10 PRACTICAL STEPS TO PLANTING A CHURCH

Following the Lord to launch out and start a church is exciting. The following steps are a practical guide to help the plant to be healthy and enduring.    

 
1. The need to answer and guard the call.

The church planter should be absolutely certain that this is the leading of the Lord and he should guard this calling. The church plant shouldn’t be viewed as a “trial bases” or a “stepping stone to real ministry.” The baby church is a living organism and walking away will ensure its death. This calling will be what anchors and drives him during the most adverse circumstances as his endurance will be tested.

 
2. The need for training under a reproducing church and pastor.

The Bible is very explicit about not putting a novice into the ministry. Spending time working under, and being mentored by, a reproducing pastor is invaluable. The church planter should be willing to submit and allow a seasoned pastor to poor knowledge and experience into him. This mentorship could take several years but they are needed for maturity and preparedness. Sending a novice is the second reason why church plants die prematurely.

 
3. The need for the right area.

Although there are many needy areas, a need doesn’t constitute a call. Paul was persuaded of the Holy Spirit twice in Acts 16:5-8 to stay away from areas where he thought needed the gospel most. The lord needs to direct in choosing the place and, usually, the reproducing pastor will know of places that the Lord has put on his heart.

 

4. The need for financial support.

Times have changed and most communities are now full of people with little or no church background. In addition, most families now have multiple financial, marital, and social issues. The church planter needs to devote his full time to reach an area effectively. He should go into the church plant with full support but have a reduction of 20% each year over a five-year term. This will give him time to establish the work but still keep him focused as the reduction will happen each year.  

 

5. The need for acclimation.

The church planter should have time to move to the new area, get his family settled, and understand the culture and people he is impacting. He should work with, and become friends with, other pastors in the area who can give him insight and help. Many church planters give up because they didn’t take time to get acclimated.  

 

6. The need for the right meeting place.

Hotels conference rooms, schools, and activity centers are all good meeting places. Location is key and it should be safe, well lit, and easily accessible. The building should have good light, sound, and smell. People will go up but not down in social status areas so look for the best place in a good neighborhood even if it costs more.   

 

7. The need for mass evangelizing.

Every family should receive gospel literature and an invitation to the new church. The best way to do this is through door-to-door. John and Roman booklets are preferred as people will be less likely to throw them away and those two books are a great help to a new or baby Christian.

        

8. The need for advertising and promotion.

Every means ought to be used to get the gospel out and advertise the new church effectively. Social media and mailers work great but the best is still temporary signs. Putting dozens of signs on every street corner will saturate the area and be a constant reminder of the new church.

 

9. The need for special opening meetings.

The number one need from church planters is for credibility. When a church planter begins to engage a community he is often treated with suspect and resistance. It usually takes years to build the credibility of the pastor and new church into the community. Special “Get Acquainted Meetings” can help introduce the new pastor and church to the community and give much-needed credibility. Other pastors can host a night and bring their members to help serve with nursery, ushering, refreshments, and music. The guest pastors can give testimony and say positive credible comments about the new pastor and church.        

 

10. The need for further focus after the start.

Though the first services are over, now begins a lifelong journey of growth with the new baby church. The church planter needs to realize that the early years of a church plant are crucial for the longevity of the new work. His focus should be on evangelizing, mobilizing, and advertising.


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PLANTING WITH PERSONAL AND FAMILY PRIORITIES

Planting a church will be very difficult without having the proper priorities in place. The stresses, attacks, and emotional highs and lows can cause a church planter and his family to steer off course from a healthy God-honoring relationship. Establishing priorities from the beginning is a must.  
 
I. Your first priority in life should be to Glorify the Lord personally
  • Spend your life knowing God (Phil. 3:10)
  • Spend much time each day in personal prayer and in His word (Ps. 55:17)
  • Your strongest desire ought to be an intimate relationship with Him (Ps. 42:1)

 

