Church Planting Manual
by Pastor John Iuliano
Chapter 1: Why plant churches
Chapter 2: Profile of a church planter
Chapter 3: Methods of church planting
Chapter 4: Clarifying your vision
Chapter 5: Planning
Chapter 6: Developing a core group (nucleus)
Chapter 7: Doing a feasibility study (demographics)
Chapter 8: Public interest meeting
Chapter 9: Preparing for launch day
Chapter 10: The public launch
Chapter 11: Building a healthy church
Chapter 12: 21 ways to increase your church attendance
The purpose of this manual is to give those interested in church planting a simple, step by step plan of how to go about planting a Church. It by no means contains every known method of church planting but it does contain some tried and proved ideas. Ultimately, however, the church planter needs the guidance of the Holy Spirit to reveal to them the specific strategy that will reach their community. Because something has worked well in one area doesn’t guarantee automatic success in another.
Another important matter to keep in mind is timing. The church planter can have all the information, plans and strategies possible, but if the timing is out then not much is accomplished. On the other hand, another church planter can go in without much information, plans or strategies, but gets the timing right and have immediate success. Church planting then needs to be approached from both a spiritual and a practical perspective. It doesn’t have to be either/or, it can be both. The idea then is:
1. Get as much information as possible;
2. Plan, plan and plan some more;
3. Pray, pray and pray some more;and then;
4. Launch out, when the Holy Spirit is saying: “Go for it now!”
The Great Commission is about telling the world that there is a God who loves them and wants to have relationship with them through Jesus Christ. I believe that church planting is one of God’s major keys to accomplish this. My prayer is that this manual can assist someone, somewhere in planting a church for the glory of God.
1. WHY PLANT CHURCHES
One of the most asked questions about church planting is – “Why plant more churches? So many churches are closing down, so many churches are nowhere near full, so many churches are struggling to stay afloat – why plant more?” Here are 12 reasons:
1. JESUS TOLD US TO DO IT.
Matt. 28:19,20. “Go therefore and make disciples….baptising them…teaching them to observe all things I have commanded….”
* We cannot effectively make disciples and teach them the commands of Christ outside a church setting.
* An evangelistic campaign declares the gospel. It brings people to a place of decision but it doesn’t fully teach them all the things that Jesus commanded us. This can only be done in a church setting.
* When properly understood we see that the Great Commission is specifically a commission about Church Planting.
2. THE EARLY CHURCH SET THE PRECEDENT.
Throughout the book of Acts, we see that whenever the disciples went about fulfilling the Great Commission, they planted churches.
i) Acts 8:5-12 Philip plants a church in Samaria.
ii) Acts 9:1-2,19 Believers had planted a church in Damascus.
iii) Acts 9:31 By now there were churches throughout all Judea, Galilee and Samaria.
iv) Acts 9:32-35 A church was planted in Lydda.
v)Acts 10:24-48 Peter established a Gentile church in Caesarea.
vi) Acts 11:19-26 The persecuted believers planted churches in Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch.
vii) Acts 13:2 – 14:28 Paul’s first missionary journey – the biggest single church planting venture up to that point.
viii) Acts 15:40 – 18:23 Paul’s second missionary journey – all to do with church planting and strengthening existing churches.
ix) Acts 18:24 – 21:25 Paul’s third missionary journey – again he planted new churches and strengthened established ones.
3. HISTORY SHOWS US THAT CHURCH PLANTING AND REVIVAL ARE CLOSELY LINKED.
i) The New Testament Church is the first example.
ii) History tells us that each of the apostles were involved in church planting in various countries.
a. Peter went as far as Babylon.
b. John worked amongst churches in Asia Minor and Ephesus.
c. Andrew – Scythia, Greece and Asia Minor.
d. Philip – Phrygia.
e. Bartholomew – Armenia.
f. Thomas – Parthia, Persia and India.
g. Matthew – Ethiopia.
h. James (the younger) – Palestine and Egypt.
I. James (the older) – Jerusalem and Judea.
j. Jude – Assyria and Persia.1
iii) In 422 a man called Patrick had a vision for Ireland.
1. In less than 30 years, he baptized over 100,00 converts and planted scores of churches2.
2. He became known as: “the man who found Ireland all heathen and left it all Christian”.
iv) John Wesley and George Whitfield were both great men of God.
a. George Whitfield was by far the greater orator and drew the larger crowds.
b. John Wesley is by far the most remembered because he used the strategy of church planting which resulted in the Methodist Movement.
v) William Booth and the Salvation Army became a powerful force because of Church Planting.
vi) Most major evangelical denominations we have today can trace their beginnings to a revival which manifested itself through Church Planting.
vii) In 1910, a man called John G. Lake went to South Africa. In five years he helped plant 125 white churches, and 500 native churches.3
viii) In South America today, entire nations are experiencing revival and it is directly proportional to Church Planting.
ix) In Australia today, the Assemblies of God can attribute much of its growth to the fact that a new church is being planted every 6 days.4
4. RESEARCH SHOWS THAT CHURCH PLANTING IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT MEANS OF EVANGELISM.
i) Dr. Peter Wagner states that: “The single most effective evangelistic methodology under Heaven is planting new churches.”5
ii) Major evangelical denominations across the world have formulated detailed strategies for church planting because they have realized the interrelation between church planting and evangelization.
iii) Research has shown that it is the most cost effective method of evangelism. It has also shown that it is the most efficient way of using church resources to extend the Kingdom.
5. CHURCH PLANTING BUILDS A NETWORK THAT IS READY TO CAPTURE THE HARVEST.
i) One church in a community is not enough to capture the harvest. The effective mega-churches are rare and consequently the average size church of 85 people isn’t realistically impacting its community.
ii) Having an entire network of new churches increases the effectiveness of the gospel in the community.
a. Fishing with a line will catch fish.
b. Fishing with 2 lines will catch more fish.
c. Fishing with a net catches a lot more fish.
iii) Consequently, we ought to view multiple church planting as building a network that captures God’s harvest.
6. NEW CHURCHES REACH DIFFERENT TARGET GROUPS.
i) Most churches specialize in one or two particular target groups,
i.e. youth church, elderly church, middle class church, young families, yuppie church, ethnic church, multicultural church.
ii) Churches that effectively target every group in the community are rare.
iii) The establishment of new churches reach different types of people in the community. This way all the groups of the community are targeted and can be effectively reached.
iv)Because each church reaches its own particular target group, we need to encourage a multiplicity of churches and not be afraid of geographical proximities.
7. NEW CHURCHES ARE FRESH, POSITIVE AND HUNGRY FOR GROWTH.
i)So many established churches have settled down into what they consider to be comfortable and the effort to reach out to new people slows down dramatically.
ii) In America today 80-85% of churches are getting smaller, rather than growing. It is predicted that in the Nineties, 100,000 churches will close their doors in the USA alone.6
iii) New churches are much more zealous for souls, for growth, for the integration of new people.
iv) Statistics show that new churches are 30 times more effective in adding people into God’s Kingdom than established older churches.7
1. NEW CHURCHES RELEASE MORE PEOPLE INTO EFFECTIVE MINISTRY.
i) Many gifted people are sitting in established older churches not fully utilizing their spiritual gifts.
ii) It is a recognized fact that the fastest way of maturing a Christian is to give them a responsibility such as caring for a new Christian.
iii) New churches tend to release more people into utilizing their spiritual gifts, which results in a more effective witness in the community.
CHURCH PLANTING IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE METHOD IN THE TASK OF REACHING THE WORLD.
i) The world’s population is growing at an alarming rate.
ii) Adding people to churches will not keep up with the growth rate.
iii) The only way to effectively evangelize and establish disciples is through church planting multiplication.
iv) Australia has had a gospel witness for 200 years but there is still a vast proportion who have not clearly heard the gospel. Obviously, we need more churches to reach more people.
10. CHURCH PLANTING STIMULATES EXISTING CHURCHES.
i) The best thing that can happen to an old established church, at times, is for a new church to be planted nearby. It becomes a reminder that we need to be constantly addressing our goals and cannot afford to become complacent or lazy.
ii) New churches also add to the spiritual awareness of a community and everyone benefits as a result.
11. NEW CHURCHES ARE THE MAIN KEY TO DENOMINATIONAL GROWTH.
i) It is a fact that no-one can deny. Denominations that fail to plant churches are decreasing in membership. Lyle Schaller reports that every denomination that records an increase in membership also reports an increase in the number of congregations. Conversely, every denomination that records a decrease in membership also reports a decrease in congregations.8
ii) The growing denominations understand this principle and consequently are aggressively targeting church planting.
12. OUR GOAL IS TO SEE ‘THE WHOLE WORLD FILLED WITH HIS GLORY’; CHURCH PLANTING IS GOD’S KEY TO SEEING THIS COME TO PASS.
i) Jesus said in Matt 16:18b, “I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” The picture Jesus gives us is a strong progressive visionary church that is plundering hell and populating Heaven. A church that is taking enemy ground. A church that is unstoppable.
ii) Our target is to fill the whole earth with the glory of God and ultimately for His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Church planting is not an option – it is a priority. We can never afford to sit back and be glad of what we already have, when there is still so much ground to capture. Church Planting is God’s method of bringing in the harvest. It needs to be approached with the vigor of an army that knows it can’t lose.
We need to understand that we have been given the power to destroy the works of darkness and see the glory of God fill our world. This will be done when Christians from all walks of life, all nationalities and all social groups band together with a passion burning in their hearts to plant churches for the glory of God.
2. PROFILE OF A CHURCH PLANTER
1. A DEFINITE CALL OF GOD.
Before you can plant a church you need to have a specific call from God to do so. It may not be as dramatic as Paul’s (Acts 26:16-18) or as reluctant as Jeremiah’s (Jer 1:4-10). It may be a simple response as Isaiah’s (Is 6:8) but nevertheless there needs to be a deep understanding that God is sending you. Good ideas never build strong churches. They must be God ideas. A church planter needs to hear the Great Commission from the Great Commissioner and know without a doubt that he/she has been sent out to do the great task of church planting.
2. WRONG REASONS TO PLANT A CHURCH.
i) A strong desire to preach but no-one will give you an opportunity.
Maybe you need to do a course on preaching so that you have something to preach about. Usually God opens up opportunities for those who really have something to say.
ii) Frustrated where you are at because you can’t do what you want to do.
Sometimes this is a sign of immaturity. It’s best to wait and learn some principles of submission. When it’s time to start your own church it is not frustration that you build on but the directive of God. We need to learn to discern between the frustration of impatience and the stirrings of God to move us on.
iii) Can’t get an invitation to pastor an established church.
In some cases God could be using this as an opportunity to push you into church planting. However, in most cases it is because there isn’t enough development evidenced. Sit under an experienced pastor and gain some more practical experience if you have already been to bible school. If you haven’t had any formal training, find a bible school that has a course on church planting and enroll.
iv) Out to prove something.
Get the attitude sorted out. You can never build anything solid on a negative foundation. When one is out to prove something it stems from a hurt or a feeling of inferiority. We can only build solid churches on positive motivations.
v) Need to get some experience and church planting seems like a good opportunity to practice ministerial skills.
Church planting is not for the inexperienced. People should never be seen as experiments we practice on. The best experience is gained alongside a seasoned minister who can correct your mistakes. Church planting will only be successful when it has gripped your vision and you become totally focused on this one thing.
