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3 Steps to Planting a Church

By Nathan Camp

I can still remember the season I was in when I heard the Lord call me to plant a church. I was serving on staff at a large church as their Young Adult Pastor. It was a season of pressing in for sure. I knew I wanted more of the Lord. I knew He had something for me - I didn’t know what. But, after a series of profound events, it became clear what God wanted us to do - to plant a church.

I submitted that call to my Pastor, who affirmed that call. My heart came alive. This call came with a move to a specific location; I always thought about that city. I could see people's faces in that city, and I fell in love with people I hadn’t yet met. However, I still had responsibilities, and it would be over a year before I would actually be released to pursue the vision in my heart.

And that was ok because I knew very little about church planting. I started asking a very big question, “What would it actually take to start a church from scratch?”

I can remember sitting at my desk late into the night, surrounded by many church planting books and writing on a legal pad each step I learned about planting from these resources. I learned that the church in my heart wouldn’t get started just because I could preach, but I needed to learn how to grow a team, raise finances, select a location, assimilate new members, and so on.

In those late hours, even though my heart was burning with a passion for planting the church - I was quickly confronted with the enormity of planting. It was very easy to feel overwhelmed.

Having now planted two churches from scratch, I have learned many lessons. In fact, we made a video course called “Launch to Lead” that gives you high-level coaching and the ground-level resources needed to get your church started.

But for the sake of this blog, I want to highlight three things I think every church plant needs if it is actually to make it to launch Sunday.

1. A Launch Date

When it comes to planting a church, picking your launch date is one of the most important (and fun!) aspects of your church planting journey. This date will forever be celebrated in the life of your church. And, very practically, not all days are created equal for a church plant. Picking a date allows you to reverse engineer the steps you need to do to successfully to that launch date.

Now, it’s important to note - God can move in any day of the year! There are no limitations to what God can do! However, there are some key dates to consider during the planting calendar that may want to consider; seasons, mainly to think about when you can work with the natural rhythms of the planting calendar:

A. Easter

B. Back to School (Late August, Early September)

C. January

As I mentioned, God can launch a church on any day of the year, but working with the natural rhythms - such as a natural, built-in crowd at Easter or the natural time of back to school (when people are trying to get back to a regular schedule out of the summer) or January, when people want to start their year off right seems to offer some tremendous built-in momentum for starting a church service.

2. A Launch Plan

Once you have a date, the hard work of planning starts. Edwin Louis Cole once said, “There are dreamers, and there are planners; the planners make their dreams come true.”

When it comes to your church plant - who are YOU - a dreamer or a planner?

A plan is the scaffolding to a soon-to-be-built building. You see the scaffolding a long time before you see the building.

The same is true with your church plant. You will see a plan long before you see a congregation. Your plan is the rails that much of your church plant will ride on. Having talked to thousands of church planters over the last decade at StartCHURCH, I feel with some reasonable certainty that when someone shares their vision with me, I can tell by their plan whether they will actually make it to their first service. It’s that important!

A plan helps address some of your most important decisions:

How do you decide to get from where you are to your first service?

What kind of plan are you going to have?

Will you launch large or start small?

Will you start portable, or do you want a building right away?

Will you have a staff or all volunteers?

What about finances - how much do you need to raise to bring that vision to pass?

I remember trying to develop a plan for my first church plant with all those books and legal pads. I remember starting with a blank paper and writing a launch plan was difficult. I had tons of books - but getting all the right steps was heavy lifting. However, thankfully for today’s planter, there are tools like Launch Halo that have customizable, date-driven church planting plans that can take the guesswork out of developing your plan forward.

3. A Launch Tool

Now that you have a launch date and a plan to get there, the last step for this article is having the right tool to help you execute that plan.

Have you thought of all the steps from vision to launch?

How will you keep track of what steps you’ve taken, how much money you’ve raised, and your next priorities? 

Some people develop intricate spreadsheets for this, but today’s technological atmosphere allows tools like Launch Halo to give you the tracking, reporting, and planning you need to allow your church plant the best chance of making it your launch service.

Church planting isn’t easy. It’s not for the faint of heart or the uncommitted. There will be warfare, challenges, and days you want to quit. But, with the correct date, plan, and tool, you are best poised to see your vision come to pass. After that, it’s all in the hands of the Lord.

StartCHURCH has helped over 20,000 churches and ministries take their initial steps toward seeing the church in their heart get planted, or their ministry launched. With our focus mainly on the compliance and bookkeeping side of planting, we love creating tools and resources that help the next generation of church planters plant on a solid foundation.

If we can help you, please call us at 770-638-3444 and let us know how we can best serve you or schedule a call with the link below. As you protect what God has called you to lead, we believe you will move boldly and confidently into the future.


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