One of the highlights every year for me at Spiritual Leadership Conference is the pre-conference Church Planter’s Luncheon on Monday afternoon.

All church planters and their wives are invited for a complimentary meal, great fellowship with other church planters (and pastors who are heavily involved in church planting), a lesson from a veteran church planter, and a Q&A to close.

This year we had about sixty church planters present. As they went around the room introducing themselves, it was a thrill to me to see so many young men from across America (and foreign fields as well) planting fresh works for God.

Another blessing to me was when I asked those who were West Coast Baptist College graduates to stand, and it seemed that one-third to half the room stood. Praise God!

Pastor Mark Irmler brought the lesson. I appreciate Pastor Irmler for many reasons, including the fact that he has been instrumental in the start up of well over a dozen church plants. But my respect for him grew even more when less than two years ago, as a pastor in his fifties, he left an established congregation to once again plant a new church here in Southern California. When you’re mid-age and leave a settled position to launch out into a new church plant, you have church planting in your blood!

Pastor Irmler’s lesson was a simple outline from Ephesians 3:20–21, throughout which he shared testimony of many recent blessings of God in the church which they are currently seeing established.

I loved this outline and asked him for permission to share it with you:

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.—Ephesians 3:20–21

  1. The church planter’s greatest provision: “Now unto him that is able…”
  2. The church planter’s precious promise: “…to do exceeding abundantly above…”
  3. The church planter’s need of prayer: “…all that we ask or think…”
  4. The church planter’s source of power: “…according to the power that worketh in us…”
  5. The church planter’s highest priority: “…Unto him be glory in the church…”

You can hear a recording of the entire lesson as well as the Q&A afterward (which I hosted with both Pastor Irmler and Pastor Dave Teis) at


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