Robert Mitchell is an author and pastor. He offers tips on how to start a church and not quit.
“You can tell the value of something by how much you’re willing to pay for it. Jesus was willing to pay the ultimate price to rescue us from the condemnation of our sin” (Lee Ann and Joel Alexander, More Than Grasshoppers: Cultivating Your God-Given Identity).
What an accurate statement about the kingdom of God and, more specifically, about church planting. If God has anointed you to serve in this area of ministry, then you already know the cost. Breaking into a new territory filled with lost souls demands sacrifice on every level, but the effort is worth it because Calvary deemed it so. Humanity is valuable to Him and should be to us as well.
How to Start a Church and Not Quit
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!I appreciate all the other Kingdom efforts being carried out, but nothing can replace the hands-on, life-changing, rubber-meets-the-road, eternity-altering investment of building a new church. Click To Tweet
In the early days of our first church plant in Asheville, North Carolina, I considered quitting countless times.
The reality is that a new, truth-preaching church is a direct threat to the enemy who will do everything in his power to stop the church from being established.
The reality is that a new, truth-preaching church is a direct threat to the enemy who will do everything in his power to stop the church from being established. Even before the first advertising, Bible studies, or church services, setbacks will come. Expect those attacks, especially for the minister and his family, but remember the attacks can be overcome.
After two years of working day and night, teaching multiple home Bible studies, doing outreach, follow-up, and holding weekly services and home groups, my wife and I felt an overwhelming urge to leave the city. Around the same time, I received five different invitations to preach revivals in other places. All signs seemed to be pointing to resignation. However, as with any major decision, I sought guidance from a district official. After listening to me, he simply replied, “It’s not time to go.” He counselled me to decline the invitations and to remember what we felt when we first arrived in the city. I’m so thankful my wife, Lisa, and I responded with surrender to his instructions, and we refocused on the souls instead of on the trouble pressing in on us.
Wait Patiently for the Breakthrough
Our breakthrough in the church came in the seventh year during a time of tragedy. That’s when supernatural strength, numerical growth, and establishment happened. Had we abandoned the work before then, the church would not have survived. We learned to focus on the God moments—the victories, testimonies, conversions, miracles—and not on the negatives, oppositions, challenges, or setbacks.We learned to focus on the God moments—the victories, testimonies, conversions, miracles—and not on the negatives, oppositions, challenges, or setbacks. #startachurch Click To Tweet
Church planting is the most intense, trying, draining, exhilarating thing a person can experience in ministry. And thankfully, God is the one who builds it. “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep” (Psalms 127:1–2).
Establishing new churches, preaching points, and daughter works is both challenging and rewarding, and in my opinion, it’s the answer for worldwide revival. I appreciate all the other Kingdom efforts being carried out, but nothing can replace the hands-on, life-changing, rubber-meets-the-road, eternity-altering investment of building a new church. Lisa and I are currently planting our third church.
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.