Every church planter I have met has their five screw-ups (or should I say 100?), and I listened and took note of every one of them. Thankfully, I’ve learned from my own mistakes but also attribute a lot of Veritas Community Church’s health to the helpful wisdom I received and applied.
Take these five as just starters, and I pray you will be able to learn from them.
1. Prepare to Sacrifice
All first-time planters underestimate the weight, cost and energy required to plant a church.
You might see the “successful” planter and think, I can do what they did, but really you have no idea what weighty work it took to get them there. You will feel the loneliness more than imagined. You will feel the tiredness more than you thought possible. You will feel the edges chipped away more than you would like.
Planting requires a lot from you and your family. Though you will never be able to truly get it until you are in the thick of it, prepare for this as much as you can!
2. Develop Leaders Slowly
Every church planter has a story of a leader gone rogue. I might be the exception, but I learned time always reveals deep issues.
You must learn to be OK with calling someone to leadership without giving them huge titles like “elder” or “deacon.” Getting a team of leaders around you is so vital, but some issues take time to bubble to the surface. A leader may seem like God’s special gift to you, until time sets in and they feel comfortable taking over your church.
3. Get Wisdom
Coaching, mentoring, discipleship, whatever you want to call it—you need outside input. Not just the buddies you went to college or seminary with but some experienced and wiser leaders.
As a church planter, you often have no elder board or leadership to hide behind, so having strong coaching can keep things moving even when pot holes come.
4. Talk About Money
Most pastors don’t like to talk about money to their congregation, especially when there are only eight of you. It is important to cultivate generosity from day one, and that means both from your people and your church’s budget.
5. Write Things Down
Finally, it is so important to take some time to actually write down what you are doing and giving to vision. Putting things in writing helps you as the planter to organize your thoughts, but it also helps your people feel like you are prepared. Write down what you do to disciple people, write down why you baptize and why you think membership is important. These writings take time but end up saving you time in the end.