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7 Suggestions for Planting a Church or Revitalizing in a New Community

I am consistently asked for suggestions I have for moving to another city to plant a church or revitalize a church.

I planted once in my hometown, so I am very familiar with that community, but I also planted a church in a city in which I didn’t know anyone well, so I have some experience in that area too. In my present church, I moved to a city where I knew only one other couple.

Recently someone who was about to move to a new city to minister asked a very good specific question.

What advice would you give me that people don’t always give?

Good question. It made me think. I don’t know that any of these are original, but I don’t hear them talked about as much as other suggestions.

And, I think the things I would do would be the same in any ministry position.

Here are 7 suggestions for moving to another community to minister:

Have a prayer team – There should be a group of people praying for this community, the church, and the leaders on a daily basis. I have a personal prayer team and organize teams to pray for special events. Bathe every move in prayer. 

Learn the culture – Every city and every group of people have their own unique identity. What matter’s most? What do they celebrate? Where do people live and play? What do they do for fun? What’s their unique language? What are the traditions unique to this area? What history do they value most? You’ll have to ask lots of questions and observe.

Learn the market – Is the community in a growth mode or a declining mode? What’s the quality of the school system? If you’re planting, are schools an option for a building? What are the major problems, concerns and needs of the community? Who are the leading employers? What are the demographics? How would a church address some of the issues? These matter for numerous reasons — but mainly it will impact the people you are trying to reach.

To learn these things I try to meet with the highest level leader I can in each area of interest – Schools, city government, police, business community, etc.

Learn the competition – Before you get too excited — it’s not other churches. It’s anything that has the people’s attention you are trying to reach besides a church. Sunday sports events. Major festivals. Community traditions.

Support the Community – Immediately find ways to get personally involved in the community with volunteer investment. That could be through the Chamber of Commerce, schools, festivals, etc. Give back. Believe it or not, that gets attention. Currently, we volunteer several places around town, including at our local visitor’s center. And, if you really want to show you love the community  — support the sports teams they support. 

Develop patience – It is harder than you think it will be. It just is. Church planting, church revitalization– really any ministry — takes a tremendous toll on you physically, mentally and even spiritually. It doesn’t happen overnight. Prepare for the journey. Commit to the change you bring to the ministry — even knowing how difficult it might be at times. 

Protect your family – Just as church plants are stressful on the planter, they are equally challenging for the planter’s family. That may even be more true in revitalization. And, it’s true in all ministry. These issues are multiplied because of relocation, since much of their support system is being replaced. Protect your family by discipling your time and not losing them as your primary focus. As much as possible, involve them in the work so they understand it’s value and get to share in the rewards. Protect your personal down time and your soul. Don’t burn out by trying to do too much too soon.

Ministry is tough, but like all actions of faith and obedience, God uses the sacrifices to reach hurting people and change their life for His glory. Thanks for Kingdom-building.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 27 Comments

  • Hi Confused

    You write…
    “you "answered" the question without answering the question… What kind of alternative do you recommend besides the "corporation"?”

    I’m happy for you that you attend a place where you can focus on Jesus and learn His Word.

    For me, I hope to look to the scriptures to see what the Bible has to say about these things.

    To me, these are important and sensitive topics for the “Body of Christ,” “Disciples of Christ.”

    In my experience, another way of looking at the ekklesia, the called out one’s, the Church, is to see the Church, the sons of God, as being “Led” by Jesus, (Mat 23:10), being “Led” by the Spirit, (Rom 8:14), and not “Led” by a mere fallible human. When I was apart of “The Corrupt Religious System” I did learn some truth about God. I also learned a lot of error, a lot of “Traditions of men” that had nothing to do with Jesus, or had nothing to do with the Bible.

    Jesus told His Disciples NOT to be called “Leaders” and none did. Can you name “ONE” disciple of Christ who called them self a “Leader?” Seems they all saw themselves as “Servants of Christ.”

    In the scriptures I see The Church, The Disciples of Christ, being – Taught by Jesus, (Mat 23:8), Taught by the Holy Spirit, (John 14:26). Taught by God, (John 6:45), NOT being taught by a mere fallible human with a “Title’” not found in the Bible: Reverend, Most Holy Reverend, Senior Pastor, Executive Pastor, Lead Pastor, etc.

    In my experience…
    "Titles" become "Idols"
    Pastors become "Masters.

