Planting a new church is a major undertaking. You need to carefully plan out your ministry and outreach, and get everything in place before your plant opens its doors. Here is a church planting checklist to guide you through the process.
- Assemble a Launch Team
- Establish a Ministry Plan
- Create a Financial Plan
- Find a Worship Facility
- Purchase Furniture and Equipment
Assemble Your Launch Team
You can’t plant a church alone. Make a list of every essential role you need to have filled in your ministry and recruit people for each role. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Music and worship
- Technical support
- Outreach and community coordinator
- Publicity director
- Financial operations
- Events coordinator
- Bible study group leader
- Prayer ministry coordinator
- Maintenance (if you own the building you meet in)
- Volunteer coordinator
How do you go about recruiting people? Start with your personal network of friends, family, spiritual mentors, and fellow worshippers. You don’t need a big team to start your church plant. You could start out with just a handful of worshippers and spread your mission throughout the community.
Establish A Ministry Plan
Before you start promoting your church plant or recruiting new members, you should have a clear idea of how your worship services will be structured. Ask yourself these questions:
- Will a pastor, minister, or other church leader preach at each service?
- Will you read from the Bible or discuss scripture?
- Will there be music, and if so, will it be more contemporary or traditional?
- How will the seating be arranged?
Once you know how the service will be structured, you can more effectively promote your church plant to the community by telling them what makes your service stand out among other churches.
Perhaps more important is establishing your church’s mission and purpose. This is the driving force behind everything your congregation does. Make sure you have a clear idea of why you are founding this church, and what your church will do for its members and community.
Create A Financial Plan
Financial planning is one of the most vital things you can do to help your church plant thrive. The most basic thing you must do is create an operating budget. This can be hard when you’re starting out and don’t know exactly what you will get in terms of weekly or monthly contributions. It might be helpful to start with your expenses and see how much money you will need to cover them all. Then, make that your goal for total monthly contributions.
You also want to make sure you have a system for keeping track of income and expenses. Financial software can be helpful for this. If possible, hire an accountant, or ask a member with bookkeeping experience to help out.
If your plant has employees, you will want to have the necessary payroll system set up well in advance of the launch date. Also consider incorporating as a nonprofit and applying for 501 (c) (3) tax exempt status.
Find A Suitable Worship Facility
Church plants are usually small, and they don’t always meet in a traditional church building. If your budget is tight, don’t be afraid to get creative. Your congregation could meet in a school gymnasium, a community room, or a shopping center. It could even be as simple as a group of worshippers meeting in someone’s home.
Purchase Furniture and Equipment
Depending on your facility and the size of your congregation, you may need to obtain a few pieces of equipment for your new church. While you won’t need as much as a larger church, there are some essential pieces of furniture and/or equipment worth considering:
Seating – When you’re furnishing a church plant, versatility should be your main goal. Portable church chairs are a comfortable option that you can reuse outside of worship services. They can be stored and transported easily, which is helpful if you are sharing a facility with other organizations.
Musical instruments – Worship music is essential to most services. You don’t have to buy a large variety of instruments, and you could even ask members to volunteer their own instruments for the worship service.
Audio/video equipment – If you are meeting in a large facility, you want to be sure all members can hear and see the service.
Lectern – Most services involve preaching and scripture reading. While bigger churches may be able to invest in a large pulpit to preach from, lecterns are generally a better investment for a church plant. Not only are lecterns more affordable, but they are also light and portable.
Folding tables – This is a versatile investment for your church plant. You can use folding tables as an altar or communion table, set them up for banquets or Sunday school classes, or take them to community outreach events.
Planting a church is a major undertaking that requires detailed planning. By following this checklist, you’ll be well on your way to launching a new congregation!
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