30 Jan 2020

How to Launch Your Church by Easter, Part 1

Stephen Rawlings

  • How do you start a church? 
  • Who should I trust with my ministry?
  • How do I plan for sustainable growth in my church? 

These are just a few of the questions that we get asked every day at StartCHURCH, and we are well equipped to help!

First off, let me say thank you. 

Church planters are the forerunners of ministry, and by following God's leadership, you expand the Kingdom. The path you are on will be difficult, but with the right team, you can achieve the vision that God has planted in your life. 

Let's talk about some practical steps you can take to achieve your dreams. 

Here are some steps you will want to consider when preparing to launch your church: 
  • Create a capable launch team 
  • Get the word out about your church
  • 10 steps to getting 100 people at your first service 
  • Budget for your church plant 
  • Budget for your launch service
  • Plan your second service

Create a capable launch team

John Maxwell said, "A leader without followers is simply a man taking a walk." In other words, it's only when you have people following you that you are a real leader. 

The first step in planting a church is to create a launch team. This is the initial group that gathers to see the church get started. They create a type of "Scaffolding Ministry."

See, scaffolding is used during the building process. It acts as a temporary structure. Once the structure is done, the scaffolding moves to the next job. That is its purpose. The scaffolding ministry acts in the same way. 

The launch team may be a part of your church for a short time, but they act as the original visionaries of your church. Here are three essential truths you need to understand about your launch team. 

1. You need them

The sheer amount of work that goes into a church plant is astounding. You will not be able to do all of it by yourself, and you may not be the best-equipped person to perform each and every task. And that’s okay!

Good leaders know when to delegate. You may be able to bring out impactful truths during the sermon, but perhaps the bookkeeping side of your ministry is outside of your strengths. 

2. You must value them

Treasure your launch team. They are in the trenches of ministry with you, and often gratitude is all they want out of their time and experience.

God brought these people to your ministry; be grateful for their unique talents. 

3. You must let them go

 Some of the launch team may stay, but some people are only around for a season. 

If a launch team member is trying to transition out, bless them as they leave. If you decide to hold onto the scaffolding for too long, you will impede another building's progress. 

The functions of the launch team

The launch team carries your church's DNA. The DNA of your church is the vision, culture, and the essence of what the church is. You, as the planter, establish the DNA of the church, but the launch team members are the ones who execute it. 

They are the first who will live out the DNA beyond yourself. 

They help to establish the expectations of what your worship, discipleship, and services look like. When they are sure of the church's genetic identity, you will be able to move forward. 

They become your initial volunteers. 

Running a church requires a lot of time, energy, and planning. It’s difficult to do even with proper staffing. The workload is even harder if you are in a portable situation because it will be your first time performing these tasks in a pressured environment. 

Proper planning and the right launch team will be essential. 

You may need volunteers to do set up and tear down, lead worship, run sound, lead the Children's ministry, and more. 

Do not be afraid; the launch team has your back!  

They become your original visionaries.  

Beyond volunteering, your launch team helps flesh out your vision. The planning and preparation do not need to be done on your own; your launch team can help expound upon your vision. 

The launch team gives vision structure and movement. 

You may be wondering, “How do I find a great launch team member?”

You have to get them!

It is your responsibility to go out and find your launch team members. 

As church planters, we need to recognize the need to develop a group of people that will help you get your vision off the ground. 

This means asking friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and acquaintances to be a part of your launch team. The church planter sees potential in everyone.

God can use anyone for His glory, and this is true for your church plant as well. 

To find the 10 qualities that define a great launch team member check out our Launch to Lead video series!  

Plant Your Church with Confidence!

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Spread the word about your church

The topic of numbers makes people uncomfortable, but let's discuss why. 

People use numbers to define success. 

This is not the right measuring stick. The goal is sustainable growth, not measuring success based on how many people attend your church. God cares just as much about the one as the ninety-nine. 

People use numbers to justify gimmicks.

This is when people will do anything to draw a crowd. This mindset is not only destructive, but it can lead to organizations watering down the Gospel. 

We care about sustainability. 

We want you to have an excellent first service, but we also want you to be able to hold more services. There is a part of being sustainable that is about having enough people to sustain God's vision. That's why we want to aim for your church to get 100 people at your frist service.

Why 100? 

A lot of factors go into making your church sustainable, but the most common one we see is the goal of hitting 100 people in the first few years being a secure sign of sustainability. 

A church that has 100 people typically has resources, volunteers, and strong central leadership. They usually do not need to rely on any outside help to keep their doors open. 

A church with 100 people can survive the "second week drop off.” 

Usually, churches lose around 50 percent of their congregation during their second week. So, an excellent healthy goal is to grow your congregation back to the 100 mark by the second anniversary. 

A lot of friends, family, and curious people will join you for your launch day. But they will not return the next week, because they will go back to their churches. This is normal and not alarming. 