    The alternative I suggest is for people to go directly to Jesus, trust Him, and become His Disciple.
    Getting revelation directly from Jesus is the best. 😉

    You might try re-reading the previous comment, that you replied to, to see a more complete description of what I see as an alternative to planting corporations. Trust and obey – NOT think and decide.

    When I was planting a church and making disciples, all I accomplished was – making disciples of Amos, and what Amos believed. Or, making disciples of the present movement I was a part of, and what the movement believed. I never made a “Disciple of Christ” learning directly from Jesus.

    I believe God has a better way, a higher way, for building, edifying, His Church.
    That’s you Confused, His Church, who He wants to build, to edify,
    and be transformed into the image of His son. (Rom 8:29). NOT someone who sits obediently in a pew
    who is required to just – Pray – Pay – and – Obey.

    My suggestion is to be a lowly sheep, learn to hear “His Voice,” and follow Jesus.

    At the marriage feast at Cana, when Jesus turned the water into wine, “The Ruler of the feast” thought the bridegroom had saved the best wine for last. The head guy didn’t know what happened. It was “the servants” who got to see the miracle.

    What is popular is not always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is not always popular.

    Be blessed in you search for “Truth.” Jesus…,

  • A. Amos Love says:

    @vitomazz ·

    You write…
    “Can you provide examples of an effective alternative for us readers to consider?”

    Seems Jesus taught “His Disciples” to teach “What” He taught them.

    Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them
    in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and
    **teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.**
    Mat 28:19:20 NIV

    If the word “Disciple” means – learner, student? Then…
    A “Disciple of Christ” = A learner, student, learning directly from Christ.

    Jesus taught “His Disciples”

    1 – NOT to be called teacher for you have “ONE” teacher, Christ. Mt 23:8
    2 – NOT to be called leader for you have “ONE” leader, Christ, Mt 23:10
    3 – ALL shall be taught of God. Jn 6:45
    4 – ALL things, shall be taught you by the Holy Spirit, God. Jn 14:26
    5 – ALL truth, will come as the Spirit of truth guides and leads. Jn 16:13
    6 – Jesus, as man, does nothing of himself, and is taught of God. Jn 8:28
    7 – Peter, knowing Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God,
    received the revelation from Father God, and NOT from man. Mt 16:17
    NOT even Jesus, as man. Jesus gave “All” the glory, all the credit to God.

    John the apostle, a “Disciple of Christ” taught what Jesus taught.

    1 – ALL know, discern, all things. From the anointing in you. 1 Jn 2:20
    2 – You need not any man teach you. Some will seduce you. 1 Jn 2:26:27
    3 – ALL things, are taught to you by the anointing. 1 Jn 2:27

    Paul the apostle, a “Disciple of Christ” taught what Jesus taught.

    1- The gospel, NOT taught to me by man, but by revelation. Ga 1:11,12
    2 – I conferred NOT with flesh and blood. Ga 1:16
    3 – You have heard Jesus, and have been taught by Jesus. Eph 4:21
    4 – You are taught by God to love one another. 1 Thes 4:9
    5 – When together, all can teach, all can get revelation. 1 Cor 14:26
    6 – Be led by the Spirit of God, and be a son of God. Rm 8:14

    “What” were the “teachers” Paul talked about supposed to teach?

    When Paul said, – and some **shepherds and teachers**
    for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry,
    for the edifying of the body of Christ. Eph 4:11

    I don’t see Paul having any thoughts about once a week…
    Pastors – in Pulpits – Preaching – to People – in Pews.
    Then a week goes by and most has been forgotten. If even heard. 😉
    Is that “How” Jesus taught? Wasn’t He “daily” with “His Disciples?”

    Give a man a fish and he eats for a day.
    Teach a man to fish and he eats daily, for life.

    Pastor/teachers in pulpits “create” pew potatoes, always hungry, lazy.
    The Pastor/Teacher makes a name for himself, a reputation, BUT…
    **man now looks to man** for learning, revelation, and NOT to Jesus. 🙁

    Teach a man to hear from Jesus, learn from Jesus, revelation from Jesus…
    You have, “Disciples of Christ.” Learners of Christ. Ekklesia of Christ.
    Now Jesus can feed, lead, and teach them “daily,” forever, Eternity…

    Jesus learned directly from God. Revelation.
    Peter learned directly from God. Revelation.
    Paul learned directly from God. Revelation.

