Details, details, details.
There are people for whom details come naturally. I am not one of them. In fact, many guys I know who have planted churches would not claim to be a master of the small things. They think in broad strokes, big visions, and five-year plans–not in spreadsheets, punch lists, and daily tasks.
Church planting, however, is filled with seemingly small projects. These projects, while appearing insignificant, can have massive ramifications for the realization of long-term vision.
This is particularly true in the early days of a church plant when you are developing a plan, raising money, and building a plant team. During this time you are likely to face an onslaught of projects that have to be completed–including naming the church, developing a mission statement, creating a logo and church website, and the list could go on and on. If you are not careful, you may be prone to overlook the critical nature of this work.
Why do these “nuts and bolts” details matter?
You are always communicating vision. Many of us like 45-minute sermons and lengthy presentations. These allow us to develop robust vision and communicate it clearly. Most people, however, will first see your vision in sentences, logos, and names. There you have a chance to tell people who your church is and why it exists for the first (and most important) time.
You can make poor decisions. Not all details are the same. There are bad church names, sloppy logos, and unclear mission statements. Throwing together something that lacks careful thought may backfire on you in the long run.
You will point to these details often.
How many times are you likely to communicate your church mission statement? All the time. How many places will you see that church logo? Everywhere. Since you will see and say these details thousands of time in the first year or two you better make sure you like them and they represent you and the church you are called to plant.
You will have to live with these decisions for a while.
You can’t change your mind every two months in a church plant. People will be confused and lack trust in your clarity with decision-making. Sure, you may be able to change the church name at some point down the road but not three times in the first year. The same is true for you church logo, website, and mission statement. Better to take the time to develop something you like, then try to change course on critical details too quickly.
You have an opportunity to model excellence in all things.
Details present a church planter with a chance to model excellent work. We preach the sermon “Whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31) and make application to the lawyer, schoolteacher, or janitor. “Your job, no matter how mundane, matters to God and presents an opportunity for worship,” we say. Surely, then the same is true for you and I.
We have a responsibility to do excellent work–not only when we are on the stage and in the public spotlight, but also when we are alone at our computers working on the details.
Over the next two weeks, we at The North American Mission Board want to provide pointers on the nuts and bolts of church planting. We’ve asked a few church planting experts to weigh in on how to think through the details in order to develop clear, compelling, and Christ-centered work as you begin. Our prayer is that these tools will aid you in making these critical decisions so that healthy churches can be planted throughout North America.
Published June 1, 2015