The article was written by Tony Merida, Nate Akin, and Matt Sigmon from Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. Part 1 can be viewed here & Part 2 here.
9. Expect Support from Unlikely Partners
Many church planters expect to get funding from mega churches, big time individual givers and large missions funding organizations (i.e. NAMB), and that may very well happen. But most of our support came from unlikely places, such as young pastors, individuals being sacrificial with their money, and smaller churches that have a church planting passion. So don’t be afraid to look for support from all kinds of different places, and don’t despair if it doesn’t come from the sources you first expected to help you. Ask for support, make your needs known and trust God to provide.
10. Lead from the Pulpit
In addition to preaching the Word faithfully week by week, we have also found that the best place to cast the vision for the church is from the pulpit/stage. The best way to do this is by practicing “the drip method of preaching.” That is, each week, through your application of the text, say something about the mission/vision of the church. A lot of pastors have one Sunday a year to try to lead from the pulpit, but we don’t think this is the best approach. Instead, as you seek to apply the text, consider applying it to: believers, unbelievers, and the church as a whole. Let them hear the vision regularly rather than annually.
Side Note: One of the practical reasons that we take the Lord’s Supper every week (in addition to believing it’s the biblical pattern) is that it emphasizes what we think is most important: the gospel. We want our gospel-centered emphasis to permeate the entire worship service. So we want to preach to the ear (biblical exposition) as well as the eye (Lord’s Supper), and cast a gospel centered vision for the church from the stage.
11. Be Sensitive to the Un-churched
Guests appreciate clear directions, good signage, hospitality and well-explained aspects of corporate worship. It is possible that many have never been to corporate worship and it might seem completely foreign to them. For others, it may have been years since they attended corporate worship and many will be skeptical and anxious when they come to your door. We try to remember this as we prepare for each Sunday.
Further, we also try to intentionally address the un-churched person in the sermon, by giving running application, and also by having a few “asides” where we address them more directly. This is to make things clear to them, but also to encourage our people to bring their lost friends with them, knowing that the pastor will speak to them.
12. Don’t Be Surprised if People Leave
There are a lot of horror stories about core teams and church plants generally. Many books say that you will lose a significant portion of your charter members. We have been blessed by losing very few of core team members (two are moving away from Raleigh for valid reasons). The core team is the backbone of the church. They serve in a variety of ways (we believe some of this has to do to with the intense assessment process and with setting clear expectations) and can be trusted to help the elders build community, disciple others, and communicate the vision and mission of the church.
However, as you launch, don’t be surprised and don’t despair if some leave. This may be due to a variety of reasons. Some that leave will be those that loved (idolized?) one part of your vision but didn’t necessarily buy into the whole thing (i.e. they may really buy into some of your justice ministries but not really like covenant membership or small groups). Others may expect to be in a leadership position, but leave when you didn’t give it to them when and how they desired. And some will leave for other reasons.
We would appeal to those planting not to be numbers hungry (or idolatrous). Don’t be fearful that you might lose people or that you have to gain them to be self-sustaining. Instead, fight for their growth in Christ and be their shepherd(s) even when that might mean having direct conversations with them that cause them to leave. And stay faithful to the gospel and your vision. Remember lesson 1: it’s all about Jesus.
Side Note: We have also learned the value of having face-to-face and direct conversations as we sought to plant and see this church grow. It can cause some awkwardness, but in the end it is the biblical pattern, it will never leave people wondering, and it will help to cut down on gossip and division.
13. Be Prepared, Work Hard & Rest in Christ
We believe that preparation and hard work are absolutely essential in a church plant. While some planters are work-horses who need to learn how to take a nap, others are not prepared for the hard work it requires. Planting is not glorious work; it’s more like farming.
So don’t take your cue from college basketball and be a “one and done” church planter. A lot of guys want to get through seminary quickly, and become a pastor and plant a church as soon as they graduate. Just because you graduated seminary (or didn’t graduate) doesn’t mean you’re ready to plant a church.
You must prepare in every way, and your calling to be a church planter should be affirmed by your local (sending) church.
While you prepare, get your ecclesiology straight. Know what you believe about church polity. Prepare to set a vision for small groups, child care, and global missions. Have a theology of suffering, divorce, and gender roles. Have a theology and philosophy of corporate worship. Know how to financially survive. Work at your preaching skills.
Then, we would encourage you to be part of a church that can give you good field preparation. We would encourage guys to serve under pastors that can train and prepare you for a year or two before sending you out to plant.
Finally, embrace the privilege of working hard to plant a church, proclaiming the gospel and making Jesus known. Expect hardship, but persevere by the grace that is in Jesus. Pray with childlike faith, trusting the Lord to provide for you. Mediate on the gospel daily, finding in Christ your identity, joy and rest.
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. It is a blessed privilege to be able to start a church. Most Christians never get that opportunity. You have given very good advice in this article and certainly brought back many memories of my own experience. May the Lord continue to bless your ministries.
Excellent post. I am experiencing a few of these issues
Excellent article! We will be linking to this great post on our site. Keep up the good writing.
I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your information. Your article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to book mark your blog and keep checking for new information about once a week. I opted in for your RSS feed as well.
Great info. Lucky me I ran across your website by accident (stumbleupon). I have book marked it for later!
Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and also the rest of the website is extremely good.
The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a thirty foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share it with someone!
You should be a part of a contest for one of the highest quality sites online. I am going to highly recommend this web site!
Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It is the little changes that make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!
There is certainly a great deal to find out about this topic. I like all the points you have made.
Hi friends, how is the whole thing, and what you wish for to
say about this article, in my view its really awesome designed for me.
大家咪上當呀 這位在 明報 政治版工作的舊同學是應該熟識播道會恩福堂的 他/她可能是東方閃派的或是什麼異端派的 係基督徒一睇到這篇文章及文筆上就知道有好多嘢是不對的 EX:1. 梁燕城 散播 挪亞方舟已被考古學家發現 等謠 ..請問你慿什麼證明挪亞方舟是謠言呢 2. 教會內有三名會眾參與今屆立法會選舉 明白表示 我支持他們 叫會眾善用手上選票作為 王牌 選出 敬畏神 聖靈充滿 的基督徒做議員 三名參選會眾當中 唯一被蘇穎智具體講述其心路歷程 並譽為 有guts 的模範基督徒 是一個 因覺得與信仰有衝突 不願留任為同性戀者爭取權益之公職 的姊妹 I don’t see there is any problem here
Great post. I will be dealing with a few of these issues
I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here.
The sketch is tasteful, your authored material stylish.
nonetheless, you command get got an impatience over that you wish be delivering
the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly again as exactly the same nearly a
lot often inside case you shield this hike.