10 steps to having 100 people at your first service

1. Mailers. This is one of the best ways to reach your local community. Around 0.25% of the numbers you send out will respond and visit your service. 

2. Social media ads. Most people are on social media. These ads will target those people, and you can put filters to target specific demographics. 

3. Road signs and flags. Our CEO Nathan Camp said that road signs and flags were the number one way his church plant got new visitors. These signs should have your church’s name on them, place, service times, and website address. 

4. Press releases. Alert the local media to your launch date. Also, consider alerting the local police if your launch date will cause traffic. You may want to hire an officer to direct traffic.

5. Radio. Consider doing advertising on both Christian and secular stations. Outside drive time rates are often cheaper and reach a good number of people.  

6. Event support. Check your city calendar for events that your launch team can go to. See if you can set up a booth or volunteer at, and have your team wear your ministries shirt. 

7. Gift baskets. Send gift baskets to officials and let them you want to be a resource for the city. It is a good idea to show a servant's heart when you go to a new area. 

8. Website. Your website is crucial for picking up traffic. Most people will look into an organization's site before visiting, and if you are not tech-savvy, call us and ask about StartSITES. We can make it easy for you. 

9. Outreach. Doing local outreach is a great way to introduce yourselves to a community. By handing out water or doing local service, you can reach people by showing them who you are. 

10. Join a tribe. Consider joining a church planting organization. They often will help people find a church in the seeker's area. Consider ARC, Stadia, CAP, and others to assist you in church planting. 

Remember: Ministry was not meant to be done alone. 

Budget for your church plant

Church planting is expensive, and great church planters get great at budgeting. 

If you are not the budgeting type, please keep reading.

Churches must learn to use their funds wisely from the beginning. 

Spend your time leading your money, not just locating it. 

Many churches get so passionate about raising money that once the church has it, they have no idea what to do with it. Passionate fundraising is not an excuse for poor fund management. The truth is, many pastors don't need more money, they need better management. 

Create your budget before your church gets money, and then stick to it. 

Dave Ramsey says, "Tell your money where to go, or you'll always be wondering where it went!" 

Hire a Bookkeeper to Manage Your Finances!

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Budget for your launch service 

Many factors play a part in your budgeting, so every church will be different. You simply cannot apply one church's budget to another with 100% accuracy. 

However, we can give you three areas to plan for that will be extremely helpful in your budget planning. 

1. Facilities

Where are you planning on meeting? 

Discuss the possibilities with your board of directors, and try to find a location that meets your needs. 

Some great possibilities for portable church locations are movie theaters, schools, other churches, facilities that can be rented, or even homes.  

Discuss what you can afford and what the benefits are of each location. For example, movie theaters often come with comfortable seating but are often expensive. 

2. Staff 

Defining the differences between staff and volunteers is essential. 

What are your expectations for your staff? 

Not everyone needs a paycheck, and luckily for you, volunteers are the lifeblood of the church. Remember to thank your volunteers when you can. 

A great idea for showing appreciation is volunteer night. Many churches will go bowling, throw an office party, or hold a barbecue as a way to "let their hair down" with the volunteers. 

These simple actions can keep the volunteers moods uplifted, and it can show them how much you appreciate their effort. 

It is okay not to pay people. Most will understand you are a startup, and funds are being strictly budgeted. However, when you do decide to pay, people set yourself up correctly. Give us a call at (770) 638-3444 and talk to us about your plans. 

3. Ministry 

Ministry is where the expenses tend to add up. Hosting services are costly and need to be accounted for when creating your budget. 

Trust me, what can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst time. Lights will break, cables will burn out, and someone will spill coffee on your computer. Having extra income for "just in case" moments is a great idea. 

Wise is the planter who walks through the church experience to discover the real costs of putting on the service that is in their hearts. 

At the launch stage, the best course of action is to find out what things cost, and confiding in other pastor friends about costs can help you to prepare. 

When you come up with that number, don't be shocked. What the Lord has ordained, the Lord will provide.

Plan for your second service 

Honestly, we could talk for hours about how to properly set up your church by Easter. However, don’t allow yourself to fall victim to tunnel vision.

Your church was meant to exist beyond your launch date. Make sure your plan your budgeting accordingly beyond just your launch date. 

Church planting is complex and unique to your vision, but here at StartCHURCH, we can help you StartRIGHT and plan accordingly for your ministry. You are called to plant your church, and we are called to help church planters. 

Click here to schedule a free 30-minute phone call with our church planting specialists to see what we can do for you! 

Stay tuned for part two of this blog in which we’ll let you know how to start your church on a legal foundation.

Launch Your Church by Easter!

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Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Blessings,
Raul Rivera


And receive our free eBook Sequence: A step-by-step guide to successfully launching your church.