Veteran church-planters Roger N. McNamara and Ken Davis liken the growth of a new church to the birth of a child. It begins with conception: prayerful planning and the seed of new life. Bringing your church idea to life involves practical as well as spiritual considerations. Follow some basic Christian and practical principles to start a successful church.
Planting a new church is first and foremost a spiritual endeavor. Before you begin your new church, pray consistently and ask others to pray with and for you. Ask God to guide your thoughts and provide strength and resources to accomplish the task ahead.
To start a new church, you need a reliable and committed team of people to work with you. As well as bringing more hands on deck, this ensures you don't set off on your own with no one to answer to. Make key decisions collectively, encouraging input from everyone on your team. Having people with different skills and talents, such as musicians, tradesmen, caterers and pastors, helps on a practical level, too.
Philosophy of Ministry
No on sets out on a journey without knowing where she's going. Start your church plant with a clear vision of what you want to accomplish. Your philosophy of ministry is a "big idea" that guides everything you do. Your philosophy may center around helping the poor, bringing a sense of community to a neighborhood or promoting biblical teaching.
Your outreach strategy ties in naturally with your philosophy of ministry. It's the "how to" that accompanies your overall vision. Decide on your target audience, whether simply anyone living within a certain radius of the church, or people in a particular demographic such as families, students or professionals. Then plan how to reach them. Door-to-door campaigns, social outreach programs, community events and small, neighborhood home groups or "cell groups" may play a major part in your strategy.
Every church meets somewhere. You may have the resources to purchase property and erect a church building from scratch, or you may be able to share a building with another church or organization. Some churches rent a community hall or even meet in a home or other informal setting, such as a cafe.
Your chief focus may lie on spiritual goals, such as helping Christians grow and making new believers, but you need to think about the practicalities, too. Even the most basic new church needs a budget to cover small expenses, such as Bibles, room hire and after-service coffee. A bigger church may need to pay staff salaries and utility bills. Many new churches rely on financial support from a parent church. Also consider holding fundraisers and appealing for sponsors.
- US Center for Church Planting & Growth: A Church Planting Checklist
- "Starting a New Church: The Church Planter's Guide to Success"; Ralph Moore; 2002
- "The Y-B-H (Yes, but How?) Handbook of Church Planting"; Roger N. McNamara, Ken Davis; 2005
- praying hands close-up image by Andre Reutens from Fotolia.com