Association of Clergy International CHURCH PLANTING GUIDE
Congratulations on your decision to partner with Christ in order to plant a church! The foundation of the Gospel is in reaching the lost for Christ and this is what church planting is all about. Winning the Lost for Christ is truly what the mission of planting a church is at the core of this much needed ministry within the body of Christ. With years of knowledge in church planting the Association of Clergy International would like to provide this guide to you. We want to be honest and upfront with you to let you know that this is among the most difficult missions in ministry. The enemy of our soul (Satan) does not want you to plant a church. Satan will do all he can to stop, discourage, or place a road block in your church plant mission. Church planting is very difficult and requires much prayer, patience, faith, trust in God but the rewards are heavenly. Because of this intense spiritual warfare, many ministers abandon their initial call of God and “settle” for anything else. We stand behind you as an intercessor for your church plant ministry.
Below are essential steps to planting your church. This guide is not intended to be exhaustive in the subject of church planting. It is intended to be a starting (basic) guide. This guide will give you fundamentally a start to church planting but it is the responsibility of each church planter to pray, seek, improve, and invest in their vision. No one can give you the desire and perseverance for your work. Each of us is accountable to God for our own efforts and will reap according to what we sow (invest) into this ministry. May the Lord bless you richly as you pursue your church planting ministry and may it grow abundantly for the glory of God!
Fundamental Principles for Church Planting
1. YOU MUST LIVE A RIGHTEOUS LIFE BEFORE THE LORD AND BECOME A PRAYER WARRIOR – God is NOT looking for the most talented or knowledgeable person. The LORDs requirements are always on personal integrity and spiritual life instead of someone who has many extrinsic values. He is not looking for PH.D’s but the LORD is looking at your heart. Therefore it is essential that the church planter live a holy life before the Lord. The church planter also needs to become a prayer warrior. No church plant will ever flourish without sowing the seeds of prayer. God first starts with the leader of this mission. If the leader is misplaced, then so will the rest of the people be. Guard your personal devotional life and always place your relationship with Christ as supreme to all other endeavors without sacrificing all the other as well.
2. HAVE AN INTERCESORY TEAM JOIN YOU TO PRAY FOR THIS WORK – It is important that you have prayer warriors who will stand with you in prayer. Church planting will be one of the biggest warfare’s you will engage in and the enemy will not be happy with your vision. The intercessory team you select will be critical in order to disarm the powers and principalities coming against you. Pick godly people who are living a righteous life.
3. IT IS IMPORTANT TO BE RECORGNIZED AND ACCOUNTABLE BEFORE MAN AND GOD – Many church planters go at it alone without any spiritual covering. This is not only wrong but unscriptural. We need to be correctly installed with credentials from biblically solid ministries. It is the Lords will that we have proper and legal credentials to be classified as ministers. It is vitally important to hold credentials in order to be considered a legal minister. Minister with credentials can officially and legally officiate marriage ceremonies, funerals, baptisms, etc. We understand that it is God who calls you first but ministers must also hold legal credentials to be recognized as a minister. The AOCI has many biblically solid evangelical and spirit filled credentialing ministries who can give you legal authority and this covering. Please let us know if we can help you by referring you to these credentialing ministries. Being a member of A.O.C.I. compliments your credentials and enhances your standing as a minister.
4. ESTABLISH YOUR PROFESSIONALISM AND MARKETING SOURCE WITH A WEBSITE AND WITH A BUSINESS CARD - In today’s advanced technological world, we must use the tools given to us for the advancement of the kingdom of God. A web site gives people a chance to review your vision and provide them with general information about your vision. A ministry business card does the same. You should use these tools to direct people to in order to make people aware of what you are doing. Websites have a plethora of features and tools you can use in order to attract potential members (both Christians and non-Christians). In today’s ministry life it is almost a requirement.
5. GET INVOLVED IN COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES – This builds credibility through your servant leadership. Identify what the networks are in your community in order to build relationships. These networks include both Christian and Non Christian (within reason). No church plant will ever grow without community involvement. Jesus himself sat and ate with sinners and His ministry was successful.
6. SELECT A PLACE TO HOLD BIBLE STUDIES WHICH IS COST EFFECTIVE – We don’t recommend you go out and rent a place right away. Hold bible studies in your home, apartment club house, etc. When the bible study grows and you outgrow the place you are holding your bible studies, it is then time to find another neutral place to meet like a store front, etc.
7. A CHURCH PLANT MUST ALWAYS EVANGELIZE THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST – Share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with whoever and where ever you go. Follow up and invite people to your bible study. Pick three couples and commit to pray for them. You can start your bible study with just a few people who understand and support your vision.
8. COMMIT TO ON-GOING IMPROVEMENT THROUGH EDUCATION AND CONNECTION WITH OTHER CLERGYMEN AND WOMEN – No minister will ever grow by themselves. Commit to self study is important for personal development. In addition, it is highly recommended that you connect with other ministers who will provide opportunities for learning, growth, support, encouragement, and challenge. We need each other in the LORD and your connection is to fellow ministers is vital. You may also take advantage of the AOCI Bible School at no cost in order to enhance your biblical studies. 4 Levels are provided and once you complete level 3 and 4, we will provide you with a Diploma of Biblical Studies (Level 3) and/or Diploma of Ministerial Studies (Level 4) for a small fee.
9. DETERMINE HOW YOU WOULD LIKE TO SET UP YOUR MINISTRY – Within the church there is debate regarding obtaining a 501c3 status/incorporating or not. You will need to research these aspects. If incorporating is the avenue you want to pursue and getting a 501c3 status is what you want, the AOCI has ministries that can do this. The main reason to do this is to be able to apply for government funding. However, IRS Publication 557 and 526 has provided legal tax exemption automatically to the church and gifts are automatically tax deductable as long as you provide a receipt of donation. If you need additional information on running a church without incorporating or getting a 501c3 because you want to be free from being an entity of the state, you can go to www.hushmoney.org
for more information.
10. TRUST GOD FOR FUNDING BUT NEVER MANIPULATE OR COARSE PEOPLE OR ORGANIZATIONS TO GIVE FINANCIALLY- The church planter must be willing to fund as much as necessary in order to get a solid foundation going. Yes, tithing is a biblical doctrine and we believe should be preached, but never preach this with a hidden agenda to get people to give. The church planter must be willing to do what it takes to fund their own ministry. In the beginning stages, you should be willing to pay for all ministry expenses such as Bibles, teaching print outs, etc. As your church grows and the people embrace your vision, the funds will come. Remember that it is God who causes the growth and you only water your vision. God will reward you according to your own efforts (labor). (1 Cor. 3:6-8)
Below are a few helpful links and helpful resources as you start to plant your church. May the LORD of the harvest bring multiple millions of souls into the kingdom because of your efforts and His Grace!
Free Sermons for Pastors
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Expert marketing advice on using postcards to attract new visitors.
Sermons & Sermon Outlines
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Interim Pastor Training
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FREE WEB SITES
OTHER WEBSITE PROVIDERS AND DOMAIN PURCHASE
RECOMMENDED BOOKS TO READ:
1. CHURCH FOR THE UNCHURCHED by George Hunter
2. HOW TO REACH SECULAR PEOPLE by George Hunter
Written by Dr. Henry Vazquez, B.B.S, M.Div, Th.D
President of the Association of Clergy International