TEN STEPS IN PLANTING A CHURCH
Please keep in mind that the 10 steps given are considered basic; other steps could be added. Circumstances may necessitate a change in chronological order.
1. Contact the national Home Missions Department.
a. Although no actual placement is done at the national level, this department is prepared to provide information on areas in need of church plantings. Students who are graduating will receive suggestions on when to approach the district to which the Lord is leading. Names and addresses of district personnel will be supplied.
b. Church planting books and other helpful literature are available from the Home Missions Department.
2. Send resume (with photo) and cover letter to the district superintendent.
a. Convey to the superintendent that God is calling you to a church planting ministry.
b. Be thorough but humble in the resume-sell yourself. Limit the length of the account to one page.
c. If no response is received within 30 days, follow up that initial contact.
3. After determining the city/town to which God is calling you, obtain approval of the district for a church planting. With the district, work out these specifics:
a. Date of planting.
b. What (if any) financial support can be expected from the district.
c. Ascertain whether a mother church can be enlisted to give people and finances.
4. Start demographic research (preferably by a personal visit or visits to the area.)
(A minimum of 20 hours should be spent in the community. At the end of your research you should be able to describe community people, educationally, economically, vocationally, and culturally.)
a. Sources of information ordinarily available are: Bureau of the Census, public libraries, city and regional planning offices, local chambers of commerce, newspaper research departments, radio stations, university libraries and sociology departments, ministerial groups, public utility companies, schoolboards, realtors, park commissions, and welfare agencies.
b. Define geographical boundaries. A driving time of 30 minutes should be the maximum for members of the congregation.
c. Describe population changes which have taken place and will be taking place in the community.
d. Define the people groups of the area.
e. Learn all you can about the life situation of the target group: age, sex, family structure, family income, housing, employment, education, mobility, and religion.
f. Determine the extent of need for a new church or churches in the area. List all evangelical churches in the community along with their seating capacities.
5. Make arrangements for taking up residence in the new community.
a. Obtain housing, secure utilities, contact the post office.
b. Enrol children in the local school.
c. If employment is imperative for yourself or your spouse, pursue the possibilities. Complete arrangements may necessitate another trip to the new location.
6. Move to the city of your calling.
a. Make moving day an exciting adventure for the family.
b. Have a positive attitude toward the move-God is calling you and your family to this community to plant HIS CHURCH!
7. Start interacting with the people in the community.
a. Do door-to-door canvassing, using survey sheets which ask for the following information: Are you an active church member? What do you view as the greatest need in this community? Why do people not attend church? If you were looking for a church, for what things would you look? What advice should I have as the pastor of a new church? What could I do for you? Are you interested in learning more about our new church?
b. Talk informally in public places with people of the community. Make friends.
c. Be a good listener.
8. Work toward building a nucleus of people.
a. Conduct home Bible studies. Keep the studies low-key. Do not be controversial. Study fundamental literature. Have definite starting and ending times.
b. Arrange needs-oriented events; such as, a marriage class, film on parenting, language study, and evangelistic meetings.
9. Secure a suitable meeting place for the congregation.
a. Public schools often are used.
b. Another church’s facilities usually are suitable.
c. Motel conference rooms sometimes are available.
d. Other possibilities are unlimited.
10. Start regular church services.
a. Do advertise. Planting a new church is parallel, in a sense, to establishing any business venture-people must know the church exists.
b. Make sure the facility is clean, neat, and as attractive as possible. Seize the opportunity to make a good first impression.
c. Spend many hours in prayer for this first service. The presence of the Lord will draw the people to Him and back to your new church.
d. Expect a great response. It is the Lord’s work! He is with you and never will let you down! A positive attitude is contagious and will rub off on the congregation and that entire community.
Since most church openings occur through God’s call on the life of a minister, important factors to consider before planting a church are:
1. Be certain God has called you to be a preacher/minister.
2. Know assuredly God wants you to become involved in church planting.
These basic factors will be a source of strength once involved in this difficult, though most rewarding, assignment.
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE CHURCH PLANTER
Others could be listed, but the following qualifications are considered absolutely essential:
*Faith in God
*Man/woman of prayer
*Financial management skills
(The above material was published by the Assemblies of God, Springfield, MO.)
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