II. Our second priority should be to glorify the Lord with your wife and family
 
  • Your wife and family ought to be a joy to serve with
  • The Lord makes a successful family a prerequisite to a successful ministry. (1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9)
  • Family and ministry can be successfully blended and balanced
    • By recognizing the importance of doing so
    • By refusing to see either one as a hindrance to the other
    • By being determined to make whatever sacrifices or adjustments necessary
    • By seeking to glorify God in your family and ministry
    • Avoid the mistakes of family in ministry
    • Giving the impression that others are more important than your family
    • Having time for others but not for family. Do a weekly assessment
    • Treating others better than you treat your family
    • Expecting too much from your family to protect your “image”
    • Being inconsistent, one thing at church and another at home
    • Not exposing family problems in fear that you will jeopardize your “image” before the people. Let them know you are real.
    • Carrying your ministry burdens home with you.
    • Living a life that is too “rushed” – always in a hurry.
    • Building your ministry at the expense of your family. You will regret this!
  • The Goals for the Family in Ministry
    • Spend time with each family member, know them personally.
    • Make your family feel valued and cherished.
    • Instill Godly, Biblical values in their lives.
    • Live by convictions and share why they are Bible-based.
    • Be consistent and genuine, model your faith.
    • Seek the wisdom of God as a family when making decisions.
    • Pray together about needs, rejoice together in answered
    • Serve together with everyone involved. Show it to be exciting.
    • Show appreciation and thankfulness for all things.
    • Be open and honest, don’t pretend to be perfect.
    • Allow room for failure. Admit when wrong and ask for forgiveness.
    • Be forgiving, this is Christ-like.

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5 NEEDS FOR THE RIGHT MEETING PLACE

The right building to meet in can be challenging. It has proven to be one of the most determining factors for guests as they decide to visit and/or return.  

I. The Need for Research
  • Know where people shop. People will go to church where they shop    not where they work
  • Know where the growth is with new homes and/or apartments
  • Know where the crime areas are, or places people usually avoid
  • People will go up in social status areas but will not travel to a lower one. 

 

II. The need for Visibility
  • Location is crucial. Money will be spent on a highly visible place or it will be spent on advertising trying to direct people to a hidden one
  • Try to locate on a high trafficked road
  • Locate near a landmark that people can identify with such as a post office, fire station, Walmart, etc…

        

III. The Need for Aesthetics
  • Good “curb appeal” is critical as it is the first impression
  • It should be easily accessible with parking and walking distance. People are turned off when they have to walk too far or make too many turns to get to the meeting room.
  • It should be safe and well-lit at night
  • Inside should be clean, fresh smelling, and well lit.
  • A carpeted room is best as it absorbs sound.
  • Clean bathrooms are a must
  • Think sight, sound, and smell

 

IV. The Need for a Temporary Place
  • For at least the first two years it’s best to have a temporary location such as a hotel, school, activity center, …etc. The cost is affordable and there is no overhead. This frees up time and money that can be given to evangelism and discipleship.
  • A permanent location too early can be a financial burden with high rent and extra cleaning and maintenance costs. Having the building 24/7 isn’t necessary for several years.

 

V. The Need for Patience
  • Try to stay in the same place for at least the first two years as people will visit from the initial evangelism. Some people will wait at least a year before visiting as they wait to make sure the church will be permanent
  • Staying in one place gives stability to the church and credibility to the community
  • Stay as long as new guests are coming. There is no need to move if there is fruit from outreach
  • Too many church planters have rushed into a land or building project prematurely only to regret it
  • Wait on the Lord and He will bring the right permanent place!

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THE CHURCH PLANTER’S WIFE – ASSISTANT OR ASSISTING?

Cultivating a healthy working relationship with your wife during a church plant
 

One of the greatest blessings of church planting is for a church planter to be able to serve together with his wife. Although this should be very rewarding, because of the demands of church planting, this relationship can be filled with frustration and lead to an overall strain on the marriage. The mistake that most church planters make is to expect their wife to take on the role of the “Assistant Pastor” instead of “assisting” her husband, the pastor. There are several points to realize that will help avoid costly, and sometimes, disastrous mistakes.

 

1. Realize the Proper View of the Calling
  • The gift of the “pastor” and “evangelist” is a gift to a called man
  • The wife’s role is not a calling but is a commitment to be a helpmeet
    • There are no requirements found in the Bible for the pastor’s wife
    • Your wife should not be pressured into a non-biblical role

 

II. Realize the Value of Your Wife
  • She is your helpmeet and completer (Gen. 2:18) = “To surround, to protect, aid, to gird, to defend”
  • She has a natural desire to see you and the ministry succeed
  • She will stick with you when no one else will
  • She is designed to nurse you when you are injured and hurt

 

III. Realize She is to Assist but not be the Assistant
Church planters often feel pressure to have several ministries prematurely without the proper leadership and, because she wants                    to help her husband, the wife gets “pulled in” to taking over those ministries
  • This will lead to undue stress, fatigue, and burn out
  • This will lead to resentment and disdain for the ministry
  • This will ultimately lead to severe marital problems
  • Your wife should have the freedom to find her spiritual gifts
  • She should have the time to find where the Lord would have her serve
  • She will serve with joy because she is using her gifts
  • She will have a long-term commitment to the ministry

 

