Walking a new church through the early years
1. Focus on three priorities
  • Evangelize 
Go ye therefore and teach all nations” (Matt. 28:19). Even if you had a good attendance during your start, you should spend most of your time evangelizing. You will lose the first “scaffolding” people within the first three years.
  • Mobilize
“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry” (Eph. 4:12). Concentrate on developing people.
Ground people in doctrine through teaching, preaching, and personal discipleship. This is one major reason to start the church with all the services.
Implement people into serving. Meet with each visiting family and go over general information about your   church such as church description, ministries, and membership. Have new member orientation meetings and cover doctrine, purpose, and areas of service.  
Begin to train and delegate. People who are involved will stick with you. Most of the people at the beginning will be workers, wanting to pioneer with you so prayerfully put them to work
  • Advertise
“Now when this was noised, the multitude came together” (Acts 2:6).  Let everyone in the are know that God is working in your church. Use every means possible to saturate the area with info about the new church. It will take several years for people to notice that your church is in the area.
2. Follow a purpose
Develop a Scripturally based purpose statement and follow it as you grow. It will help you keep on the right track and avoid pitfalls.
All ministries of the church should comply with the purpose.
Show the purpose regularly.
3. Fine Tune the program
Try to start out with all services as this helps people know you are stable, permanent, and are serious about the Bible. This will also help the church to mature more quickly.
Be short – people are not expecting a long service so don’t disappoint them. Services should be less than an hour.
Don’t lag – start on time and have the music, announcements, etc. planned and rehearsed. People will be more apt to come back if the service was well organized.
Have sermons prepared. Good messages can make up for lack of other ministries. People are like sheep and will return if they are being fed.
  • Ministries
Be clean and prepared.
Don’t try to have too much – a children’s ministry and nursery the two most critical ministries at the beginning.
Have regular fellowships. Building relationships is crucial during the early years.
  • Plan ahead
Use a calendar and plan the year.
Print your plans and give them to people.
Share your vision, plans, and goals regularly. Talk about short-term and long-term desires. This will build a desire in people to want to stay with you.
  • Be positive
There are many benefits to starting a new church so dwell on them.
Negativism will quench the Spirit and kill the church.
  • Be people oriented
Show hospitality- “Given to hospitality” (1 Tim. 3:2). 
People do not want to know how much you know but how much you care so be personable.
  • Be faithful
Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2). Attendance will fluctuate and    people will be fickle, but God and His Word will never change!
Faithful to God. Have a personal strong relationship with the Lord.
Faithful to family. Have meaningful relationships with your wife and family. Take time to enjoy each other and grow with the Lord together.


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Many times a church planter, because he is naturally a pioneer, will have a difficult time adjusting to the composition of a more established church. It is at this transition time that many decide to “move on” when they should “move up” in their relationship and commitment with the Lord.


1. Reasons for the adjustment
  • The church begins to “stabilize” and “settle”
  • Pastor is used to constantly evangelizing and motivating but now has to spend more time visiting and nurturing. You are now more of a grower than a sower
  •  Pastor is now spending more time putting out fires. People = problems
  • Pastor has to spend more time studying to better “feed the flock” and focus on spiritual growth
  • Pastor has to switch from “doing it all himself” to “delegating”
  • Pastor has to “take the oversight” and trust others to do the work
  • Pastor goes from “people person” to “personal trainer”
  • Pastor realizes his work isn’t the day of Pentecost but will take time to grow just like everyone else’s church


2. Reactions to the adjustment
  • Frustration with the situation
    • Church isn’t growing as fast – numerically or spiritually
    • Congregation loses its zeal
    • Not as many members out soul-winning
    • Pastor is putting out more fires
    • Not as exciting because there are real issues to deal with
    • Wife sees her husband as a “baby-sitter.”
    • Pastor realizes he was too quick to announce he is “self-supporting” and to have churches cut support
  • Rethinking of a long-term ministry in that church
    • Pastor begins to think God is moving him on
    • Pastor and his wife question if the ministry is for them anymore
    • Pastor begins to prepare an exit strategy
3. Reasons to stay beyond the adjustment
  • Because God put you there – renew and reclaim your calling
  • Because God wants you to grow and mature with the church
  • Because you will see more fruit that remains
  • Because you can multiply more for world evangelism by staying and reproducing churches
  • Because you will learn to enjoy the fruit of your labor


4. Steps to making a successful adjustment
  • You and your wife make a spiritual decision to stay
  • Realize the church isn’t your church but it’s God’s church
  • Seek advice from others who have successfully transitioned
  • Focus on discipleship, training, and developing leadership
    • Preach and teach on serving
    • Focus on the mentoring the faithful members
    • Focus on one person at a time, don’t expect too much
    • Display areas of service and include new areas
    • Give a spiritual gift test
    • Meet with the faithful men on a regular bases in order to train and discuss church-related needs
    • Share your vision often
    • Bring on an intern or assistant
    • Pray that the Lord will give you patience and resolve

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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 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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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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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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