By Robert Mitchell
After twenty-one years in the church-planting process, I’ve learned a lot and hope you will find value from my experience. I offer tips on how to start a church: Don’t quit!
Please consider these tips if you are feeling a call to North American Missions or are already involved in this facet of ministry.
10 Church-Planting Concepts
1. Start with a true, passionate call from God.
Don’t attempt church planting without this necessary ingredient! No matter how popular, glamourous, and even praise-worthy it is, the very real struggles will overwhelm the one who’s attempting it if they aren’t called.
2. Connect with people who have successfully planted a church.
Immerse yourself with information, training, and spiritual strength. You will need it.
3. Be patient as God directs you to the location.
Don’t move without confirmation. Our move to the first city took two years; the second took seventeen years; the third, three years. For those without previous church planting experience, it may be wise to first plant a new church within an hour of your established church, where you’ll have support and a self-sustaining career.If you truly value the lost in unchurched communities, church planting could be where God is leading you. Click To Tweet
4. Take what you have learned in ministry and incorporate it into your unique, new environment and circumstances.
If He called you to it, He has prepared you for it. Difficulties will arise, even in the best situations, but remember, the Lord is the builder;
If He called you to it, He has prepared you for it.
you are just the vessel chosen to pay the price and accomplish the work. Like a mother giving all her strength to birthing a child, you are birthing a baby church. It takes time, patience, and unwavering focus, but the reward is incomparable.
5. Have a trusted mentor who can occasionally “talk you off the ledge.” You will need it!
People will join the church. Then they will leave. You will experience ups and downs. Have a voice in your life who will encourage you to hang on through it all.
6. Keep it simple and only invest in what works in your situation.
Don’t try to do all the things that older, larger, more established churches are doing. Your situation is unique, and this isn’t a competition.
7. Be the leader in the community where God has you.
No one else will feel the same responsibility as you. Surrender to His plan and direction.
8. Make small, streamlined, specific, deliberate, and strategic changes as necessary.
Decide what matters most and work toward that end.
Give the church culture time to develop. Be protective. Decide what matters most and work toward that end. We focus most of our energy on these things because we know that getting them right will pay high dividends.
9. Understand that church planting isn’t quick.
Things that spring up overnight usually have no roots or sustainability. Time often equates to strength, longevity, and establishment.
10. Discover the purpose for each individual connected with your new church.
Some people are there to help it get started, others assist in maturing it, and a few will be instrumental in taking it to the next level. When someone leaves, accept it; it may be a blessing in disguise. Scaffolding has its place in the building process.
Follow His leading
Nothing in my thirty plus years of full-time ministry has been more trying—or more thrilling—than church planting. God has been with us every step of the way, and He will be with you too. If you truly value the lost in unchurched communities, church planting could be where God is leading you.
Robert Mitchell is an author and pastor in Aurora and Denver, Colorado.
A version of this content originally appeared in Forward. For more by Robert Mitchell, click here.