We are in discussion about helping some friends start their church, and so I am writing this post as a way of getting my thoughts together as a set of basic instructions. In my other posts, I covered a lot of perspectives and pitfalls which I would be of interest to those who are in the middle of it, but in this post, I am going to cover things you would want to know from the “ground up.” This is different from a church plant that you start with a group from another church. This is a church that you and a few friends start together.
You must have a leader. There must be a single person who is in charge of the church plant and calls the shots for it. Everyone else who is thinking about getting involved needs to agree to respect, support and listen to this person regarding the plant. Anyone not willing to do this, can’t be a part of the plant. The leader must be considered a spiritual leader by everyone else on the team. The best way to set this in place is by having someone from the outside explain it.
The Leader must work hard. The leader must be willing to take ownership of the plant. It’s like being a small business owner. Church planting is hard work. You can’t do it unless you are really willing to put effort into it to make it go. Just like in a small business the “entrepreneur” has to be a motivated person willing to work. You can’t “outsource” it to someone else. Your main job as a leader has nothing to do with what you tell others to do, it has everything to do with what you are doing yourself.
Warmth is essential. You need to give off warmth as a group. You need to make people feel genuinely loved and connected in order to come back. The second most important person in your group is the “connector.” This is the person who everyone loves and who loves everyone. This role is often played by a woman who hosts the meeting, but it can be anyone, and to some extent you hope it is everyone. But you genuinely must all agree to be warm to those who come, to reach out and follow up. You need a gathering that you bring everyone to that they want to keep coming back to. It almost doesn’t matter what you do, just that they want to keep coming back to it.
Worship is important. Some people come mostly for the worship. The better your worship is, the quicker you can grow. Live worship is much better. You need someone who can make it happen. People say the first person who gets paid should be the pastor, but I think these days, the first payment should be for the worship team if needed. People really expect high quality music.
Evangelism and Discipleship. This is your bread and butter. You need unbelievers and nominal believers to come to your group. That means you must have some strategy for connecting with them. There are lots of good ones, but you need one. You have to all have an outward focus and a plan on bringing together the people you are reaching out to in a safe home environment. .
Feed only the hungry. Everyone is going to move at their own pace. Some people will warm the couch in your group for a long time and not “get it” while others will absolutely suck down anything you say. Don’t’ get too “in your face” with the people who want to go slow, just spend your time on those who are hungry. Make sure they are well fed. Help them connect with other people.Building your church is about building these people. Sometimes someone who is going slow will catch fire, and when they do, spend time on them, but the key for slow moving people is to give them space.
Run off the recycles. If you have someone who comes to your group upset about another church or with all kinds of ideas about how you should be doing church, confront them politely and they will leave.