Fundamentals of Church Planting
Church planting can be an exciting time within one’s ministry. The concept of going into a new city, where there is no church, and pioneering a new work kindles the roots of Matthew 28:19 within all of us. In fact, Luke states in Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Luke is saying here, that once we have received the Holy Ghost we have been empowered to take the Gospel to those who have not heard or experienced this great gift. Church planting can result in a great work for God, yet before we decide to rush to the nearest city without a church, there are many foundational principles we must first understand and apply.
It goes without saying, but at the foremost of what must first be acknowledged is a true call to church planting. It is true that church planting can be fulfilling, but it is also a very difficult and challenging task. Many times, it can take years to finally break open in a city, before the church really sees significant results. “The planting of a new church is a sophisticated process and not one for the faint of heart” (Pate, 2012). One must be called not only to the area of church planting but also to the city in which the work will take place. One of the primary challenges any church planter will face is the lack of good leadership (Stetzer, & Exponential, 2011). One must understand this in realizing the first few years they are going to be the primary go getters. This can be a difficult realization if one comes from a larger church with many leaders. Before one ever sets out to start a new church plant, they should first make sure they are called to this field by seeking direction from God, and consulting a pastor or elder in their life.
Another precondition to church planting is an established vision for the work. One must predetermine the vision and direction in which the church will set out to follow. It is to late to begin charting a direction for the work months after the first service was held. Pate, (2012) says, “It is a misguided perception of church planting to hold public meetings without first knowing where the church is supposed to be headed.” Lack of vision or direction results in misdirected energy and momentum. It is already hard enough to build up momentum within a new church; the last thing a young church plant needs is an avenue of leaking momentum. Stetzer, (2011) makes mention of how the church should establish a vision to be financially self sustaining. This is without a doubt a very true element on the limited budget of the church planter. Despite these being a pretty significant areas of the church plant, they actually should be easy to resolve. Taking into account that God has called one to a specific city to plant a church; all that needs to be done now is pray for vision. “You must first hear from God in prayer concerning the who, what, when, where, and how. Then you must do the hard work of thinking things through” (Pate, 2012). If one takes everything to God and allows Him to direct the church, momentum will not be lost seeking after rabbit trails.
In reality, all the fundamentals of a church plant could barely be covered in a full book, let alone a short paper. It is important to understand that there are indeed fundamental aspects of the church plant that must precede the endeavor. While this paper does not even begin to cover the plethora of foundational principles for the church planter to consider, I do believe it covers many important aspects. First, and foremost, the church planter must hear from God and seek after His guidance for the church. There are many things to consider when planting a church, but if we will follow the voice of God’s direction we can establish a great work for the Lord.
Pate, L. (2012). Practical Advice on Church Planting. Retrieved from http://english.globalreach.org/english/images/S4241ENE02_07.pdf
Stetzer, E., & Exponential, (2011). 7 Top Issues Church Planters Face. Retrieved from http://kardiacpi.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Top-Issues-Planters-Face.pdf