7 Church-Planting Mistakes to Avoid

"So many people think all a church does is talk about money. We avoided this stigma from day one. In the process, we neglected to develop our core givers."

I’m a church planter. I love the process of planting. I love the energy and the enthusiasm a new church brings to a community.

Now in my second church plant, I’ve learned a few things. Some of the things I’ve learned are things I wouldn’t do again if I were planting another church.

Here are 7 things I wouldn’t do again if planting a church:

1. Limit God’s vision 

We started as a church to reach one section of town. Now we are in two locations, reaching two entirely different segments of our community. God has continued to refine and shape our path as a church.

2. Fail to challenge people to grow in their walk with Christ

I don’t know that I shied away from this; it certainly was my heart and our vision, but in the early days, I was very conscious of reaching the lost, so I may not have been as bold as I wish I had been in saying what needed to be said. 

3. Shy away from money talk

So many people think all a church does is talk about money. We avoided this stigma from day one. In the process, we neglected to develop our core givers, we put ministries on hold we should be pursuing and we robbed people of the opportunity to become generous givers and, consequently, to feel the reward of trusting God completely.

4. Resist leaders from other churches

We wanted to plant a church for non-believers, but we needed leadership to do that. When leaders from other churches came, however, we were hesitant to plug them in for fear we’d be seen negatively by other churches. In the process, we missed out on quality leadership, and we denied people the right to follow their hearts.

5. Expect everyone to be as excited a few years in

The fact is, life changes. Some are starters, and some are finishers. Some of the original people grew bored with things as they were. They had a great impact in our beginning but sought opportunities elsewhere in later years … and that’s OK.

6. Assume everyone is “happy”

I love what God is doing. I love watching lives change. God is doing something amazing among us. Some people just don’t get that excited. It’s not that they don’t care or love our church; they just haven’t received the same call on their lives as I have.

7. Wait long to reproduce

We were five years old when we launched our second campus. I see churches do this in their second full year. There are so many in our city who need hope. Taking a risk on my own comes easy. Sometimes, I’m too careful when representing God … as if He can’t handle something so large. When God leads, I want to move.

And the bonus … very practical one …

8. Wait too long to hire a business administrator

With a background in business, I was a natural to do this, but I hated it and didn’t do it as well as it could be done. If a church is 400 or 500 in attendance, this becomes a full-time job. We were running well over 1,000 before we hired someone to do this, and it crippled me in leadership. (Thanks, Dennis, for making my life better!)

Have you ever been part of a church plant? Anything you could share with us?

Christine Yount Jones
Christine Yount Jones is Content Director for Outreach Media Group. She has published several books and hundreds of articles about ministry in the last three decades. Before his death in 2003, Michael Yount and Christine had three children. Now, she and her husband, Ray Jones, together have five grown kids.