Church planter LT Hopper says Jesus’ driving concern to reach new people has him looking for ‘divine appointments’ each day.

“I had the opportunity to share Jesus with a 70-year-old bloke this week while visiting someone in a retirement village from church,” he says.

“It reminded me to pray for and expect opportunities every day that are ‘divine appointments’ for me to be able to share Jesus.”

LT says it was ‘Jesus and his constant gong to new people’ that focussed him on church planting in the first place.

“This has been bashed into me again as I’ve been preaching through Acts,” he explains.

“Each week I see the unstoppable message of Jesus breaking through barriers to reach ‘new’ people.”

This conviction was part of the culture at Christ Church, Gladesville where LT served as a pastor for a number of years.

For the past three years it has powered his plans to reach out to the escalating population of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

LT leads Lakeshore Community Church of Christ in North Buderim, a region home to Australians from a very broad range of ages and socio-economic status.

“By God’s grace we’re making progress,” LT says.

“We’ve planted a night church and now we’re looking to start a second morning congregation in the next year or so.”

New ground, old challenges

Even though LT has an established base to work from, his expansion plans face all the struggles of a new church plant.

“The biggest challenge for the coming twelve months will be finding people for a ‘launch group’ who are engaged in the lives of people.”

LT says it’s more than just finding people with time to spare.

“They have to be sharing Jesus and wanting to invite them into a network of relationships where they see a community of Jesus at work,” he explains.

But if he had one piece of advice to pass on to budding church planters, it would be personal rather than program related.

“Most importantly stick close to Jesus and be lead by him,” he says.

“Have a daily time in the Bible and look to be transformed to be more like Jesus. Pray for those God has you leading and pray for people in your life who don’t know Jesus.”

Even his practical tips focus on personal growth.

“As well as that read the ‘Trellis and the Vine’ for yourself and with others so you keep ‘the main thing’ the main thing.”

LT Hopper is a supporter of The Geneva Push and involved in developing its mentoring program for approved church planters.

You can click here to learn more about church planter assessment, and here for information on the next opportunity to be assessed at The Geneva Push’s National Conference.