I feel led to plant a church…What do I do now?

Rural chapel

About once a week…or sometimes more frequently…I get an email or Tweet from someone who says they feel led to plant a church. They almost always have the same question.

What do I do now? What’s my first step?

After answering dozens of times, I decided to put my thoughts in a post.

Step one: Run as fast as you can!

Just kidding. Although that does give you a testimony like Jonah. Just kidding.

Here are 5 immediate steps I would recommend:

Check your heart – Are you sure planting is what you are being called to do…or is it a desire because everyone else is doing it? It’s fine if you are. We need church planters. But, we also need people willing to help established churches thrive. It’s hard work to change what’s established already…but so is church planting. Make sure you know what you’re getting into is what God’s drawing you into.

Check your spouse’s heart – Church planting is not a sole venture. No ministry is for that matter. If you are married, you will need to be on the same page with your spouse. No. Doubt. About. It. Trying to do this without complete buy in from both parties will destroy one or the other…the plant or the marriage.

Determine where you feel called to plant – That’s an important beginning step. Much of your future steps will depend on this one. Many times you already know this and I think God gives tremendous latitude in this. We need churches lots of places. But, this will be one of the most difficult decisions you make if you don’t know. I once thought I wanted to plant in New York City. I still might someday. But, when I spent time talking to God about this, I sensed Him releasing me from the desire and pointing me in another direction.

Find others interested – This is critical. If you tell me you can’t find anyone…and I hear it often…I’d seriously question how successful you are going to be. Just as with Elijah in 1 Kings 19, in my experience, God is always “reserving” (1 Kings 19:18) people who He plans to use in the vision He is shaping in you. To build a body you need those who are part of the body to start.

Find experienced help – It can be a denomination, another church, or an experienced pastor or mentor, but don’t do it alone. Let me say that a little clearer. DON’T DO IT ALONE. Too much has been learned about church planting to miss out on someone else’s experience.

Those are my first 5 initial suggestions. What would you suggest?

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11 thoughts on “I feel led to plant a church…What do I do now?

  1. HI Ron;
    When concerning church planting or as some may say planting churches, we have to consider the cost involved.

    The Lord told His disciples they are to count the cost. For the Lord prepares us. Remember the parable of the builder and the king wanting to go to war. Both the builder and the king had to count their cost involved. There is definitely a price to be paid. It is important for us that we make absolutely certain, where the Lord is leading.

    The cost is not just monetary or financial alone. There are other matters to consider, besides financial gain. When our motives just concern financial gain, we may have to check our motives. When concerning church plants; We have to be willing: – 1) To relate to their society.
    2) Their social standing.

    Paul said; he became all things for all men so that he would be able to share the Gospel with them, even if only one would be saved. His ministry, even cost him his life. He suffered much for the Kingdom of God.

    This may mean you live in more than one culture. Which may make us participants of a dual or multi culture. We therefore may have to adopt those nations, ethnic and people groups, cultures which may be foreign to our own culture, cultural, racial background.

    For there is a definite price involved. Are we prepared to give up our own kindred, nationality , family or people. When the Lord called Abraham, He told him to leave his people, country, land for the promise, which he received from the Lord. Jonah had also been required, of the Lord to leave his people and go to Nineveh. A nation, city foreign to his roots.

    We need to hear specifically from the Lord, when we become involved with any church plant initiative. The price is high, which is true, yet when we act in obedience to the Lord's direction, His calling the reward is greatly worthwhile. We are not only to evangelize, we also need to make disciples of all nations. The whole earth is sure to be filled with the fullness of His Glory.

    God's original blueprint, plan is to draw all mankind, all nations toward Him. When involved in church planting, we are to show our chosen community, God's Love toward them. Remember He first loved us! He also chose us, to be His representatives, (we may even say His Ambassadors;); toward their society.

    There is still much to say, icw this topic. The Lord needs us to become His ambassadors, to the nations. Are we willing to pay the price? The rewards are able to stretch throughout all eternity. Remember the Lord is able to do far abundantly above that which we think or imagine. He anoints us to act as church planters. He also equips us, to fulfill the calling, He places on us, ie on our our lives. Surely the whole world we be filled with His Glory.

    Together In the Lord's Harvest
    Ian R Lottering

    or http://fertiileground.wordpress.com
    http;//www.facebook/Ian Lottering/com
    email: lottering.ian2@gmail.com

  2. Ron,

    Not only do all of the above need to be checked and completed but we need church planters with a desire and heart to evangelize the people they are seeking to reach.

    Another question not asked many times when someone is struggling with planting a church is, "What people, community, town, or city does God want me to evangelize?" I think planting a church has become the focus while ignoring the people in the community.

    The apostle Paul was not a church planter as some say. He was a missionary evangelist with a goal and purpose was to make disciples of Jesus Christ. The church was the out come, or result of the intentional evangelistic teaching and preaching by Paul.

    We can see that Paul's strategy was evangelism at the beginning with disciple making including making more evangelistic disciples. Paul had to first win souls before starting churches from Jerusalem to the capital city of the world, Rome.

    God's plan for making disciples over the span of thirty years across 1,500 miles by sea included that disciples be won first and then the new believers became part of the universal church and later grouped into "house churches."