About once a week, or sometimes more frequently, I get an email from someone who says they feel led to plant a church. They almost always have the same questions.
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. And just kidding again.
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? We need lots of church planters, but we also need people willing to help established churches thrive.
Make sure you know what you’re getting into is actually 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.
Trying to do this without complete buy in from both parties will destroy one or the other – the church plant or the marriage.
Determine where you feel called to plant
Much of your future steps will depend on this one. I think God gives tremendous latitude in this. We need churches in lots of places – small towns and big towns. 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. But when I spent time talking to God about this, I sensed Him pointing me in another direction.
Find others interested
If you tell me you can’t find anyone – and I hear it often – I’d question how successful you are going to be. As 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 church planting 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.