Church Planting: Before You Start (part two)

Last Tuesday I started a series sharing some of what I learned while planting a church.  My top secret plan in all this is to turn the comments section of these posts into a powerful resource for planters, and potential planters… so please, share your wisdom, insight, and experiences and let’s walk through this together.

Thursday I shared the first of three thoughts I had for those who are thinking about church planting: Limit Your Exposure.  Today, I want to finish that thought with the other two thoughts: Answer the Why and Planning Is Indispensable.  I’d love to hear your thoughts, push back, or anything that you might add to the conversation.

Answer the Why.

I am going to tell you a secret, please don’t share this with anyone (especially our early funding organizations).  When we moved into Baltimore we had no clue what we were going to do.  We knew we were planting a church and sure, we had plans.  We had big dreams, and bigger visions.  We were able to talk about who we would be ministering to, what our “target demographic” looked like, and how to address their needs… but we were wrong.  It took us at least six months of being on the ground before we really realized what we had gotten ourselves into, and how we were going to approach ministry.

What stayed the same that entire time was our desire to reconcile the City of Baltimore with the Kingdom of God.  We were there to be agents of reconciliation, and to introduce people to Jesus.  We knew our why so that when our how and what (programs, events, and methods) needed to change, we were able to stay on target.  Which leads into my next point…

Planning is Indispensable.

My favorite quote of all time is from Dwight Eisenhower:

In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.

While we may not have known what we were in for in Baltimore, the fact that we had invested countless hours thinking through why we were church planting, what we were planting, how we intended to do it, and what it would look like gave us a head start on creating our plan b (through h).  I am commonly asked “if everything is going to change when we get on the ground, why are we bothering to invest all this time and effort in planning?”  The discipline and strategic thinking that you gain from your times of planning will allow you to be flexible when the time comes to rethink your strategy.  Dream big, plan for success, but be ready when the time comes to change your plan.

What advice do YOU have for those who are preparing to plant?


About the Author: Matt Steen

I love Jesus, Theresa (my wife), the Redskins & Capitals, and am currently living in Waco, Texas where I am studying the finer points of BBQ (while working on my MDiv and MBA at Baylor University). When not studying, I serve church leaders through MinistryBriefing.com and am the Director of Connections for Harris Creek Baptist Church's Downtown Campus.