5 Things You MUST do BEFORE You Plant a Church

By Lane Corley

“I think I want to start a church one day, where do I start or what should I be doing now?” I get this question a couple of times of month and it’s awesome that so many are interested in church planting these days. Here’s my typical response:

1. Confirm Your Calling.

You can’t just “think” you want to start a church, you need to KNOW that this is what you’re called and cut out by the Holy Spirit to do. The best way to confirm calling is to let others do it with you and for you. There are a variety of sources that offer Church Planting Assessments that start online and move to an interview where experienced church planters can help you confirm your make up & call to plant. Being disgruntled about the church(es) you’re currently attending can be part of a calling, BUT should not be the only part. Planters are shaped by God. Check out my post “You Might Be A Church Planter if…” to see some typical innate qualities of those who plant.

2. Confirm Your Spouse’s Calling.

Your spouse may not be the church planter, but will need to have a sense of calling none the less, b/c so much of the early years of planting a church will encompass your home life. And your call to MARRIAGE, if you are a spouse, will ALWAYS supersede your call to plant a church. If your spouse is not on board, wait!

3. Deal with the Cracks in Your Character.

Church Planting can be like a pressure cooker. The stress and heat of the moments in the beginning of a new church will bring out whatever is in you, good and bad. So, if you’re struggling with addiction, anger, insecurity; church planting will most likely not help you in this struggle. Have a plan that includes accountability, rest, closeness to God, and emergency response by others as you feel pressure rising.

4. Get Equipped.

Read, attend church planting conferences, and seek out at least one good school of church planting or Basic Training. Listening to the podcast of a famous church planter is good, but it’s not the training you need to plant a church in a particular context. That planter is successful because of systems that are in place that you’ll never see just simply by listening to a podcast. Find a workshop type training in your area that will help you plan for evangelizing & discipleship in your context.

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5. Build Your Network.

There are very few “self-made” church planters. To be successful you will need others. Start by seeking out Prayer Partners and do this as soon as possible. Start an E-Newsletter or send personal emails to everyone you know who MIGHT pray for you and be interested in what God’s doing in your life. Let them know what you’re praying about and seek their partnership in prayer. You’ll also need financial partners, on mission partners to be part of your core team, and a network of other planters/coaches/mentors who will advise you along the way.

So, you think you want to start a church?
  • Are you called by God? or by disgruntlement? Desire for fame? or something else?
  • Who is helping you confirm your calling?
  • Is your spouse & family on board?
  • Have you dealt with cracks in your character?
  • Do you have a network?
  • How many prayer partners do you have?

And one BIG honorable mention:

  • Consider being part of a church planting team. Nothing prepares you for planting like experiencing it first hand as a team member. If you’re able, find a new church to become a member of for a year and get to know real life church planting. You can use this time to work on the 5 MUSTS. And maybe that church plant will be a big part of your growing network!

What would you add to this list?

Lane Corley is a Church Planting Strategist for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Visit his website here for other helpful articles.

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