What I Would or Wouldn’t Do Again if I Were Planting a Church

Perhaps it is because I am in my second church plant, but some of the most frequent questions I receive come from church planters. The two questions I get asked most: If you were planting another church…

What would you do differently?
What would you do the same?

Those are great questions, because the first few times I had to answer them it made me think through some of our best practices and some of the mistakes we’ve made along the way (and we’ve made plenty 🙂 ).

So, here are my answers…

The same:

Caged momentum – If I were planting a church again, I would make people wait. I’d make the core team wait to launch, I’d make people wait for small groups until we were ready, and I’d make the students wait for a student service until leaders were in place. Whatever the ministry, I’d make people wait until we had things as planned as possible. There’s also the principle of missing an opportunity, but the power of caged momentum cannot be dismissed and I’d do it again. I wrote more about that principle HERE.

Holy discontent – I would look for people to help launch the church who have a strong desire for something more in their spiritual life, but who haven’t been able to find it. I wrote about that HERE.

Give my vision away – I’d give others ownership in the plant. I’d let them decide how we do children’s ministry or what we do to serve our community. The more they own the more they’ll be motivated to do. I wrote about that HERE


Not shy away from church people – Early in our church plant, in an effort to stay true to our mission of reaching the unchurched and so as not to offend other churches, we tended to run from those who already belonged to another church. In the process, we injured some people who were also sensing God doing something in their life and we made ourselves very leadership poor. I wrote about that HERE.

Built structure in early – In an effort not to be bound by traditions and organizational bureaucracy, we had little formal structure when we began. As we’ve grown adding structure become unavoidable to prevent chaos. We’ve learned it’s much more difficult to add structure once the organization is established. I would add the intended structure early, but in a way that allows for continual growth. You can read more about that HERE.

Challenge people more – I wouldn’t shy away from challenging people to higher standards in their personal life, even while trying to reach people who may be new to their faith. We’ve learned that people want and need to be challenged, along with feeling loved, accepted, and valued. I wrote about that HERE.

There’s my list. Keep in mind these are my observations. Others on our team may have different answers.

Have you ever started something from scratch? What are some things you would or wouldn’t do again?

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8 thoughts on “What I Would or Wouldn’t Do Again if I Were Planting a Church

  1. Ron, I particularly like your comments about "Caged Momentum." In my ministry of helping pastors launch disciple-making as a process using Simple Discipleship principles I find that many leaders want to launch "next Sunday" even though they are coached to build urgency. Building urgency is one of THE most important steps to successfully launching something new whether it is a church or a new discipleship process. It seems that patience is not a widely held value among church planters or pastors. However, it is not passive patience; instead it must be an active patience as a farmer or gardener has come to appreciate.