Once we have dealt with the motivation factor, which must stem from a distinct call of God, then we can address some of the characteristics needed to develop an excellent church planter. The following list is intended to be a guide as to what a church planter needs to develop. The aim is not to condemn but to encourage development in the following areas.
3. SPIRITUAL QUALITIES.
i) A PERSON OF PRAYER.
Church growth should never become so mechanical and scientific that it removes God from the equation. He is the Great Commissioner (Matt 28:18-20), the Gift Giver (1 Cor 12:4-6), the Giver of the Holy Spirit (Lk 24:49). Without the power of the Holy Spirit, church planting becomes a science like opening up a McDonald’s store. Church planting needs spiritual people who will pray and seek God for His empowering and His divine strategy.
25% of U.S. pastors spend less than 10 minutes in prayer per day.1 The average is only about 15 minutes. This would reflect the average in most western countries. The East fares a bit better. However, if Jesus saw the importance of prayer in His ministry, how much more should we. Those desiring to plant new churches need to realize that they are planting them on the front lines of spiritual warfare. All the more reason to be on the front line of prayer. The enemy is never thrilled at losing ground and will do whatever he can to stop the progress. Prayer invigorates, creates faith and builds a positive attitude within the church planter that makes them unstoppable.
ii) A PERSON FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Jesus said to the disciples not to embark on the Great Commission until they had been baptized with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4-8)
The early church obeyed and after Pentecost we read about their phenomenal evangelistic and church planting efforts. Everywhere in the book of Acts when people were filled with the Holy Spirit we find that they were anointed with inspired speech. The results were that people were saved and churches were planted. (Acts 2; 4:8,31; 6:3,5,8; 8:4-17; 9:31; 10:44-47; 11:24; 19:1-10)
At the turn of this century there wasn’t one Pentecostal church in the world. Today the Pentecostals are the biggest force in Protestant Christianity. The one key the Pentecostals have that is different to their main line brothers is that they believe in a separate experience distinct from conversion called the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. They believe that when a person is filled with the Holy Spirit the outward sign of this occurrence is the ability to speak in other tongues. The purpose of this gift is to empower the believer to come into a new dimension with God. This gave them confidence, boldness and spiritual giftings to help them accomplish the task of world evangelization.
iii) A PERSON THAT DEMONSTRATES THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT.
Gal 5:22-23 lists Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control.
The church planter needs to be leading the way in the demonstration of this fruit. It is difficult to be a good example if one of these characteristics is missing. When a person spends time in prayer and is full of the Holy Spirit then the fruit of the Spirit is natural produce of this encounter with the transforming power of God. One doesn’t have to stress or strive, it is a natural product. Just as it is natural for orange trees to produce oranges, so too the life of the person who allows their spirit to be nurtured by the Holy Spirit will produce the fruit of the Spirit.
iv) SOUND BIBLE KNOWLEDGE
Would you go to a doctor if he didn’t know much about medicine? Would you go to a mechanic if he didn’t know much about engines? Why should anyone come to your church to hear about the eternal principles of God if you don’t have a thorough grasp of God’s Word.
Paul writes to Timothy and encourages him to constantly immerse himself in the Holy Scriptures (2 Tim 3:14-15). He encourages him to be a minister who doesn’t need to be ashamed because he knows what God is saying (2 Tim 2:15).
It’s not mandatory to have a seminary degree before you can plant a church but it is mandatory that you know the Word of God, believe the Word of God and preach the Word of God.
v) THE QUALITIES LISTED IN 1 TIMOTHY 3:1-7
It would be wonderful if we could all score 100% on all these 16 qualities that Paul tells Timothy to look for before anyone is appointed to pastoring. However, I firmly believe that we need to at least be able to pass the test. Surely failure on any one of these qualities should cause us to address the issue and get it into order before entering a public office.
4. THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS.
First of all, let us look at the 4 major gift lists:
i) Eph 4:11 – Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher.
ii) Rom 12:6-8 – Prophecy, Service, Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Leading, Mercy.
iii) 1 Cor 12:8-10 – Word of Wisdom, Word of Knowledge, Faith, Gifts of Healing, Working of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning of Spirits, Tongues, Interpretation of Tongues.
iv) 1 Cor 12:28 – Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Miracles, Gifts of Healings, Helps, Administrations, Tongues.
By taking out the gifts that are repeated, we can then formulate the following list:
1. Apostle -An ambassador of the Gospel, one who is sent out with a Divine commission.
2. Prophet -An inspired speaker, one who proclaims a message from God.
3. Evangelist – A preacher of the Gospel, one who declares the good news about Christ.
4. Pastor – A shepherd, one who cares for the flock of God.
5. Teacher – An instructor, one who explains and instructs the Word of God.
6. Service – One who attends, runs errands, a waiter, a servant in the House of God.
7. Exhortation -One who draws near to implore, exhort or console, an entreater.
8. Giving -A giver, one who shares, and imparts.
9. Leading -To stand before, to preside, to rule, one who maintains order.
10. Mercy -To have compassion, to be tender, one who shows pity.
11. Word of Wisdom -A word that is wise, a statement that reflects God’s wisdom.
12. Word of Knowledge – A word that knows, a statement that reflects God’s understanding.
13. Gift of Faith -A total persuasion, no room for doubt, fully convinced.
14. Gifts of Healing -Enablings to administer supernatural cures.
15. Working of Miracles – Mighty works, great power, supernatural abilities.
16. Discerning of Spirits -The ability to judge and make a ruling about spiritual matters.
17. Tongues – Speaking languages one has not naturally learned.
18. Interpretation of Tongues-Being able to interpret languages one has not
19. Helps – To give relief.
20. Administrations – To steer, to be a director.
Ideally, a church planter should have all of these gifts evident in their life to some measure. Ideally every Christian should have some measure of all these gifts outworking through their lives as well. However, sad to say we don’t live in an ideal world. Church planters need to excel in at least one of the first five gifts. I say ideally because there are always exceptions to the rule. However, because the first 5 gifts are all preaching, declaration gifts, it is very difficult to plant a church without one of these strong preaching gifts.
It is very difficult to gather a crowd if the church planter isn’t a soul winner. The evangelistic gift needs to become evident in order to add new souls into the Kingdom. Church planting is more than just rearranging Christians from one church to another, its about increasing God’s Kingdom.
Of the next 6, Exhortation and Leading need to be evident in the church planter’s life. Exhortation is needed because people will stop going to a church that slams them every week. They need to be encouraged, uplifted and given a word of hope. Leading is essential because every ship needs a captain. If the church planter is reluctant to lead, someone else will gladly stand up and do the leading. At this point the church is in trouble. Every prospective church planter needs to increase their leadership gift and learn new leadership skills.
The next 9 are the power gifts that Pentecostals so often emphasize. God gave us these gifts primarily for the profit of the church. Church planting takes on a dynamic dimension when the power gifts are operational. The Book of Acts and Paul’s epistles are all about the “demonstration of the Spirit and of power”, versus “the persuasive words of human wisdom”. (1 Cor 2:4)
5. THE NATURAL SKILLS
What I mean by natural skills are those skills that diligent people pick up by:
i) Reading books
ii) Attending Courses.
iii) Observing and analyzing the experiences of others.
iv) Learning from one’s own life experiences, both positive and negative.
Some of the natural skills needed by a church planter are:
A Visionary – no one really wants to follow someone without vision. Vision is the ability to excite and enable people to see a cause. What cause is greater than the extension of God’s Kingdom?
A People Person – some people are more task orientated than people orientated. Church planters need to be the latter. They need to be able to relate to the unchurched and get people on side. They need to be alert to what is happening in their community and be there to be a voice. They need to be able to build bridges between the church and the world.
A Communicator – can get people to see and understand what they are trying to say. They are able to relate to people and feel rapport with them.
A Motivator – they are able to get themselves motivated and in turn provide motivation for others.
A visionary church planter who is a people person and is able to communicate and motivate people to follow Jesus will never preach to empty seats. There will always be a crowd who will come and hear the message from this person. This type of church planter will not draw an apathetic, lethargic crowd of pew warmers but will draw together an army that is on fire with zeal. When these people are correctly taught the Word of God in Spirit and truth then they are well on the way to establishing a formidable church that will pulverize enemy opposition and add soul after soul into the Kingdom of God.
3. METHODS OF CHURCH PLANTING
One of the reasons that there are so many methods is because the Bible doesn’t dictate that there is only one way it can be done. This, I believe, is because God has made us creative and innovative and the last word on church planting has still not been written.
Here are 15 tried and proven methods. They are merely a guide. The church planter needs to be exposed to these various methods but ultimately he/she needs to get the master plan from God. That method is guaranteed to work.
Church planting can be categorized into 2 main divisions. In church growth terminology they are called the “Modality Models” and the “Sodality Models”.1 In simple terms, the “Modality Model” is where a church plant has connections and accountability to a Mother church. The “Sodality Model” on the other hand has direct connections and accountability to a denomination or church planting department. Both terms stress accountability. Even though the Bible doesn’t emphasize one particular model of church planting it certainly does stress the importance of accountability. Not one Biblical church planter was out there doing their own thing. They always related either to a mother church (such as Antioch) or the governing apostles at Jerusalem, or both.
A. DIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE TO A MOTHER CHURCH (Modality Model).
In Australia we use the term ‘daughter church’ because it denotes relationship, accountability, nurture and covering from the mother church. However, with any child/parent relationship, the ultimate goal is to see growth, development and finally enough maturity whereby the daughter church is also able to reproduce.
The tremendous advantage of this model is that there is immediately a nucleus of somewhat experienced Christians at the very beginning of the church plant. The enthusiasm of this group should be contagious enough to give the church immediate momentum.
1. BRANCH CHURCH
This method involves the mother church releasing a nucleus of people that live in the geographical vicinity of the church plant. This nucleus of people don’t move from their homes but they move their allegiance from the mother church to this branch church.
How much support in terms of finances, equipment and other resources depend mainly upon the situations at hand. For example, in 1984 when David Yonggi Cho set up one of his associates as a branch church in another suburb of Seoul, Korea, he was sent out with a nucleus of 5,000 people and a budget of $4 million (US). By 1990 this branch church was numbering over 100,000 members. I doubt whether there are too many branch churches that get this initial boost! Most would only get a very basic budget from the mother church and supplement the rest from within the nucleus they have.
It is from this initial boost that the new church launches out into a fresh evangelistic thrust into the community. The purpose of branching off (‘hiving off’) is not just for convenience to those living in the new vicinity but as an outreach to add new people into the Kingdom.
2. MULTI-CONGREGATION CHURCHES
This has become the world’s most popular method of church growth and establishing of new congregations. In fact the World’s 20 largest churches operate using various forms of multi-congregation churches.2 To qualify, a church must establish 3 or more worship services per week. Each of these services must provide a separate service designed for a distinct target group.
Now that the large cities of the world are becoming a mixture of many nationalities, many inner city churches have begun to target the various ethnic groups. It is not unusual for the one church building to be the home of many ethnic congregations.
In some areas the multi congregation idea targets different age groups. An early service for the elderly, a later service for the young families and an evening service for the youth.
The only limit is the creative ideas of the church planter and the diversity of the population. Many church growth experts say that a church will grow by 10-20% every time it adds another service.3 They also say that it is easier to start as a multi-congregational church from the very beginning than to try to change mid stream.
3. SATELLITE CHURCHES
The difference between a satellite church and a branch church is that the satellite church is designed to stay connected to the mother church whereas the branch church is designed to eventually become autonomous.