IV. Realize the Need to Cultivate the Marital Relationship
  • Spend time listening and giving full attention to your wife. (1 Pt. 3:7)    Don’t rush your wife. Listen and wait for her to end a conversation
  • Pray together
  • Communicate clearly. Look and listen to each other and be understood     
  • Date and get away often
  • Retire at night together. Unwind and relax together.
  • Don’t share emotional problems from the ministry with your wife. Emotional issues are normally short-lived and there is no need to stir the emotions of your wife
  • Encourage your wife to make and protect her nest (Titus 2:5)
    • She should not need to work outside the home if it interrupts the nest
    • The home should be a sanctuary, a retreat – especially the bedroom
    • The husband should enjoy, and look forward to, retreating at home
    • Have boundaries – times when it is “no church”
    • Give your wife time to keep the home. Protect her time alone
  • Listen to your wife’s alarm clock as she has intuition
  • Your wife should reflect ministry questions from church members to you as people will try to get info from you and sometimes use it      against you
  • Your wife should be in the services to be fed as much as possible. She should be encouraged to listen to sermons, godly music, etc…
  • Your wife should have time to be alone, go shopping, rest, or hobby
  • Guard against other women becoming emotionally dependent on you
  • Your wife should have free access to your phone, computer, etc…

 

V. Realize the Need to Protect Against Burnout as your wife can become depleted of energy, stamina, focus, and emotions.
  • Stay healthy and exercise – walk out issues
  • Take a day off – have a hobby, etc…
  • Take a full or mini vacation – change midweek service if needed
  • Be flexible – take care of needs as they arise
  • Don’t let people exhaust your wife, they will suck the life out of her. Work with faithful people, baby churches attract baby Christians
  • Do a weekly assessment with each other. Look over the schedule, analyze time, communication, and needs
  • Laugh together!
  • Don’t compare or compete with other ministries or marriages
  • Encourage each other to stay close to the Lord
  • Watch phone usage
    • The pastor’s phone is for his convenience, not the church’s, Delay callbacks and texts
    • Have times to turn it off or put it away
    • Teach church members not to call during family time or date nights

 

VI. Recognize and address your wife’s needs.
Remember, your wife is a “weaker vessel” (1 Pt. 3:7). Her needs must be met or there will be a breakdown.
  • Spiritually – she needs to be growing while she is serving. She needs to be in the services as much as possible.
  • Physically – a need to diet, exercise, and rest
  • Mentally – a need to be motivated and creative. Having a hobby such as gardening can help with this
  • Emotionally – a need to be supportive and understanding, watch hormones, postpartum and menopause
  • Socially – a need to have healthy relationships with friends outside the church
  • Financially – a need to have financial needs met and not always feel the pressure to be tight

            

 


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WHY CHURCHES SHOULD REPRODUCE CHURCHES

Now consider another question for a moment. How are we doing in this process of church planting? Read more

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BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES FOR CHURCHES REPRODUCING CHURCHES

Baptist Church Planting Ministry believes that new churches should be reproduced by a local church and not by a church planter. What we mean by this is that local churches should take an active role in the church planting process and not just a passive role. We believe that every decision should be finalized by the pastor of the reproducing church and not by the one pastoring the new church or by anyone else. This includes Baptist Church Planting Ministry. Whenever we get involved in helping a church reproduce a new church, one of the first things we discuss is who will make all final decisions. We believe that should be done by the pastor of the reproducing church and no one else. This does not mean that the one pastoring the new church or anyone else in the ministry does not have involvement. Everyone is involved; it simply means that since the church is reproducing the church, the pastor of that church should make all final decisions.

 

This philosophy is wonderful to believe, but how does it stand the test of the Word of God? It is important to examine this philosophy in light of the Scriptures.

 

I. THE CHURCH IS A LIVING ORGANISM

Ephesians 5:28-32

First of all, we believe our initial premise that churches should reproduce churches is biblical because the church is a living organism, not an organization. Ephesians 5:28-32 makes it clear that the relationship between Christ and the church is compared to the relationship between a husband and wife. In 1 Corinthians 12, the church is mentioned as a body. Revelation 22: 17, the church is called the “bride.” These verses clearly indicate the church is a living organism.

 

II. ORGANISMS REPRODUCE AFTER THEIR KIND

Genesis 1

Secondly, we believe our initial premise that churches should reproduce churches is biblical because every living organism reproduces “after its kind.” Since the church is a living organism, churches should reproduce churches. In Genesis 1, we find verse after verse talking about living organisms reproducing after their kind. Should the church be exempt from reproducing “after their kind”? We do not think so. Some have tried to say that churches reproduce churches when they send out a missionary to plant a new church. How many organisms reproduce without the active involvement of the parent? Some will say that this eliminates “pioneer church planting,” but we do not believe it does. We believe there are times when a pioneer work needs to be done, but much of the church planting today does not need to be done independently of local churches in the area. The main reason it is done is because the church planter or some other organization wants the control and final authority rather than allowing the local church to fulfill her role in reproducing the new church.

