Imagine What Starting RIGHT Would Look Like
By Nathan Camp
There are moments that stand out as pivotal opportunities for change that can alter the course of a journey. The beginning of a new year is one. As we step into 2024, Let's explore the profound impact of starting right and the transformative journey that unfolds when we choose a path of purpose, commitment, and confidence.
Today, I want to share some practical steps to help you start 2024 RIGHT- so you see the kingdom of God advance in every sphere of influence He has called you to impact.
1. Set a Clear Intention for 2024
Imagine a starting point where clarity reigns supreme. Before taking the first steps, envision defining your intentions with precision. What goals do you aim to achieve? What values will guide your actions? Starting right means making decisions that resonate with your values and ensuring that every step taken reflects the authenticity of your beliefs. This intentional alignment and clear roadmap become the compass guiding your journey.
2. Embrace a Fresh Perspective for Church Planting
Starting right invites a fresh perspective. In church planting, adopting a visionary outlook is paramount to not only surviving but thriving in the dynamic landscape of ministry. It entails more than a simple change in mindset; it's an intentional shift towards embracing new ideas and finding creative solutions to the unique challenges and opportunities that church planting presents.
Pastor, do not be shackled by routine or hesitant to explore new and innovative approaches to ministry. Church planting has witnessed numerous innovations in recent years, reflecting a dynamic response to societal changes, technological advancements, and evolving ministry strategies. Whether planting a digital church, microsite churches, utilizing incubator models, or even using a date-driven church planting management tool, these innovations reflect the adaptability of church planting efforts, demonstrating a commitment to meeting people where they are and effectively sharing the message of faith in a rapidly changing world.
Remember that a fresh perspective isn't a one-time event but a continuous commitment.
3. Establish and Fortify Your Foundation
Now is a great time to fortify the legal foundation on which your church can get established and grow. You may not have officially started your church, or maybe you just began holding services a few months ago and are thinking, “I will get around to the legal stuff once my church has settled.”
I want to give you two reasons why you should not wait to establish your church’s legal foundation:
- Legal protection: Establishing your church or ministry on a solid legal foundation removes liability from you and your church members.
- Tax-deductible donations: Many pastors do not realize this, but when a church does not have official 501(c)(3) status, the “burden of proof” falls upon the donors. In other words, if one of your church members were to get audited and your church did not have official 501(c)(3) status, the burden of proving that your church is compliant with section 501(c)(3) is their responsibility. That can be a huge burden to carry! Once you obtain official 501(c)(3) status for your church, you will be able to receive tithes and offerings and ensure your donors that their donations are tax-deductible.
Here are four steps you can take to start right and fortify your church’s legal foundation:
- Incorporate your church.
- Create and adopt bylaws tailored to your church.
- Implement policies and procedures.
- Keep and maintain excellent corporate records.
Have you taken these steps already? If it's been a while since you last did, now might be the perfect time to fortify your foundation and secure yourself against potential challenges. Consider actions such as updating your bylaws, initiating an official name or address change, or ensuring you are in good standing with the IRS.
4. Foster Leadership Growth
"Then he said to his disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'" - Matthew 9:37-38 (ESV)
You can’t fulfill the vision God has given you alone. This year, take time to develop a few key leaders. You'll be able to hand over new initiatives, roles, and assignments to them and help them step into a new level of their calling. Ultimately, this will lead to radical growth as others come alongside you this season.
As you start developing leaders, you'll want to make sure you have a solid ordination program in place to ordain ministers of the gospel. To establish an ordination program, check out our video course, Equipped to Ordain.
5. Develop a Growth Mindset
Starting right involves nurturing a mindset focused on growth. Embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and evolve. Picture a journey where setbacks are not roadblocks but stepping stones to success. By fostering a growth-oriented perspective, every experience catalyzes ministry advancement.
It’s time to pursue new avenues and strategies to reach the lost and broken. Look at your city's unique needs, and ask God what He wants to do and how you can be a part of it. The harvest may not come into the church building—it’s time to go into the field and bring them in!
An excellent strategy to consider is to start a Community Development Corporation (CDC) through your church. With a CDC, you can impact areas of your city that a solely religious organization may not have access to. Another significant benefit is receiving grants and other funding a church or ministry cannot receive.
6. Expand Your Online Presence
Online church and ministry are here to stay. And with millions of people online daily, the internet is a massive mission field. Maximizing your website, online giving, and social media platforms is essential moving into the new year.
Here's where tip #4 comes in handy. Raise leaders in your community who are passionate about online ministry. Recruit a team to develop creative ways to build your social media presence. This is a great way to affirm the younger generation and give them a platform to lead—all while growing your reach to those who may not find your church another way.
7. Reassess Your Branding
Simply put, your branding communicates who your church is to those you want to reach.
Consider asking these questions:
- Is your name recognizable in your community?
- Is your branding clear and easy to understand?
- Does your website have a clear mission and vision statement?
- Is your social media presence consistent with your brand?
Take some time to determine if you need to change your branding. This will add to your church's growth in the long run as your community begins to learn who you are and the heart behind your mission.
"The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives." Psalm 37:23 NLT
As we close our eyes and envision the possibilities of starting right, we are met with a landscape of boundless potential. The journey ahead is not merely a sequence of days; it's an opportunity to transform, thrive, and create a narrative of success for winning the world for Christ.
So, let us collectively imagine what starting right would look like, and as you move forward into the new year, begin with prayer and decide what practical steps you can take. And always remember, StartCHURCH is here to help you protect and grow what God has called you to lead. Please give us a call at (770)-638-3444 or click the link below to schedule a call with a ministry growth specialist.