A common feature of satellite churches (or annexes as they are sometimes called) is that the government of the central church is the same for the satellite. They try to give people the strength of a large congregation with the warmth and personal attention of a church in their geographical vicinity.
One of the world’s largest churches in Chile has grown to mega status because it has planted over 40 satellite churches around Santiago. Even though the central church can only accommodate 16,000 their satellite system ministers to over 350,000 people. All these people have personalized pastoral care but they all acknowledge Javier Vasquez as their senior minister.
Another common feature of satellite churches is their regular celebration services. This is where all the satellites and the central church join together for a huge celebration. In South America they have to hire parks and stadiums for these events because there are no buildings large enough.
4. CIRCUIT CHURCH PLANTING.
This model caters for situations where the population is sparse or availability of ministers is also sparse. In circuit church planting, rather than the people traveling to a central location, the minister travels to a central location. The minister may through this method cover 4 or more towns in the course of a month.
This model was used by the circuit preachers to evangelise the west during the 1800’s in the U.S. It is still valid for places like Australia where a small town cannot fully support their own minister or it may be difficult to attract church planters to a small town. The advantage would be that towns that could not ordinarily be able to fully support their own minister can contribute to the support of their circuit church planter, churches would be planted, outreaches established and everyone would benefit.
5. CHURCH PLANTING TEAM.
There are many people within established churches that feel they want to do more for the Kingdom. Some of these people may want to formulate a church planting team that helps a church planter establish a church. Most of the team would eventually return to the mother church but from experience we have found that some became so attached to the new work that they remain.
The team needs to be trained and have a very definite passion for evangelism or some other specific role in the church plant. They could specialize in music, worship leading, children’s work, youth work, leading home groups, etc.
It is imperative that the team work with the pastor/church planter from the very beginning. Preaching points are usually very weak attempts at church planting because the new people coming in don’t see a leader totally committed to their spiritual welfare. This rarely encourages total commitment. Many times we have seen preaching points that have struggled for years immediately blossom when a resident pastor is appointed. People become committed when they see commitment.
6. “CHURCH SPLIT” PLANTING (ACCIDENTAL CHURCH PLANTING)
Sad to say, in many places, this is the most common form of church planting. What is sad is not the church plant but the failure to recognize and liberate people in the body to formulate another church before disagreement sets in. Often either the new church or the old church becomes bitter over the split and they stop growing. In some cases both churches continue growing and eventually patch up their differences. This is great, but there is a lot of pain in the meantime. Churches need to recognize that God has His way of enforcing church planting on us.
The old farmers have a saying, “You can’t have 2 bulls in the same paddock”. What is meant by this is that sometimes two strong leaders can clash if they are not given enough room to lead. Before the clash comes, it may be wiser to train the second leader to go to another venue and start a new church. This person already has a following if he/she is really a leader and a new church is birthed by choice not by accident.
7. MULTI-CULTURAL CHURCH PLANTING.
There is an overwhelming need for more of these churches as the world’s population becomes more and more urbanized. As cities expand, so does the racial mix. For this reason churches can have an enormous impact on their cities and nations when they see Christians interrelating in multicultural churches. Ray McCauley had a massive impact on South Africa towards the end of apartheid when the Government saw racial unity within his church. This gave Ray a voice into his nation. What a wonderful example of the church showing the way.
Kensington Temple in London, and Christian Life Centre in Waterloo, Sydney both have scores and scores of different races worshipping God as one body. In this type of church no matter how isolated the world makes one feel, the ethnic worshipper can feel accepted and loved. They don’t have to go looking for a church that caters for their distinct ethnic background.
The huge challenge in Australia’s large cities is to plant more multicultural churches; churches where every race feels welcome.
8. MONO-CULTURAL CHURCH PLANTING (Homogenous Church Planting)
Some church growth experts promote this as the best type of church planting. However, there is no doubt that in a world that is fast removing its racial barriers, the future generations will feel trapped in-between cultures.4 Australia and America are classic examples where mono-cultural churches reach a ‘use-by’ date and if they are not careful they can lose a generation of young people.
When I was involved in a mono-cultural church as a youth I felt trapped between allegiance to my parent’s past culture and the present culture of the world I lived in, was educated in, and related to on a daily basis. If mono-cultural churches fail to understand this, then they will fail to adjust to the important needs of their youth and risk losing a generation to the world.
Mono-cultural churches should very quickly adopt either the multi-cultural model or the multi-congregational model as soon as a fair proportion of their young people begin to enter high school.
9. ADOPTING A CHURCH.
Sometimes groups of Christians or even established churches want to be adopted by a church or denomination they feel drawn to. This usually takes place because the adoptee feels that they can benefit from this new relationship.
From the mother church’s point of view, adoption ought to be with no strings attached. The new group needs to flow with the vision and direction that the mother church has already established.
The parent church usually releases giftings to the adopted church so that they can quickly come into the same stream and flow together.
B. DIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE TO A DENOMINATION OR DEPARTMENT
Because of a whole range of different reasons sometimes a church planter doesn’t have a mother church to be accountable to. In these cases most denominations that I know of have either a contact person or a church planting department that the new church can relate to. From here, the new church not only gets moral support but also many denominations are now giving financial support. This is normally according to a set budget.
Some of the following models may well fit under the previous section and some of the previous models could also be included in this section. This obviously means that there is no set rule for church planting. These models are guides only and certainly not hard and fast rules. The main reason why the following models are in this section is because the church planter plays the main role in the church’s government, whereas in the modality model, the parent church’s leadership has the main say in the new church’s government.
10. EVANGELIST/APOSTLE CHURCH PLANTER (Catalytic church planter)
This is the model that the New Testament emphasizes the most. The evangelist or apostle has the ability to break through very quickly in a locality and build a nucleus which becomes the foundation of the church. The main difference between the evangelist and the apostle is in regards to the level of structure and leadership established in the church. The evangelist can break through but is not gifted to form a strong foundation. The apostle not only breaks through but is able to lay a firm foundation and raise up a leadership structure that an incoming pastor finds easy to work with. In some cases the apostle is also able to raise up the pastor from within the ranks of the new church.
This type of church planter moves in and move out. An example of this is Harold Cameron, a Southern Baptist who in his ministry was instrumental in planting over 500 new churches. His most successful method of getting a nucleus was through telemarketing (using the telephone-see Chapter 9).
11. PASTORAL CHURCH PLANTER
This is one of the most successful forms of church planting. The person who plants the church stays on to pastor it. This person usually gets a burden to plant a church in a particular area and once that is accomplished they don’t feel the least bit burdened/called to repeat the endeavour elsewhere. It is as if God gives them a special ability to plant and then they get on with the job of pastoring and growing the church. However, this is not to say that this new church then doesn’t become the base for many other church plants. If New Testament patterns are followed then every church ought to be reproducing new churches.
Robert Schuller stands out as an example of a pastor/church planter. He planted what is now known as the Crystal Cathedral back in 1955 and even though he hasn’t moved from that one church his influence has reached around the world.
This method involves a nucleus of people actually moving house and shifting into the geographical vicinity of the church plant. This team then proceeds to plant the church. An example of this is Pastor Lindsey Clark, who with his own family and a few other families moved from Melbourne to the South Coast of New South Wales. Within a short time they had attracted a nucleus of 100 people into their new church. From this church they then proceeded to help plant other churches in their vicinity.
Obviously this type of church planting requires total commitment and dedication to make such a radical move. Nevertheless, it is these types of radical moves that are becoming more commonplace throughout the world in our Christian endeavour of church planting.
Sometimes churches are kept artificially alive. There are no vital signs of life such as souls getting saved, enthusiasm, anointing, presence of God. These churches need either to be closed or replanted.
Usually this is done by fresh inspirational leadership that comes in and proceeds to restructure the church.
One of our churches on the south-western side of Sydney was in this predicament. Brian Houston was sent to bury the old church and raise up a new one. Liverpool Assembly of God became Liverpool Christian Life Centre. With new vision, new leadership, new direction and new foundations, this church is now one of Sydney’s strongest churches under the anointed leadership of John McMartin.
Old churches that were built in the inner city during times when people lived close by, can become lost in urban developments. They soon become surrounded by factories and warehouses but their congregations live in the suburbs. These churches are prime candidates for transplanting. This is where the whole church relocates, takes on a fresh perspective and loses the gloom of the inner city. Many times this has resulted in a new growth spurt.
Australia’s largest Assembly of God church was at one time in a small church in the warehouse section of Adelaide. Three moves later they bought property in an outer suburb of Adelaide called Paradise and built a building that accommodates 3,000 people. If they had remained in the inner city, who knows what would have become of this now significant church.
15. SPECIAL TARGET GROUP CHURCH PLANTING.
Some churches feel called to a special target group, such as children, youth, the ‘down and outs’, the red light district, the bikers, etc. We have one church on the Gold Coast, Queensland, that does their service in rap. Obviously this will not attract average middle class Australians but every Sunday this church has over 150 people listening to the message of the Gospel in rap. In America, Bill Wilson has built a church specifically catering for children. Not only has Bill made a significant contribution to ministry in New York, but his children’s work has inspired children’s ministry around the world.
It is innovative ideas like this that will reach our world. It is people who are willing to follow what God has placed within their heart and step out of their comfort zones that will succeed in planting the world’s largest churches.
4. CLARIFYING YOUR VISION
How do you know if God is calling you to plant a church? I hope that because of the previous chapters you may be in a better position to understand a bit more about church planting. I believe many people don’t attempt church planting because of fear of the unknown. We should never base our decisions on fear but on faith.
Paul said in Eph 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”. Imagine for a moment that whatever you attempted for God was guaranteed to succeed. You have a promise that you cannot fail. What would you attempt for God? Pause for a moment and think about it. This scripture in Ephesians promises us that when we launch out in the will of God then we cannot fail.
Now think about how many times you haven’t undertaken a venture because you feared failure. If this fear were not there, would you have done anything different? I wonder how different our lives would be.
The purpose of this chapter is to convince you that if God plants a vision for church planting in your heart, and if you allow Him to work through you, YOU WILL SUCCEED.
1. HOW TO GET A VISION.
i) GET BEFORE GOD.
I am amazed at how many people would rather do anything else than get before God. They will go to conference after conference on “How to hear the voice of God”, they will get their prophecy on tape but not consider that God actually wants to speak to them in private.
Jer 33:3, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know”.
Take some time out with God. Book out a motel room where you can get alone with God undisturbed for a few days, and listen to what God will say to you.
Once you are in God’s presence be willing to be obedient. Many people do not hear the voice of God because they have already preprogrammed themselves from not hearing certain things. They unconsciously put God in a box without realizing that in fact they have limited what God wants to do through them. Never let fear of failure set your agenda for what God can or cannot do in your life. Approach the presence of God with this attitude: “God, I’m sorry if in the past I have limited you. From this moment on I want to open my heart to the divine possibilities you have for me. Whatever you want me to do, I am willing to do it. Wherever you want me to go, I’m willing to go”. It’s amazing what happens when we get our attitudes sorted out. You are certainly in a better place to hear from God about your destiny.
ii) LEARN TO LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF GOD.
I’m not talking about the audible voice of God. I’m talking about the leading of the Holy Spirit within our spirit. Rom 8:14 says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons (children) of God”. The voice of God:
a. Never contradicts the Word of God.
b. Comes as a prompting within your spirit.
c. Doesn’t condemn you, but will edify you.
d. Creates faith and counteracts fear.
