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7 Tips for Planting a Church from Church Planters

People keep asking us to do an episode on church planting, but we have a problem- neither of us are church planters!  We’ve been part of teams helping plant churches, but not in lead or key roles.  So we reached out to our church-planter friends and asked for tips.  Here are 7 that kept coming up over and over.

 If you’re a church planter, be sure to let us know what you think!  This is just the beginning of the conversation- leave a comment on the Youtube video, or tweet us with the hashtag #hellochurchpod

And, bonus- even though these are aimed at church plants, at least 5 of these tips can apply to any church, of any size!

Church Planting Tip #1: Find the influencers in your community

Find the people and organizations in your community who have influence, partner with them, and develop relationships with them.  This might be business people, food pantries, or even local social media influencers. By serving alongside people with credibility, this helps establish your credibility & give visibility, which will pay dividends down the road.

If you want to genuinely connect with people of influence, be sure to serve your community before you ask for something.  Attend festivals and community events, so you can get a better idea of your community.  Your vision of what your church will look like will change.  Learn about THEM, so you know who God is calling you to reach.

Church Planting Tip #2: Target High-Capacity Donors

A few pastors noted that they’ve received large donations from people who don’t attend their church- some who aren’t even Christians!   That’s because they told these donors the story of what God is doing through their church and asked if they’d like to be part of it.  

The lesson here is simple: Yes, recruiting and developing your core team is essential, but don’t just target those people.  Look for people who have the capacity/means to do something significant for your church financially.  When it comes to fundraising, spend 80% of your time targeting those people, and spend the other 20% talking about generosity and giving as a whole.  This changes the trajectory of the first few years of your church because when the money is taken care of, you can focus on building your team and preaching the world.

Church Planting Tip #3: Figure out a way to articulate your story

In order to tell your story effectively, you’re going to need three things:

First, invest in great photography.

Second, create an introductory story video.  Introduce to you, your family, and the ministry your family is going to do in this area. 

Finally, work with a copywriter- they’ll help you articulate your story in a way that connects with people.  

It’s always a good idea to be able to answer “why?”  Why are you here?  Why did God call you?  Have a clearly articulated vision for why your church is starting, so that when people start asking questions you’re able to clue them into the vision.

Church Planting Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to partner or merge with like-minded ministries

There are two ways you can come alongside other ministries that are doing similar work in your community.  The first is to capitalize on the organizations and systems that are already working in your community, doing great work, and pointing people to Jesus, and send volunteers and funds their way.  The second is merging with another church so that the staff and resources come together, which can be amazing if done right.  

If you see another organization that’s running on a parallel path, don’t be afraid to merge or combine efforts with them.  It will mean that you achieve your God-given dreams more quickly.  Do egos need to be adjusted?  Yes.  Will everyone on your team or in your church love it?  No.  But at the end of the day, you can have comfort or you can have courage, but you can’t have both.  

Don’t get so caught up on your own plans that you fail to ask, “Wouldn’t it be better if we did it together?”  

Church Planting Tip #5: Create marketing spikes

You don’t want to be marketing at your max all the time.  Space your marketing efforts out, and be strategic about how you use your marketing budget and volunteers.  You’ll see companies do this with big fights or blockbuster movies, blitzing to create awareness a few months out, then there’s a lull, then they create another blitz, etc- and each time, they’re introducing new wrinkles and information.  In the same way, you want to be intentional about your church’s marketing.  Budget time for investment and strategic marketing.  12 months out, 8 months out, 4 months out, etc.  Lead up to your church’s launch or big event, so that the seed has been planted and watered over time and people are ready to come.

Church Planting Tip #6: Plan your first year of content

We’re obviously biased about this, but we love that church planters are focusing on this.  You don’t want to be in the content-planning weeds while you’re dealing with all the pressures of planting a church, but you sitll want to be intentional about what you’re teaching as you’re launching and new people are joining all the time.  Having a plan just takes so much pressure off of you, as the lead pastor.

We try to enable this at Ministry Pass, with our sermon calendars and The Gospel Story series.  But whether you use our stuff or not, make sure you have a plan in place as you’re starting your church plant. 

Church Planting Tip #7: Have a good support system in place (outside of the church)

You need to have a good support system in place outside your church- friends, advisors, and other pastors- that you can talk to about what’s going on and who can give you unbiased advice.  It’s not sustainable for you to be alone in ministry, whether you’re a church planter or not.  As your church grows and you get more leaders and volunteers, issues are going to come up.  You can begin to feel more lonely at the top, and it’s unhealthy to be isolated.  Instead, yoou need to surround yourself with people who can strengthen you when you need strength, and be a sounding board when you need someone to hear your question and concerns.  

Bonus Tip:  Don’t Plant a Church

You shouldn’t plant a church because it’s the “cool” or “trendy” thing to do.  So don’t plant a church unless you feel like God has called you to do it.  Do it because that’s where you believe God wants you to be.  

If you do believe God wants you to plant a church, a great resource is iwanttoplantachurch.com  It contains an outline & calendar of what you should be doing a year or even six months before you launch! If you’ve planted a church, give your fellow church planters some advice and inspiration in the comments!  You can even join our Pastor’s Circle Facebook Group, where you can talk about these issues and develop connections to encourage and inspire you.