    Jesus taught, God will teach you.
    John taught, God will teach you.
    Paul taught, God will teach you.

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice;
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    • Confused says:

      A.A.L., bro, what's with the "quotes"? And, you "answered" the question without answering the question… What kind of alternative do you reccomend besides the "corporation"?

      I don't view the sanctuary I walk into on Sunday to enter into worship and receive edification from a teacher of the Word as a business meeting space or as a corporation. I walk into a place dedicated to God, a place that people are meeting everyday to share in the Word and prayer and spend time on their face before God. A place where people come daily to seek Godly counsel in their lives. It's something remeniscent of the tabernacle that God instructed to be a place of worship for Him. It's like having an upper room available every day of the week where we can wait on God and simply seek Him.

      How is that corporate? How is starting a new location that creates these same opportunities planting a corporation?

  • A. Amos Love says:


    I appreciate your passion and the diligence you show in answering comments. Even mine. 😉
    And allowing me to comment even though we may disagree about some things.
    I would probably enjoy meeting you over a cup of coffee and talking about Jesus.

    I’m thankful that someone had the courage and the wisdom to challenge my beliefs about being
    a “Leader” in the body of Christ, as apposed to being a“Servant of Christ,” a “Disciple of Christ,”
    Jesus being the “ONE”“Leader.” I didn’t believe them at first. After all, I was in “Leadership.”

    You write…
    “thanks for reading my blog regularly, although honestly, I'm not always sure why you do.”

    I read and comment because I believe that God loves you and is calling you and His ekklesia…
    …to become a “son of God” “Led” by the Spirit. NOT being “Led” by a man. Rom 8:14.
    …to become a “Disciple of Christ” who is willing to forsake all and deny self. Lk 14:33, Lk 9:23.
    Forsake all, Power, Profit, Prestige, Honor, Glory, Recognition, Reputation, etc.. Those “Extras”
    that comes with being in “Leadership.” That become “Idols” of the heart. Ezek 14:1-11.

    If “Disciple” means a learner, pupil?
    Then a “Disciple of Christ” is someone who learns directly from Jesus. He’s the best teacher. Yes?
    Jesus, in John 6:45, said, “And they shall be “ALL” taught of God.” Hmmm?

    I was where you seem to be. I was in “Leadership.” Someone building something for God.
    You seem to stress “Leadership” and creating a “Team” to work together. I was there too.
    I was into popular “Bussiness Leadership Styles” and applying it to building God’s ekklesia. 🙁

    Now – IMO – Jesus stresses “Servanthood” and “Humility” and “Hearing His Voice” and
    “Following Jesus.” Jesus taught “His Disciples” NOT to be called “Master/Leader.”
    For you have “ONE” “Master/Leader’ the Christ. Mat 23:8-10.
    They wanted to make Jesus King, (“leader” of the people,) as man, He refused. John 6:15.

    He who flatters his neigbor spreads a net for his feet. Pro 29:5.

    When someone is told they are leader or thinks they are a leader,
    my advice now is to run, as fast as you can, the trap has been set.

    “Leadership” today is “EXclusive.” Some "special one’s" are “Leaders” the rest are followers.
    “Servanthood” is “INclusive.” “ALL” can be “Servants and Disciples of Christ.”
    "ALL" can hear directly from Jesus and learn from Him.

    If your choice is being a “Leader” or a “Disciple of Christ” a “Servant of Christ” then what?

    Have you thought of asking Jesus why I read and comment?
    And if the comments have any value for you? And your journey beoming “ONE” with God?

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice;
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    • ronedmondson says:

      Thanks again. I am glad you choose to read and comment and I do not take them lightly.

  • Pastor/Planter says:

    Great post Ron. Thanks for answering the questions that plague us young church planters. I have RE-planted one already (that has taken a toll on me) and I am looking to go to another state to plant one (I am excited!). Your comments and encouragement were a HUUUGE blessing. Thanks again Ron.

    • ronedmondson says:

      Thanks Todd. Planting and re-starting (which I've done both) can take a huge toll on a person. Praying for you.

  • Charlie says:

    Hey Ron,

    As one absolutely neck deep in it – you are right on all 7 accounts – especially the harder than you think one!!!

