Next month, our church is planning to sponsor our forth church-start in as many years. They are Westwind Church (2008), Veritas Church (2010), New Heights Church (2012), and Cornerstone Church of Ankeny (September 2012). Each one has a similar style and model of church life but with slightly varying approaches. Together, these new churches represent nearly 1000 worshippers gathering weekly. It’s time to stop and reflect on some of the lessons learned, however, some of th0se lessons won’t apply to other church starting models. This series will have five posts for church planters and five for sponsoring churches.
Five lessons for Church Planters… Lesson 4: after the launch
1. Develop a new members class to give people a sense of ownership and belonging, share the values and vision of the church, and communicate expectations that come from membership. Track new members to know the percentage of your growth that comes from transfers from other churches and the percentage that are joining as new believers.
2. Begin elders-in-training class
- Invite those who are qualified as elders and already serving to attend an “elders-in- training” class. Let them know that no one automatically becomes an elder who attends the class. Conduct the meeting like a typical elders meeting: pray for members, talk through message that is being taught, consider shepherding issues, review the vision and direction of the church. Consider an overnight retreat.
- From the group, select the best elders, merge them with the interim group. Later (normally in a year or so) phase out the interim elders and the new ones will remain as the full team.
3. Don’t forget to give an update on the launch to any sponsoring churches or donors.
4. Now that you better know what you’re working with, when should you add new ministries/staff?
- Add full-time staff for every 100-125 members
- Begin thinking of staff members as specialists as well as generalists. Eventually find the best person in each ministry area as well as those with general ministry skills. Consider volunteers and adding part-time staff along with full-time staff. Initially full-time staff will need to have several ministry responsibilities.
5. Keep an eye on finances. Even if attendance is going well, people may not be giving. Continue to cast vision for giving and don’t expand the budget too rapidly.
Brandon, Geoff, Troy, Jeff, Mark, Jeff, Kevin, Paul, DB, Mike, Jeff, Todd or anyone else… What would you add or modify?
See other posts in this series: