NEED A CHURCH PLANTER?

Praise the Lord that many pastors have a burden and a heart’s desire to reproduce their church by planting new churches. So, you have money, the will, resources, all you need now is a man to plant the church. However, as the question is so often asked, where do we get the man to pastor the new work?
 
I Pray to the Lord of the harvest
 
Luke 10:2

Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

A pastor was praying for God to provide a church planter for a new work, and one day, a friend came and told him that God had moved him on from his ministry. The friend asked the pastor to pray for him. The pastor then asked him to pray about being the church planter for a church he was burdened to start. Today that friend is now pastoring this new work. God answered prayer!
 
II Use your connections
 
Let it be known that your church is burdened to plant a church in your area and that you are actively seeking a man to pastor this work. Call your pastor friends, colleges, or other connections. If possible, go to a college and share your burden. Many times, there is a young man out there that has a burden for an area but feels it is impossible for him to accomplish what God has for him. By you coming, he could see that there is someone who cares and is willing to come alongside of him.
 
III Intern staff
 
Bring on a staff member with the goal of him starting a church in the future. When you do this, your people will get to know him and his family and will be excited about helping with the new church plant.
Summer internships are also great ways to find a church planter and to create a bond between him and you. Again, the young man will connect with your church.
 
IV Train them up
 
What do we expect missionaries to do on the foreign field? Do we ask them to plant a church, then hope that someone will come along to plant the next one?   We need pastors with a burden to train up some young men through their churches with a heart for church planting. Training could be done through a bible college, Bible institute in your church, or even a mentorship between him and the pastor.   This used to be very common in our circles, but we have gotten away from it. I know this takes time, but if churches across the country would start doing this, we could see God produce a great harvest down the road.
 
We must remember that at the end of the day, it is all in God’s hand and in His timing when a church reproduces itself. Some couples, after they get married, have a hard time having a child. Again, it is in God’s hand whether they have a baby or when. However, the couple will do whatever it takes to have a baby the entire time they are praying for a child. We need churches who will pray and do whatever it takes to reproduce their church while they wait upon the Lord.

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ARE WE BURNING CHURCH PLANTING DOLLARS?

I Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
 
Let me start by saying, that I understand, not all church planters are going to make it to the field, and not all church planters will stay on the field. I also understand that not all church plants are going to survive.
 
With that said, I’m concerned with the amount of God’s money given to church planting, but then seeing these churches die and along with it a lot of God’s money. The cost of a church plant over two years can be well over $200,000.00. Is there anything that we can do about this?   We know that not all mothers who are expecting a child will deliver a healthy baby. Because of this fact, Christian parents will pray and have their church pray during pregnancy. The parents will go to doctor visits, follow nutrition guidelines, and focus on the mother’s health. When it is time to deliver, they will go to the hospital just in case something goes wrong. The family will prepare a nursery and have baby showers to help the parents have everything they need to give this child a great start.
 
Approximately 40% of new church plants fail in the first 2-3 years. If just 30% of new churches die, and the cost is $200,000.00 per plant, that is a lot of God’s resources wasted.
 
What can we do to help birth strong, healthy churches? What can we do to be better stewards of the church planting dollars that God has entrusted to us?
 
I Have Strong Reproducing Churches
 
We must get away from just the sending church mentality. When I started in the ministry, a young man would feel called to plant a church, and his pastor would have the men lay hands on him and “send” him out. We need to have a reproducing church mentality. We believe that everything reproduces after its kind. Also, nothing has ever reproduced without the active involvement of the parent. It is the responsibility of churches to start churches. Therefore, pastors need to see that it is their biblical responsibility to be the leader. The pastor must lead in every church plant in which his church is planting.
 
II We Must Vet the Church Planters We Support
 

We get so excited that a man is willing to go to a city that sometimes we just throw money at them. Even though a man has surrendered to plant a church, the bible clearly states he should not be a novice. We must make sure that he and his family are ready for this. We vet the church planters by examining:

  • Their doctrine
  • Bible version stance
  • Music standards
  • Accessing their character and fruitfulness

We must also question:

  • Who is their reproducing church?
  • Is the reproducing church going to be involved?
  • Does his reproducing pastor feel that the church planter and his family are ready?
  • What is their philosophy of church planting?
  • Are they going out as a lone wolf?
 
A church planter may line up doctrinally with us, but is their reproducing church going to do what it takes to plant a strong, healthy church? Are they, as the church planter, going to do what it takes to ensure a healthy birth? Does the church planter have a submissive spirit to their reproducing pastor?
 
III If Possible, Get Involved
 

If you consider the reproducing church a sister church, then that makes you an aunt. If your niece or nephew were having a baby, would you not help them out? If this church plant is in your area, commit to helping.

  • Be an encouragement to the church planter.
  • Help with any evangelistic outreach for the plant.
  • Give money for startup costs.
  • Participate in kick-off services
 
The more churches helping and encouraging the church plant and planter, the healthier they will be when they start.
 
IV Support Needs to Continue After the Church is Planted
 

When your child has a baby, do you come and celebrate, drop off a gift and then never see them again? No, you stay actively involved as much as you can. This kind of commitment is essential for the reproducing church, but also for the area churches who have helped with the start. Make it a purpose to:

  • Call and encourage the church planter and his family.
  • Take the planter’s family out for dinner.
  • Offer to come and help with evangelism.
  • Offer to help send workers for special music, nursery, ushers…
  • Offer to go and preach for them, for free, as a special guest speaker or missions conferences.
 
Have the heart of a reproducing church. Be creative in how you can help them have a strong, healthy church.
 
Don’t forget, Baptist Church Planting Ministry is willing to help, at no cost, in any way we can. By helping start vibrant churches, BCPM has seen over 92% of new churches birthed, survive past the three-year mark.
 
If you have questions or would like more information please contact Rick Rust, 419-340-6644

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ONLINE PRINTING SERVICES

BCPM is often asked about where churches can get their materials printed. The list below is an excellent option if you are able to create your own material or you use a template site and need your finished product printed.

If you need materials designed for you, such as banners, tracts and so forth, they are often cheaper to get printed by the person developing the designs because the developer gets a better rate. Some of the designing services we recommend on BCPM Source are cheaper than if you just having the developer send you a file and you get them printed from our list below. You will need to check this out before you get them printed. The other advantage of using your developer is that once everything is approved, you are done with everything and you just wait for the products to arrive.

Below are some of the online print services BCPM recommends. You might want to check a few of them out. Depending on where you live, it might be cheaper for shipping from one online service over the another.

 

GENERAL PRINTING- Tracts, Banners, Doorhanger, Outreach Cards…

GotPrint.com – www.gotprint.com – This is the site that is the most used by the pastors we have spoken too. It is great for doorhangers, tracts, flyers, outreach cards and more.

PrintingCenterUSA – www.printingcenterusa.com

UPrinting – www.uprinting.com – Good for a variety of projects including booklets

Vistaprint – www.vistaprint.com

 

ENVELOPES

Envelopes.com – www.envelopes.com

EconoEnvelope – www.econoenvelope.com

Letter Jacket – www.letterjacketenvelopes.com

 

BANNERS

Just4Banners – www.just4banners.com

Signs.com – www.signs.com

GotPrint – www.gotprint.com


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FROM FIRST TIME TO SECOND TIME GUESTS – PART 1

It is important that we create positive first impressions.

Matthew 5:16, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 

I Peter 2:9, But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

To “shew forth” is obviously a visible thing and has to do with the impression we leave on others. It is our responsibility to let the world see Christ. Our works ought to lead others to glorify Christ. Our light that we shine forth ought to impress people to have a heart to glorify God.

We must understand that many of the first-time guests we receive are lost, and how we treat them could make a difference in whether they ever get saved.

Matthew 10:16, Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves

We need God’s wisdom as we try to reach a lost world for Christ. 

 

Pre-Service Responsibilities

The second a person pulls onto our church property this process begins. What they see, what they experience starts to impress upon them. Is it easy to pull in? What do things look like? How are they treated?

As we all know, it is hard to shake the first impression. That is why it is essential to maintain things like the lawn, flowers beds, church sign and exterior of your building.

Do you allow a bad spirit, lack of planning to hinder your potential for church growth?

Absolutely everything speaks to a first-time guest.

Most people decide to either come back or not within the first ten minutes of their visit. Even before your first hymn or the beginning of your message.

First impressions take place in four areas.

1.   Do people feel welcomed?

 

Great people with a “Glad you are here.” People enjoy feeling welcome when they arrive.

Greeting involves such ministries as Parking Lot Greeters, Door Greeters, and Ushers.

Use of signs and banners can be used to help people feel received.

Sunday School teachers and nursery workers being on time and in place when your guests arrive.

 
2.   Do people know where they are going?

 

When someone pulls onto your property, is it clear where they are to go? If you are unable to have Parking Lot Greeters, then proper signage will work.

When they come inside, do you have people in place to show people to where they need to go? Again, wall signs are excellent. Many times people don’t want to ask a stranger where something is especially the ladies room.

Restrooms and children’s ministry areas need to be clearly marked.

 

3.   Do people feel you care?

 

Do you look at a guest as a number or a potential giver? Maybe they can start a new ministry?

We need to value them as a soul that will spend somewhere in eternity.

Do any gifts, we give, out demonstrate that we value our guests?

Make sure restrooms, and children’ ministry areas are clean. Be friendly.

 

4.   Do people comfortably find a seat?

 

Guest are not comfortable with asking strangers if they can come into the pew.

This is where it is important to have good ushers. Have your ushers ask members to move to the center.

Make sure you leave good seats for guest, not making them sit in the front.


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FROM FIRST TIME TO SECOND TIME GUESTS – PART 2

Now it is time to prepare for the:

Church Service Times
 
1.   Planning

I understand we need to leave room for the Holy Spirit to move, but planning is crucial.

Come early and make sure heating and air conditioning are working. Check to see if all needed lights are on. All computer and sound equipment is set up. Do not have people setting up mic cords as the service starts.

Do “all things decently and in order”.
 
 
2.   Worship   

True worship takes place in the power of God and His Spirit. Therefore, worship is to be powerful.

Worship requires that we have adequately prayed for the service, that the pastor is walking in the Spirit. Members have prayed and are right with God.

Begin the service expecting God to do great things. 

Come with a spirit to participate. If a guest is seeing you not participating in the service, why should they?

Do we impress our guests that we are entering into the very presence of God?

Hebrews 13:15 – By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name

Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Philippians 2:9-11, Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father
 
3.   Information Gathering

You will never get everyone to fill out a connection card, but I believe a proper system will help you to maximizes the number who will fill out a guest card.

You can use a generic card that goes into the pew but a custom card each week works best.

Give out the card and a bulletin to EACH person as they enter the service.

Have everyone fill out a card.

During the Guest Welcome.

Guests don’t like to be centered out. Ask during your welcome for everyone to fill out a card.

Guest are more comfortable, filling out the card when they observe everyone doing it.

This will involve teaching your members, in advance, the importance of filling out these cards. Ask members to fill out the name and email and ask guests to fill out whatever they are comfortable doing.

Teach the church family the importance of guests seeing them fill out the connection card. When guests notice the members doing it, it will encourage them to do it also.

During the Preaching

During your preaching or at the conclusion, you can draw people back to the connection card. You can ask them to make a spiritual commitment or ask them to commit to memorizing the scripture verse for the week.

During the Offering

Have everyone place the connection card in the offering.

Give people a reason to use the card. 

Have a place for people to sign up for events. Give them an opportunity to make a spiritual decision for Christ. 


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FROM FIRST TIME TO SECOND TIME GUESTS – PART 3

The last phase to prepare for is the:

Post- Service Responsibilities
 
1.   Gift

 

Offer every guest who puts a communication card to receive a gift available in the lobby.

Have these gifts sitting out for guests to take.

If your people are hovering, it will make them feel uncomfortable.

The pastor may, however, want to walk over and talk to the family as they take their gift.

If husband, wife, and kids take one that’s alright. This is a small investment in the lives of a family.

 

2.   Information

       

At a Guest Table, in the lobby, have Guest information books available along with other resources on baptism, membership, and church beliefs
.

3.   Follow-Up

It is imperative to follow-up on these guests right away.

Email

Today the home is a very private place and people often don’t fill out cards because they don’t want a visitor from the church coming to their door. Also, we live in a tech-savvy world.
 

Send an email within the first 48 hours thanking them for coming and asking them to return.

Personal Card

Within 96 hours send a personal card. Do not send a form letter in a number 10 envelope. These kinds of letters are discarded most of the time.

Use an Announcement size envelope like the ones used for wedding announcements. A Number A2 (4 3/8” X 5 3/4”)

Handwrite the card and envelope. If you have terrible penmanship, have someone fill it out for you and sign your name.

Use a 5.5”X8.5” paper and fold it in half. Again, handwrite the note.

Also, place a small gift in the envelope as a thank you for visiting. Gifts could include a $5.00 coffee gift card. We use this because a husband and wife can get a coffee and a donut for that amount. Again, this is a small but important investment into a new family.

Visit in the home

Pastor’s need to decide how quickly to visit guests in their home based on the culture of the area you serve. In some regions, showing up at someone’s house a few days after coming to church, would cause the guest never to return.

If you get to talk to the guest after the service, try asking them to meet for coffee or invite them to visit you in your office for coffee. You should only do this if you make a connection with the guest while talking to him.

One Month Follow-Up

One month after a guest visits, send them a letter from you again thanking them for coming and letting them know how they can get involved. Upcoming activities, special services, Adult Bible Fellowships geared to their age and fellowships are good ways to get people plugged in.

Data Entry

It is important to have a system in place to track every guest.

When a card is turned in, the information must be recorded for tracking.

If the guest never returns you will have their information to invite them to special services down the road.


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HAVING SECOND TIME GUESTS BECOME REGULAR ATTENDERS

There are two key areas to focus on once a guest returns a second time.

 

1. Church Service Times

Again, it is very important to use your connection cards. First of all, this will tell you who are your returning guests. Also, this gives them an opportunity to get connected into the church.

 

2. Follow-Up

Just as with first time guests, it is essential immediately to follow up with returning guests. Obviously, any opportune time in this process to present the gospel, should be taken.
 
Email

 

Send an email within the first 48 hours thanking them for coming and asking them to come back.

This email should try to get the returning guests involved with the church. Let them know about such things as your Adult Bible Fellowships, Children’s Ministries, upcoming activities, or a new sermon series that is coming up.

 
Gift at The Door

 

By Thursday, guests should receive another personal letter from the church. Another option is to leave a gift at the door in a bag with your church info on it or with a card from the church member delivering it attached.

 

Personal Visit or Meeting

 

A visit by the pastor or leader from an appropriate Adult Bible Fellowship teacher is an excellent way to follow-up on second-time guests. Another option would be to send the ones who first invited the guest, if they are qualified to make such a visit.

The priority of this meeting should be to make sure everyone understands or possibly has the opportunity to put their faith and trust in Christ.

This is an opportunity to enroll them into an Adult Bible Fellowship.

Sometimes it is impossible, or a person does not want an in-home visit. Sometimes the culture of the area will help you with this decision. A visit at a local coffee shop or in the pastor’s office is a good alternative.
 
Getting Them Engaged

 

Obviously, a returning guest is showing a desire to get more involved. They are looking for godly influences and godly relationships.

It is crucial in your follow-up to try your best to engage them in the church by offering opportunities for them.

 

Sunday School, Junior Church, and Adult Bible Fellowships
 

If possible, try to connect the guest with the appropriate aged Adult Class.

Follow your Adult Class Policies for incorporating them into the class.
 
Church Events
 
Family Nights, class activities, banquets…
 
Service Opportunities
 

Find opportunities for them to be able to get involved. An example would be that Bob and Sally invite unsaved friends to their Sunday School Class. The next week they could ask their guests to come early and help them set up the class.

I know this is a difficult area, but we need to think of ways that non-members and possibly non-believers can feel a connection to the church without giving them leadership roles.


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HELPING REGULAR ATTENDERS BECOME MEMBERS

This is the stage where we encourage our regular attenders to “commit”. 

A member is one who accepted Christ as their Saviour, has been baptized and is now growing in grace. They obviously have become part of the church family.

A regular attender, when speaking about the church will say, “This is the church I am going to.” A member will say, “This is my church.”

We must have systems in place to help move people from just regularly attending to becoming members.

 

1. Church Service Times

 

Service Opportunities

 

Again, getting people involved will help them feel connected to the church and also feel like they are part of the church family.

 

Church Teaching

 

In your Adult Bible Fellowships and from the church pulpit make sure you have opportunities to teach on salvation, baptism, and membership.

Teach those that come to your church the blessings of being a part of a spiritual family.

Occasionally have someone share a testimony of their salvation and church membership experience. They can express praise and thanks to God for what He has done in their lives.

 

New Members Classes

 

If you are getting lots of return guests, offer a New Members Class. Many times, this is provided each month and runs for four weeks. Others go 6-8 weeks, and people can jump in anytime they like and go once through the cycle. Others offer the class once per quarter.

The pastor could teach this class during the Adult Bible Fellowship time. He would take select individuals out of their regular classes just for this short period.

 

2. Follow-Up

Email

 

Send an email to let regular attendees know about Adult Bible Fellowships or New Member Classes.

 

Letter

 

A personal letter can be used to inform people of classes that are available.

 

Personal Visit or Meeting

 

A visit by the pastor or leader from an appropriate Adult Bible Fellowship teacher is an excellent way to follow-up on regular attenders. Another option would be to send the ones who first invited the guest if they are qualified to make such a visit.

The priority of this meeting should be to make sure everyone understands or possibly has the opportunity to put their faith and trust in Christ.

This is an opportunity for a face to face time, to explain the Adult Classes, Children’s Ministries or new member classes and of course to present the gospel.

Sometimes it is impossible, or a person does not want an in-home visit. A visit to a local coffee shop or in the pastor’s office is a g

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HOW TO KEEP YOUR WEBSITE UP TO DATE

Everyone, when they start their website always has the vision of keeping it up to date. But once it is up and running it gets out of date before they know it. Discouragement then sets in because after all that, work we are so far behind again.

 

Below are some simple steps to help keep your website up to date.

 

I   Spend time getting your site back up to date
 
There is nothing we can do about the past now, so get started again on the future. Clean up the site and make sure everything that you need on the site is there.
 
II  Know what is next
 
Do not move on without checking your calendar for what is next. Look for upcoming sermon series, special events, class events, holidays or other important church information. Schedule in your task manager or calendar when you need to remove any of the new items you added to your site. If you entered an event, set a reminder to remove it the day after the event. 
 
III Schedule in your task manager or calendar program when to do your next update – set up reminders.
 

Schedule when the next events or programs need to be entered onto your website. Do you want them entered a month or two weeks before the event? Once you know this, schedule the date to enter the event. Also, schedule the date for when text or graphics needs to be prepared.  If you want an event done two weeks before it starts, you need to give your graphics guy at least a week to prepare. Therefore, set a reminder for 1-2 weeks before you want to enter the event for the graphics.

 

Therefore, the following example needs to be set up as a reminder for each event.

January 26 – Send info to graphic designer, prepare text

February 9 – Enter event on website

February 23 – Date of event

February 24 – Remove event
 
This sounds like a lot, but if you do it each time that you enter an event, then it only takes about 2 minutes to plan.
 

Make sure you are following these steps for each item on your church calendar. Another great tip is to have all your graphics prepared six months at a time this way you only need to work on them twice a year.


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