I have discovered that in listening to the leading of the Spirit, we have to differentiate between the voice of God, the voice of the flesh, and the voice of the enemy. The voice of God will always say, “God who works in you is able”. (Eph 3:20) The voice of the flesh says, “Stand aside world, I am able!” The voice of the enemy says, “You are unable. Whatever you attempt will ultimately fail”.
Once you have learnt to hear the voice of God, you will recognize it. It’s a loving father’s voice; correcting what is wrong, encouraging, faith building. He believes in you. He wants to guide and direct you. In His timing He will open the doors of opportunity and He will use you to extend His Kingdom.
iii) BEGIN TO RECORD WHAT YOU FEEL GOD IS SHOWING YOU.
No matter how wonderful the books are, your God given strategy will not necessarily be found in their pages. But God has the strategy for you that is fool proof. There is a scientific approach to church planting and there is a spiritual approach. First get the spiritual and then add to that the scientific methodology.
a. Does He want you to plant a church?
If He says ‘no’ then find out in what other areas your destiny lies. If you feel He says ‘yes’ then ask the next question.
b. Where does God want you to plant a church?
Sometimes God will give us a specific town. Other times He gives us an area, city or just a nation and leaves the specific choice to us. Don’t forget that in giving us direction God doesn’t leave out the fact that He’s given us intelligence.
c. What type of church do you want to plant?
The Bible gives us specifics of what a church should have. Worship, teaching, care, evangelism, discipleship, prayer are all factors every church should include. But there is room for diversity in terms of what type of people you attract. Some churches have an emphasis on a specific socio-economic group, or a specific ethnic group, or a specific age group, or a specific segment of society. Other churches have an emphasis on a particular style of presentation such as a contemporary style, a conservative style, a charismatic style, or a seeker-sensitive style, etc. Obviously all these factors will determine whom you will attract.
d. How does He want you to start this church?
Is there a specific strategy? Is it a merging of the strategies others have used?
A point of caution: God very often does not give us the fine details. No doubt He can, but often He doesn’t. This is because He has given us intelligence that He wants us to use. Read some good books on church planting. Interview some successful church planters. Many times God gives us more specifics as we are doing the research.
e. When do you feel to start?
Resist the temptation to start too soon. If you have completed your training, you have some experience in ministry, you have heard from God about starting a church, then don’t spend more than one year or less than three months to get ready. Often it’s when everything starts to come together that the timing of God is established. But it’s imperative to understand that God doesn’t work as fast as we often want Him to work. Be patient so that when He gives the go ahead, you are ready to run.
BEGIN WORKING ON A MISSION STATEMENT AND A VISION STATEMENT.
It is when you are in God’s presence that vision will come. However it is always important to remember that God never bypasses our intelligence. It is always good to keep sound principles in mind when working through your mission/vision statements.
i) Mission Statement.
A mission is a church’s purpose, it’s reason for being. A vision is the specifics of how it will accomplish that mission. Theologically, the mission of every church ought to include at least the following three aspects:
a. To worship God. (Matt 4:10; Jn 4:19-24; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 1:6, 12, 14)
b. To build up the Body. (Jn 15; Eph 4:1-32; 2 Tim 2:2) in care and in maturity.
c.To evangelize the world. (Matt 28:19-20; 2 Cor 5:18-20)
A mission statement should then state the church’s mission in a way every member can remember. (See Appendix A for examples of Mission Statements.)
ii) Vision Statement.
Vision has to be much more focused than mission. In other words, most churches ought to have a similar mission but few churches will have the same vision. Vision has to be tailor-made to the individual giftings of the church, their call, their target group and their faith. Every good vision statement should include the following three aspects:
a. The God Factor. What does God want us to do and to achieve?
b. The Faith Factor. Being stretched beyond our natural abilities so that we have to depend upon God to see its fulfillment.
c. The Focus Factor.The vision will keep the direction focused and keep you on line to your God-given destiny.
Many churches wander around aimlessly, driven by the latest fads, simply because they haven’t stopped and worked out a vision statement. Heb 2:2, “…..write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it”.
(See Appendix B for examples of Vision Statements.)
It is amazing how much time, energy and pain can be saved by basic planning. We have seen too many churches fail simply because of poor planning. Church planning in many ways is similar to family planning. Some families plan their children, others have unplanned pregnancies. Whatever the case, most people have the same amount of time once they are pregnant to prepare before the baby arrives.
When the baby arrives, it is the unwise parents who have not prepared mentally, physically, emotionally and especially practically. Babies will need nappies, food, clothes, time, care, attention and a host of other things. We need to see church planting in the same light. Before the church is birthed, prepare, plan, get ready.
Four phases of Preparation are:
1. THE CONCEPTION PHASE.
This is the phase where the vision is conceived. God plants a seed in your spirit that one day will birth a church.
You may not fully know what type of church it is and the finer details of when, where and how but you know that there is a church (or many churches) in your spirit.
2. THE GESTATION PHASE.
This is a crucial stage in church planning. It is in this stage that the structure and future strength of the church is being mapped out. I have discovered that if a church plant fails, it can invariably be traced back to poor development in this phase.
Most of the groundwork for church planting needs to be done in this stage.
The church planter needs to be clarifying their vision, doing their feasibility studies, honing in on the exact area of the church plant. They need to begin developing their nucleus, working on their specific strategy, raising the necessary finances, equipment and support.
Resist the temptation of taking too long to get ready, or trying to birth the church before adequate preparation. Robert E. Logan, Peter Wagner and other church planting experts suggest 4-6 months is an adequate time to spend in the phase of preparation.1
3. THE BIRTH PHASE.
This is the day we have all been waiting for! The new church is ready to open its doors to the public and begin to function as a centre of worship, care, discipleship and evangelism.
If good groundwork has been accomplished there is absolutely no reason why there shouldn’t be a decent gathering of people at this event. This then becomes the beginning of a centre within that community that will consistently see the kingdom of darkness destroyed and the Kingdom of God extended. A light house has been lit and darkness must flee.
4. THE MATURITY PHASE.
Again, if the church planter has planned well, this phase is a natural consequence of a healthy birth. The test of a church’s maturity is how well it is fulfilling its vision. The goal of this process should be for the church to ultimately reproduce and nurture other churches into being.
When Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission, this is what He envisioned – that the World would be won by Church Planting.
6. DEVELOPING A CORE GROUP (NUCLEUS)
It wasn’t too long ago when the nucleus of the church was the pastor, his wife and their children. I grew up under this concept of church planting and it certainly has worked over the years. However, we live in a generation that is constantly looking to improve. Is there a better way to plant churches? The scriptures do not point to one single model of church planting but they do give us ideas. One of the ideas constantly repeated in the New Testament is the concept of teams. Paul went out with teams: Silas and Timothy (1 Cor 18:5; 1 Thess 1:1), Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:2). The disciples were also sent out in teams (Luke 9:1; 10:1).
Many churches have consequently discovered that there is great advantage in beginning with a core group, team or nucleus (depending on your definition).
1. PURPOSE OF A CORE GROUP.
i) They form the foundation and nucleus of the new church. Therefore it is imperative that they share the same philosophical approach to ministry as the senior pastor.
ii) They will help the church planter to pray and intercede for the success of the new work.
iii) They will help in sharing the load and fulfilling the myriad of responsibilities that arise when planting a church. They will also use their spiritual gifts to add depth and expertise to the church especially where the church planter is lacking.
iv) They will share the vision for the church plant and enthuse others whom they meet to become involved in the new church.
2. IMPORTANT CHARACTERISTICS FOR A CORE GROUP MEMBER.
Any builder will tell you that the most important phase in the actual erection of a building is laying the foundation. There are many things that can be changed later on but the hardest thing to change is the foundation. The moral is: make sure the foundation is how you want it.
Consequently when picking a nucleus or core group the main question to ask is: “What if the new church were a multiplication of these people?” If you feel excited about this prospect then you have a great core group. If the idea sends you into a panic then extra work needs to be done in this area well before the church opens its door to the public.
Here is a list of basic characteristics I look for in people I work with. Please note that they don’t necessarily have to score 100% on each quality. A pass will do! God is still working on all of us, and if there is a desire to grow then the qualities that are not so strong will by God’s grace become stronger.
i) Genuine love for God.
This is reflected by a person’s devotional life, mode of worship, conversation and general demeanor. Church is all about knowing God and loving Him. Foundational people need to exhibit this quality. They need to be full of God, full of the Holy Spirit and radiate an enthusiasm that reflects their love for God.
ii) Genuine love for people.
If there is no genuine love for people, there is no pure motivation for ministry. People are never meant to be seen as stepping stones to higher recognition. Jesus died for people. People make up the body of Christ, and serving people is what ministry is all about.
iii) Faithful, loyal and dependable.
Nothing solid is ever built on people that are only committed as long as it suits their agenda. When it doesn’t, they are gone. A core group needs to consist of faithful, loyal and dependable people that if the going gets tough, they will stick it through. You need people who are loyal to the church planter, the church and each other.
A teachable person has a sweet spirit, a servant’s heart and is constantly looking to improve and grow. An unteachable person has a hard spirit, suffers from insecurity and is out to prove to the world that they know something. The core group must bring their talents to the church plant as servants. Their attitude must be: “I’m here to serve the church”, rather than “the church is here to give me an outlet for my greatness”. A teachable person then has no problem adjusting to fit in with the vision, values and philosophy of the new church. They are there because they want to be involved in church planting.
3. WHERE TO FIND YOUR CORE GROUP.
If the new church is being birthed from a mother church then this is easier because the majority of the core group is in that church. If the church is birthed from one of the sodality models then the following ideas can help.
i) Share your vision with as many people as possible.
Especially your friends, old Bible School colleagues and the people that know you. The possibility is that God will plant a seed in someone’s heart and they will join you. There are many talented people who are absolutely bored of sitting in church who would get involved in church planting if they were given an opportunity.
ii) Contact the Bible Schools within driving range of the church plant.
Discuss your vision with the Principal, explain that you are seeking to put together a team for a church plant in the local area, and maybe some of the students may want to get involved. If you get permission, go to the school and speak to the students personally.
iii) Organize a Public Interest Meeting (See Chapter 8)
Pray that through this, God will lead you to some key people that can become part of your core group.
iv) Pray that God will supernaturally give you a divine appointment with a key person.
Jesus found the woman of Samaria (Jn 4), Peter found Cornelius (Acts 10), and Paul found Lydia (Acts 16). I believe that there are Godly people all over the world praying for God to send to them a church planter in their area. He is able to set up the appointment.
4. TYPES OF GIFTINGS TO INCLUDE INTO THE CORE GROUP.
Ideally the church planter ought to look for giftings within the core group that will supplement where he/she is lacking. Because we live in a society that expects music in church then it is especially important that the church planter gather some singers and musicians in their core group. When one is working through a mother church then this is much easier. But if one is working through a department or organization, get permission and a letter of introduction from the Director and then canvas Bible Schools, churches, friends and try to put together a talented team.
Look for song leaders, children’s workers, youth workers, cell leaders, soul winners, administrators, secretaries. Include in your team any key worker that will help take the church in the direction you want it to go.
Lyle Schaller believes that all church planting teams should include a pastor, an evangelist, a music specialist, someone that can minister to families with children and someone responsible for developing church life.1
The style of people in your team should reflect the style of church you want to plant. If you want to plant a rather radical style church that appeals to youth and young families then include people in your team that find it easy to adapt to this style of this church. Sooner or later the conservative type person will become agitated and leave.