 

When a new church is reproduced, it should be similar to the reproducing church. It does not mean that it will be exactly like the reproducing church. No child is exactly like his parents. He is similar or “after their kind,” but is distinctively different from the parents in many ways. New churches take on the personality of the pastor and the people that attend the new church. Some may give the new church the same name as the reproducing church. This happens in homes as well. We all know children that are named after the father, but it does not mean that it must be so.

 

III. THE GREAT COMMISSION IS GIVEN TO THE LOCAL CHURCH

Matthew 28:16-20

We believe our initial premise that churches should reproduce churches is biblical because the Great Commission is given to the local church to fulfill. In Matthew 28:16-20, it is true that Jesus was talking with His disciples when He gave the commandment to reach this world with the gospel. If He were just giving this to the disciples, then we would not be responsible for the fulfilling of the Great Commission. The disciples are long gone, but we still have the responsibility of reaching this world with the gospel. Some will conclude it is given to individuals to fulfill. We do not believe that individuals have the right to baptize outside the local church. It is an ordinance of the local church and therefore baptism should take place within the confines of the local church. The Great Commission was given to the local church and therefore it is the responsibility of the local church to fulfill it. The Great Commission is not given to church planters, to mission boards, or to any other organization. It is given to the local church.

 

IV. THE GREAT COMMISSION IS CHURCH PLANTING

Matthew 28:18- 20

We believe our initial premise that churches should reproduce churches is biblical because the Great Commission is church planting. We have said many times that the Great Commission is not soul-winning and it is not. Soul-winning is only one third of the Great Commission. According to Matthew 28: 19-20, the Great Commission is evangelize, “teach all nations,” baptize, “baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” and mobilize, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” This is church planting and nothing short of it. The Great Commission is given to the local church to carry out and implement in reaching this world for Christ.

 

Many churches believe that they can effectively minister a great distance from their local church. They run bus routes as much as thirty miles and more from the local church to bring people to the services. It is wonderful to evangelize these people and win them to Christ. Many of these are also baptized in the local church. This too is commendable, but is still short of fulfilling the Great Commission. We are to “teach them to observer all things” and this can only be done as people are faithful to the local church every time the door is open. When someone lives too far from the local church, they cannot be as faithful as they should be. Therefore, the third part of the Great Commission cannot be fulfilled. The only way to fulfill the Great Commission is to plant a church in the community where these people live so they can attend every service and grow.

 

V. CHRIST TOLD THE LOCAL CHURCH WHERE THEY SHOULD PLANT CHURCHES

Acts 1:8

We believe our initial premise that churches should reproduce churches is biblical because Christ gave the local church the area to reach with the Great Commission when we are told in Acts 1:8 that we are to go into Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. The Jerusalem church fulfilled this, even though God had to bring about persecution to the church in Jerusalem to carry it out. In Acts 1:8, God scattered the believers in the Jerusalem church into Judea and Samaria by persecution that was brought upon the church. Please notice that only the believers were scattered, not the apostles. In Acts 8:4, they went everywhere preaching the Word. The result of this preaching and dispersion was the reproducing of churches throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria as we see in Acts 9:31. You will also note that the churches were multiplied. This clearly indicates that many churches were reproduced by laymen from the Jerusalem church.

 

In Acts 11: 19, we find these same believers traveling to Phenice, Cyprus, and Antioch where they were now able to preach to the Gentiles. This indicates that the church in Jerusalem developed a philosophy of ministry that included the reproducing of local churches. These laymen were now going out on purpose to reproduce churches. You will also note that the first pastor of this church was Barnabas and he was sent to pastor this church from Jerusalem and by the leadership of the Jerusalem church (Acts 11:22). Thus, the Jerusalem church was responsible for the pastor of the church. He then found Paul and the two of them pastored this church for more than a year prior to their first missionary journey (Acts 11:26). From this church, we have the great mission outreach of the Apostle Paul bringing the gospel to the regions beyond. This clearly indicates that the church at Jerusalem took an active role in reproducing churches.

 

CONCLUSION

Some have suggested that we place too much emphasis on the local church when we get involved in reproducing a new church. We will allow you to draw your own conclusion on this matter. However, we believe just the opposite. We do not think one can give enough emphasis to the

local church in this matter of reproducing churches. It is not the responsibility of the church planter to plant a church. It is not the responsibility of mission boards to plant churches. It is the responsibility of local churches to reproduce churches, and BCPM will do all we can to help the local church fulfill her responsibility in reproducing churches. We believe the Bible backs up our philosophy of churches reproducing churches.


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