Church-planter, Eric Davis, a friend from my seminary days, has offered a very important post on Church-Planting and Idolatry. I would suggest that the relevance of Eric's thoughts extend beyond church planters to younger pastors, specifically, but even more generally to all the Christians who pray for them, are shepherded by them, and who occasionally form committees to hire them.
A desire for ministry, and especially church-planting, should never be thought of as a sanitized, neutral desire. On the contrary, there are not many more dangerous means of laboring for self-approval than ministry.Please read Eric's entire post.
... It’s ok if your resume says: “____ has never: spoken at a conference, planted more than one church, written anything, or preached anywhere outside of Ulysses, Kansas. He does 2 services per week with 42 people in a dilapidated modular building.”
Take a deep breath and remember that your well-being is in the finished work of Christ and not filled pews and satellite campuses. Recall that Jeremiah was not invited to a conference, but thrown in a mud pit. This is not to glory in hard ministry or little fruit, but to calibrate our motives. Hunker down and give yourself fully to the word and prayer until your promotion to glory where you will be rewarded by the Chief Shepherd. Neither repudiate, nor be enamored by, apparent success. Praise God that Christ is preached; take heed to your own faithfulness, and thank the Master that you get to shepherd his flock among you.
Much of what is happening in contemporary evangelical church-planting is fleshly. Young men, who, perhaps, mean well, yet are looking to leap over the cross and grab that crown.
I agree - and have previously-posted regarding the same - that the "fleshiness" in many contemporary evangelical circles is distressing and disconcerting. I for one am growing less and less enamored with my own generation, which may be the point (of God's sanctifying work in my own heart).
Interestingly, Paul uses ἐπιθυμέω (epithumeo) in describing the aspirations of the elder / pastor in 1 Timothy 3:1. It is interesting because that word is typically rendered as "lust" in your English Bible. In fact, Paul will use the nominal form in 2 Timothy 2:22 and exhort Timothy to "flee from youthful lusts [= ἐπιθυμίας, epithumias]." Our fight as younger pastors is keep sin, Satan, or the world-system from turning our good desire into one from which we are accountable to flee.
So, if you are not a pastor, this is how you should pray, encourage, and even hire (when that comes up) the younger pastors in your life. And it may be as simple as, "Lord, please make and keep his epithumia the good kind."