The more talented the team the easier it is for the church planter. He/she will be able to delegate much to people of talent. If the team is made up of novices, don’t delegate too much leadership immediately. Give them responsibility but leadership should only be given in proportion to the person’s ability to handle it properly. Remember the cardinal rule: It is easier to give leadership away than take it back!
5. CATEGORIZE THE CORE GROUP INTO 3 BASIC LEVELS.
This categorization ought to be subtle rather than overt. It is more for the church planter’s thoughts than something that is advertised. Jesus set the precedent when He categorized His disciples. At one stage He had thousands following Him but His categories went something like this:
Level 1: Peter, James and John.
Level 2: The Twelve.
Level 3: The Seventy.
Level 4: The 120 – 500
Level 5: The Crowds.
In a core group, I would basically place them into 3 levels.
LEVEL 1: Leader/leaders that carry responsibility for the church.
This would be those with a definite call to ministry. They should show a total commitment to the future of the new church. If working with a mother church, those on this level ought to be approved by the leadership of the mother church. This inner circle of leadership must share the church planter’s goals, vision, philosophy and they must be able to multiply themselves.
LEVEL 2: Leaders that carry a responsibility for a department.
These people haven’t as yet evidenced the same calling and maturity as level 1 but nevertheless are still keen, talented, committed and able to carry some of the load. They need to be given a specific area that they are responsible for. It may be the music ministry, youth ministry, children’s work, the administration, advertising, evangelism, or whatever else that they have expertise in. Hold them accountable at regular meetings. This gives them confidence and you confidence that the job is being competently done.
LEVEL 3: Those who are workers rather than leaders.
The people on this third level are just as important as everyone else in the church. However, they are not gifted in leading but in doing a lot of the running around. Often these people are as enthusiastic and committed as anyone else on the team. God has given them a vision for the new church. These are the ones who will be able to do the telemarketing, the letterbox distribution and the surveys, etc. Always make them feel a special part of the team and the new church will be full of unity and love from day one.
6. TEACHING FOR THE CORE GROUP.
During the “Gestation Phase”, the core group ought to be meeting on a regular basis as a home group. It is important to build team unity, to pray, to worship and to build up the excitement levels as the big day approaches. The church planter needs to utilize these meetings to also teach the team foundational principles of the Kingdom of God. Most churches and groups that experience problems do so because of a lack of good teaching and leadership. The group needs to be taught about:
i) Extending God’s Kingdom through church planting.
ii) Discovering every believer’s spiritual gift.
iii) How to develop your evangelistic gift.
iv) How to release the power gifts in your life.
v) Developing people skills.
vi) The importance of love, unity, fellowship and body ministry.
vii) The importance of stewardship, hospitality, the generous heart.
viii) The development of basic counseling skills and dealing with people’s problems.
ix) How to make new people feel welcome when they come into the new church.
x) How to successfully disciple a new Christian into maturity.
Finish off each session with prayer and supper. Allow the Holy Spirit to move. The excitement, love and fellowship of these meetings will be automatically passed on to the new church.
These meetings will be the catalyst to cause the core group to function as a team. When the core group feels ownership of the vision, they will be motivated to make things happen. Just as a pregnant woman feels excited at the kicks of the child within her womb, knowing that this is a sign of impending life, so too the development of this group will bring much excitement about the impending life of the new church.
7. DOING A FEASIBILITY STUDY (DEMOGRAPHICS)
A demographic study ought to help build a profile of the typical person that is being targeted. The importance of knowing who this person is cannot be over-emphasized. Willow Creek call him “Unchurched Harry”. Other churches have various names for this fictitious individual. He is given a name in order to make him a real person because in actual fact one day your church ought to be filled with “Churched Harrys” who were once “Unchurched Harrys”.
This study will also give the Church Planter a detailed understanding of the area they plan to go into. This information can even give them ideas of how to best reach their target area. The more you know about your community the better equipped you will be to meet its needs. Also keep in mind the importance of actually meeting people face to face. To go to a shopping centre in the heart of your target area and do a survey of your target audience will pay rich dividends in the long run.
1. WHERE TO GET INFORMATION.
a. The Bureau of Statistics.
b. Local Council.
d. Various Church Missions Boards.
(In Australia the Uniting Church Board of Missions has detailed statistics on every geographical area of Sydney and other major cities.)
e. Department of Housing.
f. Commercial Developers.
(These people not only have statistics but also the latest projected figures. I believe we ought to plant churches wherever there is a commercial centre.)
2. WHAT INFORMATION TO COLLATE.
a. Population figures.
b. Composition of male, female, youth, children.
c. Ethnic composition.
d. Average age.
e. Marital status.
f. Any information you feel may be relevant to your church plant.
a. What churches are presently functioning.
b. Which ones are growing, stagnant, declining.
c. What is working for them.
d. What is not working for them.
a. Population employed.
b. Population unemployed.
c. Average income.
d. Tradespeople, professionals, which type of occupation is prominent.
a. Average housing cost.
b. Number of dwellings.
c. Which type of housing is prominent: unit, high rise, etc.
d. Rentals, mortgages, housing commission, outright ownership.
a. What schools are in the area: pre-school, primary, high school.
b. Tertiary education, colleges, universities.
c. What is the educational level of the community.
a. In age, housing, ethnic composition.
b. In growth and industry.
a. Make a list of available meeting places.
b. Make a list of preferred meeting places.
Once you have compiled this data, you are then ready to work out with the Holy Spirit how to best approach this wonderful prospect of Church Planting. Consistently take walks down the main street and talk to the locals and shopkeepers. Observe, pray, ask the Holy Spirit to open up to you the strategy that is best suited to impact this community.
8. PUBLIC INTEREST MEETING
This meeting is for the purpose of arousing interest within the community and to give them information concerning the planting of the new church.
1. It needs to be done sometime within 3 months of the proposed date of the church plant.
2. It needs to be advertised well through as many avenues as are available, (i.e.) newspaper, radio, pamphlets, word of mouth, community notice boards, telemarketing, or direct mail. The success of this meeting is determined by how well you advertise. People won’t come unless they know that it is on.
3. You need to have it in a neutral hall rather than a private home. People feel more at ease in a hall than someone’s home.
4. It is not a worship meeting or a church service. It is an information meeting. Its intention is to arouse interest, and to get people talking. Making a good impression at this meeting will create excitement and enthusiasm within the team and the community. It is important to have all the details of your vision, strategy and mission totally worked out. Most people that come to this meeting will already have had some Christian contact. The vision of this new church needs to be more in line with where they feel God is leading them than their present situation.
5. A Typical Agenda:
i) Greet people as they come, introduce yourself and remember their names.
ii) Open in prayer.
iii) Begin to share:
a. About yourself and the core group.
b. About your calling to ministry.
c. About your calling to this community.
d. About the purpose of this new church.
e. About the specific type of church it will be.
f. About the church’s vision.
iv) Allow room for questions.
v) Close in prayer for the community, the people and the church.
vi) Keep it very positive, and laid-back.
vii) If possible, use visual aids. Overhead transparencies will do.
viii) Have a response card ready to hand out. Get them to fill the card out and collect them that same night. ( See Appendix C for an example of a Response Card.)
ix) Finish off the meeting with some light refreshments and have the core group mingle.
6. Each person that fills in a card needs to be followed up personally by the church planter. These people are usually the basis for the foundation of the new church. Diligence in this area is imperative for the success of the new church.
7. If there are those who seem very enthusiastic about the new church plant then maybe they could be included into the core group. Discernment needs to be used at this point. They need to add to the core group some expertise and man power that will assist in the church plant. Keep in mind that locals already have a network of relationships within the community that outsiders have to yet build. These interested locals are very valuable people to get on side.
9. PREPARING FOR THE LAUNCH DAY
First impressions always count. Researchers have shown that the impression you first give will either make your job easier or harder. Some people excuse their laziness and slackness and try to convince themselves that God will bless their endeavors regardless. God blesses prayer and preparation. To have one without the other is not wise stewardship of your efforts. To debate which one is more important is irrelevant, both are essential. This chapter presupposes that prayer is already in place. When dealing with the King’s business, we need to always approach it from the spiritual dimension. But we must also keep in mind that it is business and there are wise procedures to follow if we want our business to succeed. Every church planter not only needs to prepare themselves spiritually for the task before them but they also need to adopt wise management skills. I recommend George Barna’s book on Church Marketing at this point.1 I have noticed that every successful church, whether they agree with church marketing or not, utilizes these principles.
1. DETERMINE YOUR LAUNCH STRATEGY.
I have included only 5 examples of launch methods that I have seen implemented but they are certainly not the only methods. The only limit would be our imagination. There is no one fool-proof method. The Church Planter needs to pray and work out the God given strategy for them.
i) The Evangelistic Crusade Method.
This is a great strategy, especially for those who want to come on the scene and publicly announce that they are Pentecostal. A big tent with a well-known evangelist will certainly draw a crowd if it is advertised properly. Some churches have had “14 Days of Fire” crusades. They have had different well-known speakers come for 14 straight days and hold meetings. This has worked successfully.
ii) The Series of Special Meetings Method.
Some prefer to start in their hall with a series of special meetings addressing issues that are relevant to the community. Issues such as family matters always seem to work well and draw a crowd.
iii) The Special Concert of Professional Presentation Method.
There are some organizations and churches that have a team that are able to present the Gospel message through music, drama, dance, etc. This has the advantage of drawing power. People like to be entertained. An example of this method being used effectively, especially in Third Word countries is the Jesus film. Many churches have been planted as a result of people being saved after viewing this film.
iv) The House Church Method.
The House Church movement has taken some countries by storm where literally thousands of churches have sprung up in people’s homes. This is obviously less dramatic in its public approach than the previous methods but none the less still valid, especially when we have examples of house churches in Scripture (Rom 16:5; 1 Cor 16:19; Phile 1:2).
v) The Start as you intend to Continue Method.
Some churches prefer to start as they intend to continue. In other words, from day one they have a fairly typical program with their values, targets and vision in place. They have praise and worship, the Church Planter preaches and it gives people a realistic insight as to what to expect week after week.
2. FORMULATE A PROMOTIONS PLAN.
i) Choose a Name.
Choose a name that says something about your target mission field and the church vision in 3-4 words. Avoid religious jargon that only has significance for churched people. Words like Redeemer, Sanctifier, Justifier, Fellowship, Covenant, Gospel and other theological terminologies have tremendous significance for Christians but mean little to the unchurched. They understand words like Christian, Church, Centre, Life, Faith, Joy, Peace, Love, God, Jesus, Good News, etc.
ii) Use only high quality advertising.
Good advertising can get the church planter over 100 people in the first service. Advertising statistics suggest that you get a 1% return on high quality advertising. Thus if 20,000 fliers are distributed, there is a good chance that there can be as many as 200 people in the first service. It is also estimated that if the people see what they are looking for and what the advertising promises, 60% will return.2
iii) Direct Mail / Letterbox distribution.
The success of direct mail is found in the quality of advertising. For instance, if the mail out focuses on how sinners will go to hell, how bad the world is and it is all printed on a photocopier, then the results will be minimal. However, if the advertisement promotes what positive benefits the new church will have on children, youth, marriages, families, singles, etc and all this is done with some colour, the results will be much more rewarding. If this type of advertising didn’t work then your letterboxes would not be inundated with all the junk mail we get.
There are some who would say that this is a wonderful way of promoting the new church. It must have some merit because many firms pay people to sit at telephones and sell their products. Obviously in a church approach, the caller must have a good phone manner and make it clear at the beginning of the call that they are not selling anything. The way telemarketing works successfully is to use the telephone to find interested people and place these people on a mailing list. They then receive a regular follow up call to keep them up to date on the church’s progress.
