Some of the best church planting advice I ever received had nothing to do with preaching, evangelism, or budgets. It was a statement made during our church planting boot camp while our replanting team skyped with a fellow church planter serving in Cleveland, Ohio. He said that, from his experience, “You cannot over-communicate with your prayer partners and supporters.”
This powerful statement resonated with me and shaped our vision as we began our journey of church planting. We are now just over two years into our replant, and we have seen tremendous fruit from strong communication with our partners. Here are seven ways we found to strengthen communication with our partners.
1. Send an initial letter detailing the vision and goals of your replant. Before we started replanting, our team sent out hundreds of letters to potential partners, detailing our vision and goals. We eventually were blessed to have about 20 financial sponsors and more than 250 prayer partners. This helped strengthen communication as it gave us the base of who we knew we could communicate with and trust to pray for us.
2. Send newsletters. Newsletters have been the most rewarding part of our communication with our partners. We share stories of God’s goodness and faithfulness, as well as our struggles and concerns. We hear from so many of our partners how blessed they are to read the stories of what God is doing at Crosspoint. Not only that, but as we write the newsletters, we are blessed to think through God’s faithfulness at Crosspoint. As you write newsletters, share victory stories, upcoming events, and specific examples of God’s faithfulness at your replant. Believe me, it is a fruitful task.
3. Share specific prayer requests and praises. On the last page of our newsletter, we have a detailed list of specific prayer concerns. We also share stories of how God has been faithful to answer prayer. We hear from our partners of how they are encouraged to know how to pray, as well as to see prayers God has answered. This gives us great confidence as we face tasks we think are very difficult. We know we have hundreds of people praying for us and lifting us up to the Father.
4. Share pictures. I can’t think of a time in my life that someone has not enjoyed looking at pictures. When you share pictures with your partners, they will be able to not only read about what God is doing, but they will see it as well. The pictures you share truly are “worth a thousand words.” What you can’t say in so many words in your newsletter, you can say in one picture. We share pictures of baptisms, events, worship services, etc. It is just a fun way for partners to get excited about what God is doing. Our partners are constantly telling us that they love to see the pictures!
5. Say thank you. We make sure to always say “Thank you!” to our financial partners and prayer partners. This might be in the newsletter itself, or sometimes we put in a separate note. It is a simple way your partners know they are not just a name on a piece of paper, but that you are thankful for them personally.
6. Invest in a paid website. Our church website has been a fantastic tool for communication. While the initial cost of the website was large, it has paid off in great ways. Through the website, our partners learn about upcoming events and sermon series, see pictures, and more. A wonderful piece of advice we received about the website was to put our church address on each page, so when a Google search is conducted for churches in our area, ours would be one of the first to pop up. When we took this advice, our website went from page 3 of the search results to the top of page 1. This proved to be another great way to communicate with our people.
7. Use social media to your advantage. We make sure to post a lot of information on our church Facebook page and Twitter feed. This allows our partners to see daily and weekly updates of what God is doing.
Sometimes, the thought of writing newsletters, sharing prayer concerns, and keeping up on social media can seem like a daunting task that you may not feel like doing. However, it is well worth it and will be very fruitful in replanting ministry.
When you don’t feel like writing that 20th newsletter or posting another Facebook item, remember that you can never over-communicate with your partners. In the end, God will receive the glory and people will know how to pray and support the work you are doing in replanting.
Published January 23, 2018