Lessons I Learned From Church Planting

Church planting was probably the hardest thing I ever did. Doing it as a nondenominational church plant was a million times more difficult. When you live in denominational country, you are on an island almost alone. Do I believe I did the right thing? Yes! Almost 20 months in, here are the lessons I learned:

  1. I needed people in place before I did it. I had this crazy faith that it would just come together. Please understand that I had a great core group, but I needed organization and people in key roles before we ever did anything. I had people from day one who set up and took down everything. I didn’t have support staff which would have been a huge asset, especially those whose strengths were my weaknesses.
  2. The people who were my biggest encouragers to plant never came. They told me years before that they would be there if I started. (I guess they were there in spirit lol.) I predicted that one though.
  3. Some people who came had good intentions, but it takes a high level of commitment to ride the waves of church planting. They can be pretty tumultuous while at other times they don’t move.
  4. There will be those who think they can do it better than you can (and they might be right). I was always hearing what I should do, didn’t do, etc. Everyone had their own formula that they thought I had to try in order to succeed. What works for one doesn’t always work for another. God was starting a unique thing, and He revealed to me that I was not the one to see it to fruition.
  5. It takes tons of time and energy, so you better make sure you have it. I had to admit I did not.
  6. It’s okay if you’re the one who only begins the foundation. I look forward to being an outsider who sees God His thing. Paul stated that he planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. I didn’t get to experience the increase or water what was sown, but I did get to see people come alive and long for a different kind of church – a church that more closely reflected the book of Acts.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! With churches closing left and right, there is a need for healthy new churches. Could another plant be in my future (with lessons learned and a clear call from God)? Maybe. I am at His disposal.

I want to close by giving a shout-out to my core group who stuck with me. They are awesome! I also want to say thank you to those who might be reading who have been involved in such an undertaking. Your labor in the Lord is not wasted. Eternity will reveal the fruit of your obedience. Stay the course! Only step away if you heard a clear word from the Lord.

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30 thoughts on “Lessons I Learned From Church Planting

  1. Every one saying we need a physical church home when people like me and other work late shifts and consider the radio church minstries our church home.

    1. The church is first and foremost the body of Christ (born again believers). I totally understand that some people are unable to gather with other believers and benefit from services online. Because we grow better in community than we do in isolation, I encourage people to gather with other believers in whatever setting that is conducive for you. That may be getting together for coffee and Bible study on a Tuesday afternoon. The Bible teaches about meeting together but not necessarily the means. The steeples, pews, and formalities are manmade. Christian community is the key.

      1. Thank you. That made my stance even stronger on my thinking of church. We can have church anywhere. I been trying to find my church home and I am almost decided that I will settle down with either fuel or healing genesis. Both Christian rock and metelcore respectfully.

  2. May God continue to bless you and your church! Our church is a church plant…we are 3 years in. Our pastor said one of the biggest challenges is comparison, it’s easy to compare our success to other churches. But God measures success differently, He measures it in lives transformed not church pews filled. God is at work, and I believe revival is breaking out from these church plants.

  3. That’s cool that they resembled the church of acts. I’m bored and over it with typical church experiences. Most of them are toxic. I don’t know if I’d ever go back to church after what I’ve been through but a church that resembles acts is more appealing, at least in theory. Of course you have to know where you stand with God and I don’t so I guess church is a non issue for me at this point.

  4. Good for you Matthew. Keep fighting the good fight. Planters are warriors. Thank you for sharing those insights. Much of the discussion about church planting romanticizes it. When the truth is, it is very hard, but God is good. I don’t think people mean to, but church planters are very hopeful and optimistic.

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on church planting. I helped plant a church and know the struggles – you have been faithful to God for seeking his will and following his direction. Blessings to you!

  6. For a little while in Little Rock, I got to be part of a church that began with a couple. They originally lived right down the hall from me in our apartment complex.

    It was several months after a toxic church experience, my first time really trying to find a church I did not grow up in. It really shook me. The pastor preached holiness but the congregation has this heaviness around them cloaked in “blessing talk” and constant focus on the church itself (attendence, events the church did, etc). I really felt a lack of focus on Christ, and the only way I could connect to the members was only in church. Whenever I tried to reach out to my peers, who told me they wanted to hang out with me, they were always too busy. It really confused and hurt me, and this happened when I first moved to Little Rock with my husband. I had no one except my husband. We left after a few months and a lot of prayer, I was always asking God, “What do I do? It hurts going there.” Everyone says a church is full of sinners, which is true. No one will be perfect. But I feel like toxic churches are not discussed enough, and people feel like they have to remain where they are. God revealed to me I could leave because we are not being protected. There was a man who always approached us after service, and had no sense of personal space. Every time I took a step back, he took a step forward. There were probably only about two inches apart from my body and his, my husband had to get inbetween us to make a point. Not one member did anything. After I left, one of the peers wanted to know why we left, when I was honest, she seemed to take an offensive to it, and then explained the man had a stroke. No one told us. We had been going to the church two months in a row, and with our contact information no one told us there was a facebook page for the church, or texted me when church was canceled because of weather.

    After this ordeal, I told the Lord He would have to bring the church to me because at the state of my heart I was too fragile to try, and I was concerned it would make my spirit more sour. God continued to teach me and eventually revealed I was bitter. After I worked on humility with Him, and asking Him to provide the church, that couple I spoke of, they moved down the hall, and knocked on my door told me they were starting up a bible study while they looked at buildings to start the church. I was part of their growth. I got to see how God used them, and how He used them in two different buildings. Another couple they knew from Texas moved there and I was part of their growth too. We were the body of Christ. We helped each other. Even though it was a small group, so powerful.

    And that was when God revealed to me what the body of Christ was like in Acts. I’m forever grateful for it. Sometimes, He reminds me of Acts through the blogging community. He will use you, no doubt!

      1. Exactly! His ways and timing are different. I’ve been struggling with random thoughts that are wholesome. So I’m equipping myself with scripture to let go and not focus on the randomness but the truth. Scripture God knows what is in the dark and light is with Him. He always has a plan and a purpose. What happened in Little Rock was an immense blessing, in that case, it took serveral months for God to help me find a group of believers, and He protected me with them when my husband was stationed in South Korea for a year.

      1. I got you. Yeah I’m going to plant with our local Baptist convention (SCBC) but I can’t fully go SBC just because because of some of the historical baggage. I definitely have friends that SBC I just can commit to it myself.

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