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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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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