Getting a church plant up and running is tough. It requires unbelievable levels of patience, endurance, and creativity, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the constant to-do lists that have to be checked off before your ministry is ready to open its doors. There’s no silver bullet that will make your church plant successful and stress-free, but keeping a few simple facts in mind during your planning will definitely help.
1. It’s Okay to Go Slowly
There’s a reason that the adage “Slow and steady wins the race” is still so common today.
Church planters often feel a lot of pressure to get their ministries up, running, and drawing big crowds. Don’t fall into that trap!
Take your time to make good decisions about your church and the way it runs. Rushing yourself increases stress, makes it easier to make mistakes, and can cause burnout.
As long as you’re making steady progress, taking time to examine all of your choices will help you get your church started on the right foot.
2. Realism Is Important
Brand new churches need staff that are full of ideas and enthusiasm about their ministry. Having a big vision will help you get your church established, but don’t forget to set realistic goals.
This is especially important when you start making decisions about fundraising and initial spending. Setting a budget is a delicate balancing act; you want to make sure you have realistic expectations for your fundraising, participation, etc., but you don’t want to underestimate your ministry, either.
Instead, think realistically about your budget, goals, and your congregants’ interests. You can even ask them to help during the planning and to volunteer when the big day arrives!
Being pragmatic about all of your goals will help your church grow steadily and organically.
Be bold, but make sure you remember factors like your members’ economic status, the city your town is in, and other circumstances that will affect your church’s growth.
3. It’s Good to Focus On What You Have
You have a lot of time, effort, prayer, and work invested in your church. While you grow and plan for the future, remember to be thankful for what you already have established.
Focusing exclusively on what you still want for your church and not focusing on the progress you’ve made will breed discontent, doubt, and fear. Your big hopes and ideas for your church will spur you onto great things, but thankfulness is also important. Count your blessings!
4. You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
Church planters are, by default, in a position of authority. You’re going to have a lot of burdens to shoulder while you get your church plant up and running, and being comfortable asking for help is huge.
Surround yourself with people who will encourage you, support you, pray for you, and help you out if you need assistance. Whether you need help that is financial, spiritual, emotional, or tangible in any way, having someone to give you a hand is valuable.
You should also not be afraid to ask members of your community for donations. The monetary support of local individuals can help raise your congregants’ spirits and can help you meet specific financial goals as a small, up and coming church.
A church plant takes tons of effort from many different people. Don’t let pride get in the way; ask for help!
5. Building Relationships Can Help You Succeed
A lone-wolf mindset will not help your church do well. As a church planter, you’ll have to learn to work with people and companies in your community. That necessitates building good relationships!
Networking is invaluable to helping get a new church started; if you need a good electrician or someone to ladle punch after church next Sunday, having good connections will help you get what you need quickly and effectively.
And just so you know, there’s a difference between networking and being self-serving. Don’t second-guess making your network work for you. Just make sure you return the favor!
6. Peace and Quiet Should Be a Priority
Stave off burnout and stress by taking time away from the church to recharge. And not just the physical meeting place, either.
Take time away from the business of starting and running a church, too. Do what helps you refresh yourself, whether that’s:
- Spending extra time with family
- Reading a book
- Going for a run
- Spending time in study
Carving out a time for rest and relaxation will help keep you mentally sharp and should be a priority for anyone working for a church plant, whether you’re a pastor or a secretary.
7. People, Not Things, Are What Really Make a Church
Every fledgling church has a list of things they want. Nicer chairs. Better microphones. A bigger congregation. A new building. Whatever it is that you want for your church, it’s not as important as the people who are already attending every Sunday. There will always be things that you want for your church, and you’ll probably get them some day.
But don’t let your material needs and wants overshadow the fact that your church’s most important asset is the people it already has. Focus on shepherding your members, on teaching them well, and on ministering to your community. The rest will come later.