This method can be rewarding but also quite frustrating if one doesn’t like to be knocked back by the person who dislikes his privacy being interrupted.
Get professional help and do it right. A fifteen second slot placed regularly throughout the day will be more beneficial than just a few spasmodic slots. Also remember that radio stations have a target audience. Cater your advertisement to suit that audience. For instance, if the radio station has mainly an audience that listens to rock music then “Green Sleeves” as your background music will not be very appealing to the listening audience.
Most churches use the church notice section of the newspaper to advertise. The only audience that reads this section is the Christians. To use newspapers effectively, have press releases with interesting stories. A big ad once a month draws more attention than a small ad every week. Place the ads anywhere other than the religious sections, preferably on the right side of the page. Use a picture, a good quality logo, and good graphics to attract attention.
vii) Personal Invitations.
This is by far the most effective means of advertising. The preceding methods aid in public awareness, but this method will actually get people to come to the church. Most people fear being in a group of strangers. The personal invitation overcomes that barrier because they now know someone. Personal invitations work best with an arranged appointment or a picking up point. This is where the core group is so vital. If a Church Planter has a core of 10 people and these ten people all invite and arrange for another 5 people to be at church, that means that at your first meeting there will be at least 60 people in attendance. There really is no excuse for nobody turning up to the church launch except bad planning.
viii) Door to Door Invitations.
The Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormons have made this both a nuisance and an art form. The fact is that it works or else they wouldn’t be doing it. In planting a Christian Church, the advantage you have is that people are surprised to find that the person knocking on their door is not a cult member. Yes, there are doors slammed in the face but there are also doors that will open up to a friendly smile and a warm invitation to come to the community’s newest and exciting church.
ix) Community Stalls and Notice Boards.
Saturation level is what is needed to promote a new church. Consequently to set up a stall in the community centre to distribute information will aid in the church planter’s goals. To plaster the community notice boards with high quality posters will also benefit in saturating the community with an awareness of the new church.
3. FIVE RULES FOR CREATING EFFECTIVE ADVERTISING.
i) What’s in it for me?
People will only read advertising if it will benefit them.
ii) Be Positive.
Negative advertising creates a confrontational feeling in people. Touch the positive chords and show people that what you have to offer is good. (After all it is Good News that we offer.)
iii) Be Believable.
Be realistic in what you say you have to offer. It is always better to overachieve than underachieve. If you promise that the dead will be raised and only headaches get healed, you lose credibility. If you only promise that God will bless them and then they get their headache healed, they’ll be back for more.
iv) Use Simple language.
The best advertising is simple, it’s catchy, it communicates. Difficult language is always hard to remember and if people don’t understand it, they will skip over it rather than spend time trying to understand it.
v) Say something different.
A good way to grab someone’s attention is to say something different. If you repeat what everyone else is saying, you get lost in the crowd. If you say what Coke says, or what Nike says, they remember the big companies, not you. Use your imagination and be creative.
4. FINDING A PLACE TO MEET.
When finding a suitable place to hold the first regular meeting, the following things have to be considered:
i) What is available.
a. School halls.
b. Scout Halls.
c. Council or community halls.
d. Sports clubs (i.e. football, bowling, tennis, etc)
e. Senior Citizens Halls.
f. R.S.L. Club rooms.
g. Night Clubs.
i. Motel Conference rooms.
j. Vacant shops or warehouses.
ii) The Location
a. It should be easily reached so that your advertising directions do not become complicated.
b. It always helps if the general population already knows the whereabouts of your facility. Sometimes a popular landmark can become associated with your facility (ie) across the road from McDonalds, next door to the Town Hall, etc.
c. It must be visible. Or at least your huge sign marking your facility must be seen by all who drive past.
a. People in our day and age are used to going to modern shopping centres where everything is nice. A bleak appearance communicates something negative.
b. Use paint and decorations to brighten up your meeting place. If the best hall you can find is shabby, then dress it up. Maybe the owners will give you a rent free period because of your work.
c. There is absolutely no excuse for dirt and grime. Water and soap is available to anybody. Make sure your facilities are spotless. Willow Creek sees this as so important that not only do they clean their facilities each week but also repair and paint the nicks and scratches of weekly wear.
a. It helps to have a lockable storage facility at your hall for your equipment.
b. If there is nothing available then see if the hall will allow you to purchase a lockable closet that can be left on the site.
c. The other solution is to purchase a fully enclosed car trailer that can house your equipment. This is then pulled back and forth each week from the meeting place. The trailer should be stored in a cool dry place when not in use, with the equipment locked inside.
a. Place a bright coloured banner or sign outside your premises.
b. The sign should include the Name of the Church, a logo, meeting times, Pastor’s name, contact number and a brief mission statement.
a. The lighting, especially at night, needs to convey a feeling that people are coming to a friendly place.
b. If your facility does not have adequate outside lighting, then rig up your own portable flood lights. The last thing a church planter wants is a lawsuit because someone has tripped over in the dark.
a. People need to feel they are in a pleasant environment.
b. Buy some portable furniture that you can set up if you are using a hired hall.
c. Make up some banners that project your image and hang them from the ceiling.
d. Use flowers, plants, coloured overhead transparencies, signs, curtains and anything else that will give the decor of your hall a personalized touch. All these things say that your church is alive, caring and going places.
5. VISITORS PACKS AND NEWSLETTERS.
i) The church’s initial growth will be mainly from visitors, therefore it is important to put together a decent visitors pack. The visitors pack should give as much information as possible about the new church.
a. What we believe.
b. Who we are.
c. What our mission statement and vision statement are.
d. What programs we are offering.
e. What makes this church so special that people must come to it.
ii) The second thing a visitors pack needs is a facility to record the names and addresses of the visitors. This can be done with either an enclosed card and/or signing a Visitors book.
iii) Spend money on decent literature – it will pay off! Plan an exciting newsletter. Something people will put on their fridge. Delegate the layout of the newsletter to one of the more artistic members of your group. However, make sure that your newsletter is neat, tidy and a fair representation of what your church is about.
If you have done your job well, there is absolutely no need to fear your launch. You will feel like an expectant parent the night before the birth of their baby! You will have prayed, interceded, fasted and done everything you and your core group can do to prepare spiritually. You will also be excited because through your promotions just about everyone in the community knows about the big event. They know exactly what’s happening, where, when and why. Church Planting is simplified and becomes so exciting when you join the spiritual element with the scientific element because your chance of failure drops to near zero and your chance of success sky rockets!
10. THE PUBLIC LAUNCH
This is the day that you have been planning for many months. Hopefully you have planned well, have everything organized and picked a day when you expect a good attendance.
1. FIVE AREAS TO DOUBLE CHECK THE NIGHT BEFORE.
i) Hall Preparation.
Make sure the hall looks wonderful. Your visitors need to be positively impacted.
ii) Information Preparation.
Make sure all your newsletters, visitors packs, notice boards, vision and mission statements are all prepared and well set out.
iii) Spiritual Preparation.
Make sure that you have all prayed up and sense a wonderful presence of God. This after all is His church and He wants to bless you.
iv) Music Preparation.
Make sure all the musicians know what songs they are playing, are rehearsed and are organized.
v) Programme Preparation.
Make sure that everyone knows what they must do, when they must do it and how they must do it. Too many silent spots can affect the run of your service. This will not happen if you have prepared a well running program.
2. HAVE ALL YOUR KEY WORKERS TURN UP EARLY.
i) This will give you and your team adequate time to pray.
ii) It will give opportunity to settle any last minute details.
iii) It will give musicians a chance to tune up.
iv) It will create a relaxed atmosphere. Workers are tense if they are late and so is the church planter.
3. 15-20 MINUTES BEFORE THE LAUNCH.
i) Have your ‘welcomers’ in the car park and at the doors ready to greet people, help with children, strollers, wheelchairs, etc.
ii) Have a music tape playing softly in the background.
iii) By now the car loads of people that have been personally invited should be showing up.
4. LAUNCH TIME.
i) Make sure you start on time regardless of who is or isn’t there. The people who have turned up have come to be touched by God. Your job is to minister to them, to the best of your ability, without worrying about those who promised to be there but didn’t show up.
ii) The way you start is the way you finish. If you start 5 minutes late on the first day it will send a message.
iii) Be sure that all the work you have put in will pay off. What is now ahead of you is the exciting prospect of building this new church. Believe that “He who started a good work will complete it”.
iv) All we can do is give it our best effort and leave the rest to God.
HE WILL BUILD HIS CHURCH AND THE GATES OF HELL WILL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT.
5. AFTER THE SERVICE.
i) Mingle, talk to people.
ii) Have some refreshments available and invite people to stay and fellowship.
iii) The core group ought to be hard at work at this time, introducing themselves and getting to know people.
iv) Make appointments and follow people up. The new church has begun!
11. BUILDING A HEALTHY CHURCH
What is the one thing people remember the most about their first visit to your church?
The answer is ATMOSPHERE. They remember how the church felt. If it was warm, friendly, cold, indifferent, positive, oppressive, boring, lively, etc.
First impressions do count. The first thing needed in building a healthy church is:
1. GET A POSITIVE ATMOSPHERE. Acts 2:44-47.
One of the best ways of having a positive atmosphere in your church is to help people feel relaxed. Church meetings do not always have to be intense. It’s good to have joy in your meetings. The person up front also has an important part to play in this area by being easy to relate to and making people feel part of the worship service, rather than being merely spectators.
It’s importance to introduce variety to your meetings because if they become predictable then boredom sets in, and this works against a positive atmosphere. Once the people become positive about church, there’s no stopping the growth. They will automatically invite their friends as a response to the way they feel about the church. This becomes a powerful force in creating unity amongst the people.
Beware of consistently preaching negative messages, which can create a negative atmosphere. The power of God is positive so the messages also need to be positive.
2. OPEN THE FRONT DOOR AND CLOSE THE BACK DOOR.
One of our largest churches in Australia began to move into explosive growth after they positively responded to a prophecy. The prophecy was simply, “If you love them like I do, I’ll send them in!” God was speaking to this church about the way they needed to react to the unchurched. As they began to formulate all types of groups and fellowships to cater for new people, God sent them a great harvest.
I believe that this is a Kingdom principle. If the church is designed to cater for the unchurched then God will entrust the church with many new people. People should never be reduced to mere targets or goals. They need to be treasured as unique individuals.
a. Open the Front Door.
It’s important to realize that any new church will grow from basically 4 sources:
i) New Christians.
iii) Contacts of members.
iv) Biological growth (Members having children).
Consequently it is important to have a detailed program for the integration of people into the church on all these 4 levels.
b. Close the Back Door.
In the parable of the Lost Sheep in Luke 15:1-6, we see how the Good Shepherd values even the one lost sheep. At no point do we get the impression that the other 99 were neglected, the point that is made is that they all were catered for. Often in churches the back door is as big as the front door. The result of this is that the church never really increases in size. Therefore it becomes imperative to have a program that looks out for those that need extra care and friendship. It has been said that for people to remain in a new church they need to form at least six meaningful relationships in the first few months.
If people feel loved and cared for, they will remain. I’ve seen people stay in relatively ‘dead’ churches simply because they feel loved and cared for. One of the best methods for closing the back door is a vibrant small groups program that is specifically designed for the interests of your area.
