Church planting is a process. Just as it takes nine months for a baby to grow and develop in the mother’s womb, it takes time for a new church plant to develop its systems, structures and DNA. I recommend you first decide when you would like to start having public worship services. Then work at least nine months back from that date and plan the specifics of how you will disciple and develop your team.
When we moved to plant a church in Myrtle Beach, our small team immediately began to engage in the community. We started attending high school football, basketball and baseball games. We built relationships with school administrators in the three local schools. We started volunteering in the community. We knew it would take time to get to know the people of the community, understand them and become a part of that community. At the same time, we laid out four phases we knew we would have to go through in order for the church to develop in a healthy manner.
1. Vision development phase
The vision development phase is the best place to start. Gather together to pray, discuss and define the vision for the church plant.
2. Strategy phase
The strategy phase is where you discuss how to turn the vision into reality. Plan out the logistical details, and draw out a detailed picture of the key ministries of the church. We studied the community and tried to understand the spiritual, emotional, physical and social needs.
3. Team development phase
In this stage, we took seven weeks to walk our team through a biblical definition of church. Through this study, we discovered God’s intent for the church, the purpose of church planting and how God had uniquely designed each of us for kingdom impact.
4. Expansion phase
The expansion phase is where we challenged our team, which had grown to about 40 adults, to reach out to their unchurched friends, engage them in a deeper relationship and invite them to join our gathering.
Through these phases, we saw God draw people who were called to church planting join our team. We saw unbelievers come to faith and get excited about being a part of taking the Gospel to others. And we saw God build the systems and structure needed to start a new healthy church.
Published January 12, 2017