I want to dive into a topic that’s close to my heart and crucial for the future of DOVE International: church planting and expansion. Whether you’ve been in the ministry for decades or are just starting out, these principles are like a GPS for navigating this exciting yet challenging path.
Remember – we need to be planting churches! Have you taken your foot off the gas pedal and found yourself coasting along in ministry? I pray that you will be inspired to make Kingdom plans and plant a new church this year!
1. Recognize Your Grace Zone:
You’ve got to know your sweet spot—the unique grace God has poured out on you. It’s like finding your groove in a dance. When you stay in rhythm with His grace, you’ll find blessings and favor raining down on your endeavors.
2. Value Every Victory:
Church planting? It’s pioneering at its best! Remember, even baby steps are progress. Cherish the small wins and learn from the hiccups. They are the stories you’ll tell down the road, the ones that shaped your journey.
3. Maintain Integrity and Authenticity:
This one’s huge, friends. Be real, be you, and always do the right thing, even when no one’s watching. Your integrity is like a beacon, guiding your church and building trust within your community.
4. Grow from a Place of Strength:
Before you think about expanding, make sure your home base is rock solid. It’s like when you’re on an airplane, and they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Secure your foundation, then reach out and plant seeds in new soil.
5. Count the Cost Financially and Spiritually:
Church planting is not a walk in the park. It’s a marathon, and you’ve got to be ready—spiritually and financially. Count the costs, make a plan, and trust in God’s provision. He’s got your back!
6. Choose the Right Leaders:
Your church’s effectiveness hinges on strong leadership. It’s like putting together a dream team. You want passionate, dedicated folks who are in it for the long haul. Your team can make or break your future church plant.
7. Strategically Select Your Location:
Don’t just go for the easy or the glamorous spots. Think strategic. Where can your church make the biggest impact? It’s all about finding that perfect spot where you can truly make a difference. My personal default is to pray for a location where there is 1) no church or 2) no churches with similar DNA to the one that is in your heart to plant.
8. Steer Clear of Shortcuts:
If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Build your church on faithfulness in the little things, and be wary of anyone promising the moon without any proof in the pudding. Skip all of the articles titled “3 Easy Ways to Plant a Church.” Church planting isn’t easy! It may be the toughest thing you will ever do. When you see a webinar titled – “Break the 500 barrier”, do some research and see if the person giving the webinar has the experience to give that particular advice. I like to get my info and glean wisdom from church planting practitioners rather than theorists.
9. Cultivate Connections and Relationships:
Church planting can get lonely, but you don’t have to go it alone. Keep your relationships strong and lean on a community that supports you. This can come in the form of a denomination or network or even close friends who love you, Jesus, and the church. Together, you can weather any storm.
10. Aim to Make a Huge Impact:
The world doesn’t need more lukewarm churches. It needs vibrant, life-giving communities that are all-in on the Great Commission. Let’s be the change, bringing hope and transformation to every corner of the earth.
So there you have it—10 guiding principles to lead you through the journey of church planting and expansion. Let’s stick together, support one another, and build something that truly reflects the heart of Jesus. Here’s to thriving faith communities and transformed lives!