Have you ever wondered how to make a church plant successful; what the “secret sauce” is that brings it all together so you’re able to see the unchurched experience new life in Christ and a healthy church birthed? These are questions I have asked myself countless times along my church planting journey. Through my personal experiences, ups and downs, and highs and lows I have highlighted four basic principles to help you succeed on your big day!
1. PRAYER & FASTING
On the church planting journey, one thing you will realize is that prayer and fasting is not just something you should do, it is something you must do! I’ve always believed that everything we do and everything we have is either birthed in our prayers or the prayers of others. We need to remember that Jesus commanded that we seek first His Kingdom… than all of our “needs” would be added to us. When we focus on God’s priorities, God takes care of ours.
2. COMMITTED TEAM
The longer I’m in leadership the more I realize that I cannot possibly do everything. We need each other! When Jesus started he went from 12 to 72 and then eventually to 120 on the team in the upper room. The 12 (leaders of leaders) are what today I would call the church staff. These were the leaders that managed leaders that lead volunteers. The 72 (leaders) were leaders that actually carried out the day-to-day operations. We see in Luke 10-11 that Jesus sent them out 2 by 2 in order to carry out the operations of the Kingdom. And while the 12 were part of that, the 12 were also seen in a different manner as the backbone of the ministry that Jesus formed. We should remember that we can never build our operation on “operations” but rather on the backbone of the 12 who have laid down their lives countless times. As it relates to the 120 (volunteers), we should remember that these were people that showed interest in expanding the kingdom. They were made up of the 12 and the 72, but also the women and family members who followed Jesus. Recall that the scripture mentions Jesus’ mother and others who were with them in the upper room. As you push forward to build your overall launch team, create room for anybody that expresses interest in seeing the church birthed. This will make sure you have enough leaders to reach those God draws, but it will also create a greater wave of momentum and a deeper impact.
3. STRATEGIC LAUNCH DATE/LOCATION
In church planting, it’s not just enough to have a website, bulk mailers, and a marketing campaign. What every church planter should ask is not how much should I spend on my marketing budget, (although that is something to be considered) it’s, “What is already going on in my community around my launch date and how can I be a part of and serve that effort to let people know what God is doing?”.
In Acts 2, on the first ever church launch, the Holy Spirit initiated the first church start around the Day of Pentecost which was already a large gathering. God knew that thousands would be right outside the door where they were praying and that they needed a “crowd” in order to create the first church. And what was the result? About 3,000 souls were added to the Kingdom that day.
4. SUPERNATURAL RESPONSE
Church planting needs a supernatural response from the Holy Spirit. The early church knew this and I believe their example was not only a fulfillment of prophecy but it was an example for us to follow.
When you enter into planting a church, it starts with a supernatural response from God’s Spirit calling you to take part in birthing His Church. We should remember that just as your journey started with the supernatural, it has to end with the supernatural. While you need training, people to help you, and more money than you can ever imagine; nothing, I mean nothing can replace what God can do!
I remember one occasion when CRN was planting a church in downtown NYC. I was returning back from helping one of our church planters get their sound equipment out of customs in the Virgin Islands when I got a call from a church planter 2 days from their launch. It was our church plant in NYC. The space they were meeting in decided to give them the boot 2 days from opening their church. At this point, we had no idea what we would do. However, while we were talking I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me. Just as we believed, by faith, to get the sound equipment out of customs in the Virgin Islands for their church launch, we needed to believe for another space in NYC. I told the Pastor we have today to find a building and tomorrow to re-invite/market their church plant in a new location. If not than we would post-pone the launch. What happened next was remarkable! A new location was found and a fresh wave of momentum was created as a result.
What seemed to be an obstacle was a set up for a supernatural encounter that impacted a city.
That launch day we saw 225 people come to the first service and over 20 people gave their life to Christ!