stops growing, and the importance of that is that you’ll never stop gloating; to new people in your life, to the friends that have been around for ages. Gloating, boasting and bragging about Christ and His love for the children is a huge thing, and for any Christian having Christ as your best friend who you gloat about to everyone around you is huge. I’ve found without that growth, and without Christ being your best friend people are less apt to share about Christ and His great love for them, and their friends.”

  1. Emotionally Aware

Being driven for growth requires that one be transparent and authentic about their emotions. A good 40/40 Church Planter has a sense of where they are emotionally and recognizes how they may affect others and the areas where they need improvement.

Breakthroughs both within our relationship with God and those around us come most easily when we are aware of our emotions and what is happening in our souls. In a 40/40 team there are often times of stress triggered by differences in personalities, and culture. By having a well-sharpened emotional awareness, feelings of offense are better warded off. Have you heard the phrase, “hurting people hurt people”? Well, that certainly happens most when those people are unaware of their hurt in the first place.

Being in relationship with God helps us become more emotionally aware as well. Thankfully, He still speaks today, and reveals our hearts to ourselves as we make ourselves available to Him. He desires for us to be aware of our emotions so our existence in team settings don’t turn into blood baths!

Brooke Thomas (Cordoba 40/40 Church Planter), says, “I wouldn’t say that a person who is emotionally unaware shouldn’t be a 40/40, but it’s definitely something we seek and pray for. The need is twofold-personal growth and effective ministry. My emotional unawareness (obliviousness? oblivion?) is a huge foothold for the devil because I interpret situations and make decisions based on my emotions. When Satan leads me around by my anger, pride, self-pity, I cannot be led by God’s love or grace. This obviously affects my ministry. My emotional ignorance becomes the lens through which I analyze the direction of my leaders and the needs of my disciples.”

“On the other hand, the Holy Spirit makes us emotionally aware by shining light on our weaknesses and transforming them. As I become more aware of my emotions, I also become very aware of their inconsistencies. Just because I feel a certain way now does not mean I will always feel this way. This realization allows me to depend on something other than my emotions when I analyze and make decisions. Emotional awareness frees me to set my emotions aside, stand on God’s truth, and love with God’s love.”

  1. Submissive to Authority

The American culture is a culture that prizes and elevates those who function at a high level of individuality. Take hipsters for example, there is a high drive to be unique and unlike everyone else. Hipsters don’t like to be categorized as hipster, and the moment they find out anyone else is a fan of their favorite band, they drop it faster than croc shoe fad went out of style.

Mix the value of individuality with a dash of pride, and submission becomes a very hard thing to practice, yet it’s so important among leadership, especially on the mission field as a 40/40. The chain of command that is set on each team puts the pastor at the very top. He gets to make decisions for the team from how the church services will flow, to what parts of the city will be evangelized, and can even dictate what kind of entertainment the missionaries may use. While some of that might sound extreme, the issue of submission comes down to honor, which is another word for love, which is a huge value in the Kingdom.

Ultimately, the 40/40 Church Planter is the example to new church goers on how to engage with their pastor. If the example doesn’t submit, then neither will any of the followers. Submission is a much bigger issue than the individual that feels their rights are being disrespected, it’s an issue of being sensitive to culture and laying down one’s rights for the good of the community.

Dani Neiderhiser (Cordoba 40/40 Church Planter) says, “I think it is important to submit to leadership because if we don’t, we’ll have chaos. If we didn’t submit to our leadership, we’d be setting a bad example for our disciples and fellow church-goers. In the South American culture where the pastor is one of the ultimate authorities in your life, [seeing unsubmissive leaders] can make life confusing for them. I’m not sure what submission to pastors will look like for the teams outside of South America, but within this continental context, it makes sense to submit. A lot of the rules I follow is not for my sake but for the sake of our contacts.”

  1. Flexible

This one piece may be the summary of each of these points combined. But really, a good 40/40 Church Planter is flexible. While for some this is easier than for others, each missionary ought to have the expectation to hold their expectations loosely. Going into another country and experiencing another culture is a mixed bag of surprises and last minute changes. Assumptions are often proven wrong. Are you expecting that the church service will start at the time it is scheduled? Do you think that the line for the bus is going to stay single-file? Guess what you’re going to find on the mission field in South America… The exact opposite!

Working on a 40/40 team, there are dynamics that are bound to change also. Team partnerships may change as sickness or other reasons send missionaries home. The ministry may not follow the plan created before even getting to the event location. There are so many plans and expectations that, on the mission field, and even all through life, turn out in the end dramatically different than initially expected. While these plans change, they almost always turn out for the better!

Jordyn Baker (Manta 40/40 Church Planter) says, “There are things that change in an instant.  Just today we were with the short-termers and we had to change something. I didn’t want to, and I wasn’t sure my partner knew what she was doing, but I trusted her and just went with it.  We ended up making 4 contacts because of it. Sometimes, when there is a change, it doesn’t end well, but having a good attitude is so important for our team’s morale!”

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I resonate/relate with most of these points?
  • Are there any of these points that I need to develop more before I’m ready to go to the mission field?
  • On the points that I am underdeveloped, would I be able to to work on them on the field and not be a hinderence to my team?
  • Which one of these attitudes is the hardest for me to relate with?

Feeling ready to start on the application process to become a 40/40 and change the world?

Let’s get going!

After or while you read, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I resonate/relate with most of these points?
  • Are there any of these points that I need to develop more before I’m ready to go to the mission field?
  • On the points that I am underdeveloped, would I be able to to work on them on the field and not be a hinderence to my team?
  • Which one of these attitudes is the hardest for me to relate with?

If you feel that you are ready to become a 40/40 Church Planter, we’d love to talk more with you! Contact us, or apply today!

About the author

Trevor Allen -

Similar Posts

Comments are closed.