It is 2020, and we are still struggling with what is the best method for launching a new church plant. In biblical days, they would go into a town square and gather a crowd, preach the gospel, see souls saved, and start a church. They would go to the synagogue and preach. They would meet house to house. We have seen in more recent years; churches launched through a big revival conference resulting in a church being birthed. On the mission field, they have held events like an evangelistic medical clinic resulting in a new church plant. Some say to start small and grow organically. Some say to start with a big bang.
When designing a launch strategy for a new church plant, the most important question should be, which is the best method for the healthy, biblical birth of this new church?
I. Follow the Leadership of the Reproducing Pastor
We believe churches reproduce churches. Therefore, the reproducing pastor is the leader and should have the final authority and has the responsibility to God for the church plant.
It should not be the church planter saying, “this is my church plant, how do I want it done.” Allowing the pastor to lead may concern some church planters. However, If God has led you to start a church under your reproducing pastor, I believe there will be a unity in the church plant launch strategy.
II. Seek God’s Will for How He Would Have the Church Planted
The question is not which method I will use; instead, it should be how God would desire us to plant this particular church.
There is no one way or best method. At BCPM, we try to handcraft each church plant to meet the vision of the reproducing pastor. Often, many methods can be utilized in the planting of a church.
III. Ideas for the Launch
A. Settle into the area
Before you start, move in and make sure to settle in with your wife and family. Let your wife know that they are first.
B. Using a start team
Do you start with a team that moves to the area to help? Do you start with some helpers from the reproducing or area churches? There are pros and cons to both methods. Discuss this with your pastor of how he believes you should start.
Spend several weeks or months saturating the region with gospel literature. Many communities have no idea about the gospel today. These are unique materials designed to teach the community of the gospel.
D. Have weekly gatherings
As you do evangelism, you can start with bible studies. You can also start with a Sunday morning service for 4-6 months. Of course, you can begin with both at the same time. This phase is a time to let the community know what kind of church you are, grow a core group, and share the gospel. Each week let the people know when you will be having official launch meetings. This preparation will allow them the opportunity to take time off work and invite others to your launch meetings.
E. Monthly events
Host a monthly meeting in which you invite the people who have come to your weekly gatherings to attend. The purpose is to share your vision for the new church.
Also, organize a monthly outreach event. These events are a chance to show the community that your new church cares for them.
F. Have launch meetings
Launch meetings are a great once in a lifetime event. These allow the new church to show what kind of church you are starting. It is also an excellent way to gain credibility for your ministry. You are a new pastor in town, and no one knows you. These meetings are a powerful way to give you strong credibility to you with the area people.
G. Which method should I use?
In 1999, God led me to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, to plant a church. We moved into the area and got settled into the community. With the help of area churches, we got out 35,000 pieces of gospel literature and invites to our weekly services. We then held six months of Sunday morning services and later added mid-week bible study. Three families committed to come and help us. We hosted a monthly event in our home and also organized a monthly outreach. Each week we told the people about our launch services and asked them to invite others. We then held a five-day Launch Event, which was very well attended and had guests each day.
The bottom line is that you do not have to use just one method to plant a church. Work closely with your reproducing pastor and let the Lord lead you in how it is best to start the church in your area.