Are you thinking about planting a church? As someone who has been a leader in three church plants, I want to make it a lot easier for you, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work, and I want it to work for you. Planting a church is one of the most exciting adventures you can embark on, but it’s also challenging and risky. Having the right tools can significantly accelerate you. That’s why I’m going to be doing a series of articles just to help people like you. I want you to succeed.
- Cast a Vision. People follow people with vision. When you cast a vision, it inspires people to make the kinds of changes and sacrifices that are necessary to start something Don’t be apologetic about what you are doing. Believe what God has called you to do. and that he has called you to do it. When you project confidence and vision, people will follow.
- Build a team. You need to build a really strong base of support before you get going. Churches are not planted one individual, they are planted by teams. This means friends, finances, and followers. Each of these supporting groups is essential to your launch. Friends cheer you on, pray for you, and give you guidance. Financial backers make your endeavor possible. You’re going to need tens of thousands of dollars at bare minimum to launch a church. When you cast vision, people will give into it. Followers are those who hear your vision and want to come be a part of it. Your fist few followers are what will help you attract others and gain momentum. Don’t forget the Crazy Dancing Guy! Even just one strong wingman can make a world of difference. When people start to come around you it builds momentum and church plants are all about momentum. Do not start until you have these three groups in your corner.
- Go Through a Door. Going to a city where you have absolutely no connections is the hardest way to plant a church. The most successful church plants are almost always when someone goes to a place where they have friends who believe in them, and will invite their friends to come and join the exciting thing God is doing. (Luke 10:6) If you are trying to start absolutely cold, you’ll have to pray for completely fresh contacts and convince them to follow you. It’s a hard sell. To this point, embrace the fact that your church is going to start with believers, many of whom are from other churches. There is nothing wrong with that. Although evangelism is the goal, it starts with believers. Just as the New Testament church was built primarily on Jewish synagogue goers who were primed for the message, every church plant begins with believers at its core.
- The Holy Spirit. People are hungry for a touch from the Holy Spirit. If you build in a way to welcome Him, people will be drawn to come and join you. This does not mean you should create an “anything goes” environment, but the presence of Jesus is the most exciting part of church. Place that encounter a the core and people will want to come. I discuss what this looks like in my book The Encounter Based Church
- Embrace Marketing. On the other end of the spectrum — a big part of a planting a church could be described as a marketing campaign — defining your audience, your message, your appeal, etc.. Many Christians think of marketing as a dirty word, but the Paul reminds us that the lost cannot call upon someone they have not heard of (Rom 10:14) and that he was willing to adapt his presentation to his audience (1 Cor 9:19). Do not be afraid of using marketing techniques to attract a following.
These are 5 super high-level principles that if you do right, can mean the difference between success and failure, but every situation is a little bit different. If you are thinking about planting a church and are looking for input, I’d love to connect. You can reach me through the Contact Us page. Also, I encourage you to check out The Encounter Based Church where I explain each of the main systems of the church and how they interrelate to lead to growth. If you reach out to me on the Contact page, I would be glad to send you a free copy.