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article article
My Top 10 Church Planting Tips
Written by a church planter serving in Chicago, this article offers 10 church planting tips.
book book
The Nuts and Bolts of Church Planting: A Guide for Starting Any Kind of Church
This comprehensive book is perfect for people interested in starting a church. More specifically, for people who want a step-by-step process that gives the nuts and bolts of church planting, starting with assessing leadership traits to asking essential questions about church identity.
book book
Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch
This resource is a good starting point for those thinking about starting a new church --- read about the story of Journey Church in New York City and gain from the experiences of the two pastors who started it.
book book
Ten Most Common Mistakes Made by New Church Starts
This resource is for individuals interested in starting a new church and shows how to overcome inevitable challenges, all while focusing on the most important part --- sharing God's love with others.
book book
Divergent Church: The Bright Promise of Alternative Faith Communities
This resource explores the unique characteristics of divergent churches, examining the how and where they meet, what brings them together, and how their primary concerns shape the practices of the congregation.
For The CRG Created For The CRG
The Unique Experience of Church Planting

Church planting is different than establishing satellites, multi-sites, a new worship service or a separate non-profit. Church planting is establishing a new congregation in a new location. This process is rewarding, yet it requires hard work and a varied skillset.

Below are four things I’ve learned about church planting.

What are the unique challenges for your church plant? Find help you need like data, church planting conferences, coaching and more by looking at our hand-picked church planting resources.

For The CRG Created For The CRG
Starting Well

Are you a clergyperson starting at a congregation? I’m sure you want to start well. It can be a challenge to prayerfully navigate all the demands placed upon you.

Most clergy don’t move often enough to get good at starting, so it’s hard to get it right. It’s like so many important things in life that happen seldom enough that we never quite reach the level of competency we’d like. I only got one chance to care for my mom through her last illness. I hadn’t done that before. Thanks to grace and my mom’s graciousness, I was good enough. Competent? Just barely.

Advice

Common advice is this: Don’t change anything for the first 12 months. In some cases, this is good advice. Don’t claim a new congregational vision to sell the 130-year-old structure, which is still in excellent condition. Your congregants probably won’t go for that. But if the congregation is used to mediocre preaching, then, for heaven’s sake, change that. Preach well!

Learning

If you are a new clergy person, you are going to learn things about the congregation that you didn’t know. Some of it is good. Wow, the music here is wonderful! Some of it is worrisome. Hmmm, the monthly income is a lot lower than I was told.

Working

The clergy leader is the carrier of both the possibility and the sin of the congregation. As the new congregational leader, you are the vessel for that which is unsolved, unredeemed and just plain troubling about the community. During the first 100 days, a primary spiritual task is working out with God how you are going to tolerate whatever uncomfortable you are experiencing.

Is it possible to just sit with this for a while? Actually, you can do more than be still. You can use this time to begin to develop the competencies being called forth. New occasions teach new duties.

Type this into a CRG search: New Pastorate. You will find some helpful resources.

Entering Wonderland is a resource that might be helpful to you on this new journey.

For The CRG Created For The CRG
Disappointment: Learning from Inevitable Setbacks

New projects fill congregational life with excitement and hope. They can be a time of community cooperation, deep visioning and relationship-building. No matter the project, though, you are likely to experience disappointment somewhere along the way.

In my book How Your Congregation Learns, I’ve written:

“Congregations aren’t magically protected from disappointment. All kinds of good projects grind to a halt. When this happens, you can’t help but feel disappointed. Natural and inevitable feelings of sadness arrive. That is the way of disillusionment. Almost every successful congregational endeavor contains some dissatisfaction.” (How Your Congregations Learns, page 73, published by Rowman & Littlefield).

The experience of disappointment invites the possibility of three different responses regarding the initiative: “No,” “Not yet” and “Yes, let’s continue working but with some adaptations.”

Essential values

To discern which of these responses is the best, reflect on how the new initiative aligns with the primary religious claims and commitments of your congregation. Or, put another way, how does the initiative support, in its current form, the essential values of your faith community?

If there is strong alignment, then it is often worth moving beyond the disappointment, making appropriate adaptations.

If there is a gap between what you are trying to achieve and the values you espouse, then perhaps this is not the right time to continue, or it is best to explore initiatives more in line with your commitments.

In chapter 5 of the book, I provide additional considerations about how to address disappointment in relationship to a new congregational activity.

Resources

If you would like to talk more about this dynamic, email me at tshapiro@centerforcongregations.org  If you would like a free copy of the book How Your Congregations Learns, let me know via email.

You may also want to consider the articles Evaluating Your Ministry and Why We Aren’t Learning.

organization organization Updated
The Church Multiplication Training Center
This organization provides training programs for existing congregations to refocus their mission on making disciples, and for church planters to learn specific strategies for starting new congregations.
organization organization
National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO)
This association helps congregations find state agencies that offer state-specific information about regulations for new congregations and congregations that conduct charitable activities or solicit charitable contributions.
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