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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

22 Aug '12

Six things every church planter should pay attention to from the beginning

Posted by T.J. Addington in church planting
A Church's genetic code is hardwired into it early in life so if you want to establish a healthy transformational church there are values and practices that need to be planted up front. Ensuring health on the front end prevents the need to back up later and fix something that is not going well.  

If you are a church planter, consider these issues before you plant. It is easy to let them slide in the chaos and busyness of church planting but if you do they will be hard to retrofit later.

1. How you do leadership/board work will generally set the tone for a long time. From the start, keep the board focused on the big rocks of mission, values, spiritual temperature, and the six responsibilities of leaders: keeping the spiritual temperature high; ensuring the congregation is taught; developing, empowering and releasing people into ministry; ensuring that the congregation is cared for; led well; and protecting the congregation. 

If you want to keep the board out of management and focused on governance and direction, do that from the beginning. Bad habits die hard once started. My book on boards can help you chart a healthy course.

2. When you write your constitution and bylaws (yes you need them) make them as short as possible in order to give you the most latitude as possible. Remember that there are people who believe bylaws to be more sacred than the sacred text (which they may violate all day but not allow you to violate the bylaws). You can always add later. It is easier to add than to subtract in this case.

3. Be absolutely clear about what your church is about and is not about. Clarity solves a lot of problems especially as people from other churches show up and want you to become what the church they left was (never mind they left unhappy). 

Clarity on your mission, your guiding principles, central ministry focus and culture will allow you to be aligned around the most important things from the start. If you are not clear from the start, others with agendas will fill the gap with their clarity - usually not a healthy thing.

4. Develop the kind of team relationships you want to see long term on the part of your staff and volunteers. Again, what you teach, model and put in place at the beginning is going to last a long time so develop the healthiest ethos as possible from day one - and insist on it. Larry Osborn's Sticky Teams and my Leading From the Sandbox can help develop healthy teams from the start.

5. Keep the congregation focused on the right things like evangelism and life transformation. The minute you cross the line toward programs that start diverting from outreach and life transformation you have started to move from missional to institutional. Keep the main thing the main thing from day one and keep them focused. When people live out the main thing, celebrate and tell the story from day one. It will stick if you stick to it.

6. Set the date for the church plant your new church is going to commit to. If you are planting a church you believe in church planting. The sooner you birth a church the more likely it is that you will birth others and that those you birth will reproduce. Put the goal out there from day one.