3. ENCOURAGE A CAUSE MENTALITY, NOT A TASK MENTALITY.
Nehemiah 2:18; Ex 9:16; 2 Tim 1:11-12.
The reason why Nehemiah was able to build the walls of Jerusalem so quickly was because he motivated the people to become passionate about a cause, rather than a mere building program. A cause is something you believe in, something that grips your imagination and your passion. People will lay down their lives for a cause, certainly not a job. They love to believe in something, something worthwhile. And what better cause to believe in than seeing people plucked from satan’s clutches and planted into God’s Kingdom.
Every church planter needs to impart to the church members a clearly defined cause. It will give the church direction and goals. Your vision statement must have within it a clear presentation of what you see as your cause. This will keep the vision alive. When every member’s personal vision for the Kingdom falls in line with the overall church vision then you become an army all working together for a common cause. When people have this level of involvement you will discover that they own the church vision and become a highly motivated team.
4. PROVIDE STRONG LEADERSHIP.
1 Peter 5:2-3
Strong leadership is not a dictatorship. The Kingdom of God has no place for arrogant, overbearing personalities domineering those in their charge. Nor is it a democracy that allows the people to make all the directive decisions. Leadership needs to be seen more in the light of Theocracy, which is God speaking through His ordained leaders.
Because of this responsibility, leadership requires enormous strength of character. A leader must be motivational, inspirational, and revelational.
5. TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN.
2 Tim 2:2
The fifth way of building a healthy church is to train people. The future strength of a church lies in the people that are being trained. Many leaders complain that they don’t have able people to train but most people become able only after they have been trained.
When looking for people to train, first look for the following three ingredients:
i) Love for God. ii) Love for people. iii) Faithfulness. Any person exhibiting these three characteristics ought to be considered for some type of training. Every leader in the church needs to be encouraged to also be training someone. When this happens there is a steady flow of leadership coming up from the ranks.
With a positive atmosphere a church will grow almost in spite of itself. But without it, it seems that no matter what you do, not much happens. It’s important to ask the Holy Spirit what must be done to nurture a positive atmosphere in the very beginning of the new church and to keep it going throughout the life of the church.
12. 21 WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR CHURCH ATTENDANCE!
Here are a few suggestions that will help churches grow. Not all will apply to every church, but maybe several of these suggestions can be adapted to your situation.
1. Give people Hope. Be Positive.
i) Present the Good News to people.
ii) Those who bring a note of despair will destroy churches.
iii) Those who bring a note of hope will build churches.
2. Give people Quality Preaching
i) Have your preaching analyzed by a cross section of your congregation.
ii) Prepare series of sermons rather than ‘ad hoc’ hit and miss preaching.
iii) Do courses on Preaching.
iv) Listen and take notes from exceptional preachers similar to your style.
3. Give people an Exciting Service.
i) Don’t bore people with long services that get to their destination too slow.
ii) Increase the pace.
iii) Get rid of pauses in between segments.
4. Give the Holy Spirit room to move.
i) No-one can make a service more exciting than the Holy Spirit.
ii) He will touch people where they are at.
iii) Healings, prophecy, encouragement will all flow when the Holy Spirit moves.
5. Give people an opportunity to be Prayed Up.
i) Prayer builds expectation.
ii) Expectant people have faith.
iii) Faith sees results.
6. Give people a Personal Letter.
i) Write to your people, using regular mail outs.
ii) Write them personal notes on special occasions, e.g.
a. To widows on the anniversary of spouse’s death.
b. To schoolchildren on the first day of school.
c. To Highschoolers on first day of High School.
d. To volunteers who help out.
e. To special wedding anniversaries, etc.
7. Give people Personalized Pastoral Care.
i) Some people need more of this than others.
ii) People need to know that Pastoral Care/Counselling is readily available if needed.
iii) Be aware that certain people don’t like their privacy interrupted. Their attitude is, “all we want to know is that you are available when we need you”.
8. Give people a Sense of Ownership.
i) Getting people involved will give them a sense of ownership.
ii) Have people greeting in the car park, at the door, involved with music, teaching, etc
iii)Have people fulfilling their ministry.
9. Give people Special Theme Sundays.
i) Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Pentecost.
ii) Have special Sundays for your town, city, country, Australia Day, Anzac Day.
iii) Have a committee that will organize and implement special features for this day.
iv) The pastor organizes his sermon to reflect the theme of these special days.
10. Give people a Great Music Programme.
i)Adapt your music to the people you want to reach. Make sure that the majority of the church is in line with this vision.
ii) Music should add to the pace of the church not slow it down.
iii) Your music should consistently aim for excellence.
iv) Let the music aid worship not detract from it.
11. Give people the Choice of an Extra Service Time.
i) 80% of congregations add at least 10-20% growth with the addition of an extra morning worship service.1
ii)75% that cut back from 2 to 1 services on Sunday report decrease in numbers.
iii)Keep in mind that when your facilities are 80% full, people tend to feel uncomfortable.
12. Give Children a sense of belonging in your services.
i) Make children feel part of the congregation by catering special services for them.
ii) Have them do special items.
iii) Have special family days where the sermon is a children’s story.
13. Give people Special Outreaches over the summer break.
i) Most churches wind down during the summer, numbers drop, offerings drop.
ii) Put on specials that attract people who are wanting something to do during holidays.
iii) Have an outreach geared to the new people who move into your community during this time.
14. Give your Advertising Budget an extra boost.
i) A good rule of thumb is to allow 5% of your budget for advertising and public relations.2
ii) Most productive channels usually are:
1) direct mail,
5) Shoppers dockets,
iii) Saturate your community with advertising about your church.
iv) Make sure you have something good and beneficial to advertise. People don’t respond to negative advertising. (See Appendix D for advice on advertising.)
15. Give people a Choice of Small Groups they can relate to.
i) Common interest is what attracts people together.
ii) Churches need to target the common interests within their church and community.
iii) Youth, Pre- school mothers, 4 wheel drive enthusiasts, fishermen, etc, can all formulate their own groups under the church umbrella.
16. Give your Resources to where your Priorities are.
i) If your priority is to reach children, then an appropriate proportion of your budget, both time and finances, needs to be directed in that area.
ii) Whatever a church’s priority is, the resources given it ought to reflect its standing in priority.
17. Give your people a Facility of which they can be proud.
i) Keep it clean.
ii) Use lots of signs.
iii) Provide a nursery and adequate toilets.
iv) Consider parking.
v) Take acoustics into consideration.
vi) Provide room for fellowship before and after meetings.
vii) Provide for adequate climactic comfort. Air conditioning, fans, heaters, etc.
18. Have an Invite Your Special Friend Day.
i) Give the church a program to which they will feel confident in bringing an unsaved friend.
ii) Get people to commit themselves to bringing a friend.
iii) Print up a special invitation that will give the event a special touch.
19. Give people a sense of Consistency in the Preaching and Programme.
i) If you hit the mark only 1 Sunday out of 2, the inconsistency will hurt you.
ii) People only come when they know they can expect a certain standard.
iii) Consistency builds confidence.
iv) Don’t allow just anyone to preach and sing. Make sure they have a level of expertise that is consistent with your meeting.
v) To build your growth, build your quality.
20. Give your church an Extended Month Long Crusade.
i) Find an evangelist who relates well to you and your church.
ii) Prepare your people for the marathon by rostering them for certain nights, especially those who have families.
iii) Allow God to have His way in the meetings.
iv) Pray up, advertise well, plan well and you will benefit.
21. Create Multi-Entry Levels within your church.
i) For many years churches have mainly focused on drawing people only through the “front door” of a worship service (ie) word of mouth invitations, evangelistic campaigns, etc.
ii) Quite a few churches are now introducing the unchurched to Christianity through “side door” activities (ie) weight watchers clinics, aerobics, etc.
iii) These “side door” activities introduces the unchurched to Christians first. From this point they can eventually be led to the church.
13. CONCLUSION: PUTTING TOGETHER A CHURCH PLANTING PROPOSAL
Most people fail because they fail to plan. You will greatly increase the probability of success by putting together a carefully planned church planting proposal. This proposal needs to answer the following basic questions:
1. WHAT KIND OF CHURCH AM I GOING TO PLANT?
i) Work out specifically the style you are going to follow.
ii) Is it different enough to warrant its existence in a town of other churches?
iii) Is it going to be easy to handle because it’s a natural flow from the church planter’s spirit, ministry style and giftings?
2. WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE AM I TRYING TO REACH?
i) The style you adopt has to be relatable to the people you are trying to reach.
ii) It is better to focus on a particular kind of people than adopting the ‘scatter gun’ approach.
iii) A study of the people in your target area will give you a clearer picture of the people you should be trying to reach.
3. WHAT STRATEGY WILL I ADOPT?
i) You will need a strategy for:
a. 6-12 months before the church starts.
b. How to reach your foundation core people.
c. How you are going to launch off.
d. The first 12 months after the launch.
ii) What type of teaching will I introduce into the foundation of the church?
iii) Will I start off with an evangelistic outreach?
iv) Will I start as a home group first or go into a public place?
4. WHAT RESOURCES DO I HAVE?
i) Do I have a team?
ii) Do I have equipment?
iii) Do I have money?
iv) Make a list of your resources.
5. TO WHOM AM I ACCOUNTABLE?
i) Accountability is imperative. Without it we are an easy target for the enemy.
ii) A Father in the faith.
iii) A Mother Church.
iv) A District Superintendent.
6. IS IT CLEAR IN MY SPIRIT?
i) If it is clear, you will be able to put it down on paper.
a. It will be specific.
b. It will have goals.
c. It will have a mission statement.
d. It will have a vision statement.
IF IT IS NOT CLEAR: WAIT UNTIL IT BECOMES CLEAR.
WHEN IT IS CLEAR IN YOUR SPIRIT IT WILL INSPIRE OTHERS:
a. To support you.
b To pray for you.
c. To believe in you.
d. To follow you.
Once you have put your proposal together then you have finally embarked on an exciting journey towards church planting. It is then important to submit this proposal to your supervisors, church planting director and your father in the faith. These people will help you, not hinder you.
I believe that Church Planting is God’s strategy to revival. Right across the world today, God is raising up an army of church planters. These men and women are changing the spirit of their communities from being God-defying to being God glorifying.
My prayer is that God will birth a vision in your spirit that one day will manifest itself in the establishment of God glorifying churches.
EXAMPLES OF CHURCH MISSION STATEMENTS1
1. To know Him and make Him known.
2. To reach the lost at any cost.
3. To worship, reach, build and pray.
4. To save the unsaved and support the saved.
5. Exalt, edify, equip and evangelize.
6. To send the labourers into the fields for the harvest, armed with the tools needed to reap, replenish and grow.
7. To love God by loving His people; we will accomplish His plan, in His timing, through His strength, for His glory.
8. Preach the Gospel, teach the Bible, create community among the saints, show compassion to the needy.
9. Restore all of mankind to a right relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
10. Establish God’s Kingdom on earth, through people.
11. Use every resource at our disposal to transform people’s lives through authentic Christian ministry.
12. Carry out the Great Commission, live out the Great Commandment, pursue the Great Commander.
13. Know, love and serve God in all walks of life, at all times, using every resource available.
EXAMPLES OF CHURCH VISION STATEMENTS1
1. To provide the greater metropolitan area with a church geared to the needs of baby boomers who are nominal Christians, offering a ministry that is sensitive in personality and characterized by a loving, forgiving, accepting environment.