    Bless you, and keep the keyboard smoking!

  • Mike says:

    Thanks Ron,
    I think there is also a sense of working By faith, that needs to highlighted after all without faith it’s impossible to please God.

  • Paul Loyless says:

    Ron – I appreciate your quality content and know a lot of others in the ministry that benefit from your on-line discipleship.

    Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised – Heb 10:23 KJV 🙂

  • Gage says:

    Church planting is Jesus’ agenda, in modern times. Without splitting hairs, church planting is simply starting a church in a specific environment. Yes the church starts within us. Yes people are the church. More spiritually speaking the church is 2 or more gathered under God’s name for His agenda. Now, we aren’t all knowing therefore we can’t judge people, but a church planting, will show it’s fruits in time. We need more young leaders called to plant churches everywhere on this earth. I would like to see the church community use more global vocabulary in describing the church’s growth potential and agenda

  • A. Amos Love says:


    Hmmm? Can’t seem to find “Planting a Church” in my antiquated KJV.
    Did Jesus ask any of “His Disciples” to “Plant a Church?”
    Did any of “His Disciples” “Plant a Church?”

    When you hear words and commands that are NOT in the Bible?
    don’t you wonder why we use them?
    and where they came from?

    Isn’t it challenge enough understanding?
    the truth of the words and commands that are written?
    How much harder word's and commands that we make up?

    Doesn’t the Bible warn us about;
    The commandments of men?
    The doctrines of men?
    The philosophies of men?
    The traditions of men?
    That make the Word of God
    of non effect?

    Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition…
    Mark 7:13

    Hmmm? A simple word, “church?”
    What do most people **Today** understand the word “church” to mean?

    Building with a steeple on it?
    Is that in the Bible?

    Pastor – in a pulpit – preaching – to people – in pews?
    Is that in the Bible?

    Isn’t that what so called “local Church Plants”
    have accomplished with four buildings on
    four corners in a lot of “local towns?”

    Haven't we deceived the people we’re supposed to be reaching out to?

    That’s what the world thinks, believer and unbeliever, isn’t it?
    Anything but what the Bible describes as “The Church of God?”

    How many will know, “The Church” “The Ekklesia of God” “the Called out one’s of God.”
    Are Kings and Priests unto God, the bride of Christ, servants of Christ, sons of God,
    ambassadors of Christ, and disciples of Christ. NOT a building or organization.

    Did Jesus shed “His Blood” for a building, an organization,
    an institution, a denomination, a corporation.

    Should we call a corporation – “The Church.” AAARRRGGGHHHH!!! 😉

    Today, aren’t “Church Plants” really just “Corporation Plants.”
    A satellite 501 (c) (3), non profit, tax deductible, religious corporation.

    Jesus… The head of the body, (the ekklesia, the called out one’s) “The Church.”

    Jesus… I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul…

    • ronedmondson says:

      A.Amos, thanks for reading my blog regularly, although honestly, I'm not always sure why you do. You seem to struggle with many of my posts…or maybe just the ones on which you choose to comment.

      I hear you…can't find planting a church in the antiquated KJV. I wonder though…

      Does your church have a telephone? Where's that in the KJV?

      Can you find terms like blog, comment, or email? Yet, obviously you use them.

      Not intending to argue at all, but I seriously wonder if you are accomplishing what you hope to by resisting terminology.

      Just wondering. Again, thanks for reading.

    • @vitomazz says:

      A. Amos. You provide a good list of what Jesus didn't say or do in regards to what is being done, but provide little alternatives. Can you provide examples of an effective alternative for us readers to consider? Are you a part of an alternative solution? I agree some terminology can be difficult i.e. "We should be planting the gospel in a community not a 'church'", but to argue semantics can sometimes just be antagonistic and doesn't build up the body. And I'm sure there are more ministries we are will to admit that are misguided, but I would give most the benefit of the doubt.

  • Great list… All of them ring so true to our church planting experience… especially developing patience. I remember being so frustrated that we didn't see the growth I expected or anticipated. I had to learn to take joy in the journey and continue to believe in God's call and HIS mission. Great post!

    • ronedmondson says:

      Thanks Dwayne. Patience is not always a given virtue of church planters…so I have learned…

  • Jason Elam says:

    What a great list to consider, Ron! Thanks for writing it. I'd love to see more along these lines in the future.