About once a week … or sometimes more frequently … I get an email or tweet from someone who says they feel led to plant a church. They almost always have the same question.
What do I do now? What’s my first step?
After answering dozens of times, I decided to put my thoughts in a post.
Step one: Run as fast as you can!
Just kidding. Although that does give you a testimony like Jonah. Just kidding.
Here are five immediate steps I would recommend:
1. Check your heart.
Are you sure planting is what you are being called to do, or is it a desire because everyone else is doing it? It’s fine if you are. We need church planters. But, we also need people willing to help established churches thrive. It’s hard work to change what’s established already, but so is church planting. Make sure you know that what you’re getting into is what God’s drawing you into.
2. Check your spouse’s heart.
Church planting is not a solo venture. No ministry is, for that matter. If you are married, you will need to be on the same page with your spouse. No. Doubt. About. It. Trying to do this without complete buy-in from both parties will destroy one or the other … the plant or the marriage.
3. Determine where you feel called to plant.
That’s an important beginning step. Much of your future steps will depend on this one. Many times, you already know this, and I think God gives tremendous latitude in this. We need churches in lots of places. But this will be one of the most difficult decisions you make if you don’t know. I once thought I wanted to plant in New York City. I still might someday. But when I spent time talking to God about this, I sensed Him releasing me from the desire and pointing me in another direction.