2. To equip professionals in New York City to impact their web of relationships, focusing on reaching non-Christians through cell groups and marketplace ministries that address urban needs.
3. To be a growing community, passionately modeling the life of Christ through significant relationships with seekers (as well as believers). We will demonstrate the relevance of Christianity through contemporary and creative expressions of our faith.
4. To identify, train and support believers as leaders who carry the ministry of the local church into the world. We will provide them with a place to encounter God in worship and encouragement.
5. To reach out to the greater metropolitan area toward raising up four new churches by 2000; to demonstrate God’s love, creativity and power by caring for people and working in cooperation with other ministries to reach the region for Christ.
6. To provide a forum for significant relationships for residents in the southern portion of the country. We will assist people in building relationships that respond to people’s needs, hurts and interests, in the context of a culturally relevant experience with Christ.
7. To present Christ in a contemporary, creative, credible and caring way to all people, in an environment where people from the community can grow to their full potential in Christ.
8. To offer older adults a secure environment that provides personal care, with outlets for community service.
9. To be a centre for Christian education, unsurpassed in quality; giving people alternative routes to discover the totality of the Christian faith.
SAMPLE RESPONSE CARD FOR A PUBLIC INTEREST MEETING
SYDNEY CHRISTIAN CENTRE
“Bringing God and People Together”
RESPONSE CARD TO PUBLIC INTEREST MEETING.
Name: Mr, Mrs, Miss ………………………………………………………………………………….
Address: …………………………. ……………………………………………………………….
Children: …………………………… Age…………….
………………………….. Age……………. ………………………….. Age……………..
Are you presently attending a church? YES/NO
If yes, Name of the Church …………………………………………………………………………………………………..
I am interested in the following area (please tick)
1. Being part of the new church ……….
2. To help in promotions ……….
3. To give prayer support ……….
4. To help financially ……….
5. Willing to help in the following ways………………………………………………..
6. No further interest ……….
Thank you for your interest. May God bless you.
20 COMMON BUT AVOIDABLE MISTAKES MADE IN CHURCH COMMUNICATIONS!!1
1. Promoting the features of your product or service rather than its benefits to the target audience.
2. Advertising benefits that are of little importance to your target audience.
3. Seeking creative development (or approval) from a committee rather than from one or a small number of individuals who are very focused on the task at hand.
4. Operating with unrealistic expectations in mind regarding the ability of your communications to reach the audience and persuade them to act as desired.
5. Promising more than your church is likely to deliver.
6. Attempting to have an impact through communications with a budget that is too small.
7. Not getting the message in front of the target audience often enough; single-exposure communications have limited impact.
8. Trying to be too creative. The communications that win awards are often not the ads.
9. Imitating the communications efforts of other churches and ministries.
10. Making fun of the audience: Regardless of your intentions, the audience is notoriously thin-skinned.
11. Entertaining instead of selling people your main idea.
12. Engaging in negative advertising: people often remember the negativity rather than the positive solution you are offering.
13. Failure to gain objective feedback on how the target audience responds to the message and its execution.
14. Using the wrong medium to convey the information to the intended audience.
15. Focusing your copy on the product or service rather than upon your audience.
16. Setting arbitrary limits on the amount of copy rather than using as much copy as it takes to efficiently make your point.
17. Using the wrong appeal: when you don’t know the audience intimately, sometimes it’s easy to misjudge what they perceive to be the most attractive appeal.
18. Complexity: The most effective communications are those which demonstrate simplicity in form and content.
19. Failure to arouse people’s curiosity.
20. Confusing graphics: people will not make the time to disentangle that which appears convoluted.
VARIOUS AUTHORS VIEWS OF CHURCH GROWTH PRINCIPLES.1
1. Wendell Belew (1971)
1. A definite purpose.
2. Authoritative leadership.
3. A developed growth strategy.
4. An understanding of their community.
5. People involvement.
2. Harold Fickett (1972)
1. Christ centered.
2. Biblically based.
4. Regenerated membership.
5. Confidence in leadership.
6. Scripturally financed.
7. Adequately staffed.
8. Motivated by faith
9. Diversified in service.
10. Balanced in emphases.
3. Robert Schuller (1974)
2. Surplus parking.
6. Possibility thinking.
7. Good cash flow.
4. Lyle Schaller (1975)
1. Bible preaching.
2. Emphasis on evangelism.
3. Changing membership fellowship circle.
4. Opportunities to commitment.
5. Imported leadership.
6. Specialties in ministry.
7. Minister who likes people.
5. C. Peter Wagner (1976)
1. The pastor.
2. The people of the church.
3. Church size.
4. Structure and function.
5. Homogeneous units.
6. Charles Chaney and Ron Lewis (1977)
1. Growing churches know where they are going.
2. Growing churches focus on homogeneous units.
3. Growing churches mobilize and train the laity.
4. Growing churches have diversified ministries.
5. Growing churches utilize small group dynamics.
6. Growing churches major on direct evangelism.
7. Growing churches go forward in faith.
7. Donald McGavran and Winfield Arn (1977)
1.. Churches grow as they discover church growth principles.
2. Churches grow as they respect biblical principles.
3. Churches grow as they yield themselves to God’s unswerving purpose.
4. Churches grow as priorities are given to effective evangelism.
5. Churches grow as they rightly discern the body.
6. Churches grow as they rightly discern the community.
7. Churches grow as they find new groups and ways to disciple.
8. Churches grow as they structure for growth.
9. Churches grow as they risk for growth.
8. R. Daniel Reeves and Ronald Jenson (1984)
1. . A common purpose and philosophy.
2. Effective leadership.
3. Mobilized membership.
4. Multiple-Level commitments.
5. Balance between evangelizing and nourishing.
6. Linking the congregation to the community.
1 Thompson’s Chain Reference Bible, s.v. “Outline History of the Apostles”. p. 241.
2The Wycliffe Biographical Dictionary of the Church, s.v. “Patrick”.
3John G. Lake, Adventures in God (Tulsa, Oklahoma : Harrison House, Inc., 1981), p. 130.
4A.O.G. in Australia report to National Conference 1993 by Dr. David Cartledge.
5 C. Peter Wagner, Church Planting for a Greater Harvest (Ventura, California : Regal Books, 1990), p. 11.
6Aubrey Malphurs, Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century (Grand Rapids, Michigan : Baker Book House, 1992), p. 33 – 35.
7Robert E. Logan, Church Planters Work-Book (Pasadena, California : Charles E. Fuller Institute for Evangelism and Church Growth, 1993)
8Lyle E. Schaller, 44 Quotations for Church Planters (Nashville, Ten. : Abingdon Press, 1991), p. 24 – 25.
1 C. Peter Wagner, Church Planting for a Greater Harvest (Ventura, California : Regal Books, 1990), p. 48.
1 C. Peter Wagner, Church Planting for a Greater Harvest (Ventura, California : Regal Books, 1990), p. 59 – 60.
2 Josh Hunt, Let it Grow (Grand Rapids, Mich : Baker Book House, 1993), p. 9.
3 Lyle E. Schaller, 44 Ways to Increase Church Attendance (Nashville, Ten : Abingdon Press, 1988), p. 50.
4 Donald McGaveran, Understanding Church Growth, 3rd ed (Grand Rapids, Mich : Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990), p. 69.
1 Robert E. Logan, Church Planters Work-Book (Pasadena, California : Charles E. Fuller Institute for Evangelism and Church Growth, 1993).
1 C. Peter Wagner, Church Planting for a Greater Harvest (Ventura, California : Regal Books, 1990), p. 97.
1 Aubrey Malphurs, Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century (Grand Rapids, Mich : Baker Book House, 1992), p. 254.
1 George Barna, Church Marketing, Breaking Ground for the Harvest (Ventura, California : Regal Books, 1992).
2 Josh Hunt, Let it Grow (Grand Rapids, Mich : Baker Book House, 1993), p. 145 – 146.
1 Win Arn is a Church Growth consultant.
1 Josh Hunt, Let it Grow (Grand Rapids, Mich : Baker Book House, 1993), p. 145 – 146.
2 Lyle E. Schaller, 44 Ways to Increase Church Attendance (Nashville, Ten : Abingdon Press, 1988), p. 76.
3 R. Daniel Reeves and Ronald Jenson, Always Advancing : Modern Strategies for Church Growth (San Bernardino, California : Here’s Life Publishers, Inc. 1984), p. 72 – 81.
1 George Barna, Church Marketing, Breaking Ground for the Harvest (Ventura, California : Regal Books, 1992), p. 135.
1 George Barna, Church Marketing, Breaking Ground for the Harvest (Ventura, California : Regal Books, 1992), p. 136.
1 George Barna, Church Marketing, Breaking Ground for the Harvest (Ventura, California : Regal Books, 1992), p. 212.
1 R. Daniel Reeves & Ronald Jenson, Always Advancing : Modern Strategies for Church Growth (San Bernardino, California : Here’s Life Publishers, Inc., 1984), p. 155 – 160.
Barna, George. Church Marketing, Breaking Ground for the Harvest. Ventura, California: Regal Books, 1992.
___________ . Marketing the Church. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Navipress, 1988.
Brock, Charles D. The Principles and Practice of Indigenous Church Planting. Manila : Baptist Center, Southern Baptist Mission, 1980.
Castillo, Met. Let’s Plant Churches. A Manual for Church Planting. Manila : Alliance Publishers, Inc., 1991.
Chaney, Charles L. Church Planting at the End of the Twentieth Century. Wheaton : Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1986.
Cummins, Harold. Guide Book for Starting New Churches. Nairobi: Baptist Publications House, 1980.
Dibbert, Michael T. Spiritual Leadership, Responsible Management. Grand Rapids, Mich : Ministry Resource Library, 1984.
Faircloth, Samuel D. Church Planting for Reproduction. Grand Rapids : Baker Book House, 1991.
Godwin, David E. Church Planting Methods. Desoto, Texas : Lifeshore Communications, 1984.
Hesselgrave, David J. Planting Churches Cross-Culturally : A Guide for Home and Foreign Missions. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1980.
Josh. Let it Grow! Changing to Multi-Congregation Churches. Grand Rapids : Baker Book House, 1993.
Logan, Robert E. Church Planters Work-Book. Pasadena, California : Charles E. Fuller Institute for Evangelism and Church Growth, 1993.
Malphurs, Aubrey. Planting Growing Churches for the Twenty First Century. Grand Rapids : Baker Book House, 1992.
Flavius J. The Book of Acts and Church Growth. Cleveland : Pathway Press, 1990.
McGavran, Donald. Understanding Church Growth, 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich : Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1990.
Larry. Starting New Churches. Brussels, Belgium : International Correspondence Institute, 1984.
Reeves, Daniel R., and Jenson, Ronald. Always Advancing : Modern Strategies for Church Growth. San Bernardino, California : Here’s Life Publishers, Inc., 1984.
Shank, David W. and Stutzman, Ervin R. Creating Communities of the Kingdom. Scottdale, Pennsylvania : Herald Press, 1988.
Schaller, Lyle E. 44 Questions for Church Planters. Nashville : Abingdon Press, 1991.
____________ . 44 Ways to Increase Church Attendance. Nashville : Abingdon Press, 1992.
____________ . Effective Church Planning. Nashville : Abingdon Press, 1988.
____________ . Growing Plans. Nashville : Abingdon Press, 1983.
Wagner, Peter C. Church Growth : State of the Art. Wheaton : Tyndale House Publishers, 1986.
____________ . Church Planting for a Greater Harvest. Ventura, California : Regal Books, 1990.