Monday, June 29, 2009

SO YOU WANT TO PLANT A CHURCH

It seems that one of the unintended opportunities of this economic challenging time is the rise in teen entrepreneurship. Many of the typically summer jobs that have been fertile soil for youth employment are not as plentiful as in the past. The result is that many young men and women are beginning their own businesses.

Laura Petrecca (USA Today, “Teen entrepreneurs offer tips to aspiring peers,” 5.19.09) interviewed some of these young people and garnered tips for their peers. What she discovered can be helpful to aspiring church planters. Church planting is a start up. So if you are considering such an endeavor here are some helpful insights. I will share the tip and offer applications to church planting.

Don’t let shortcomings thwart you: When it comes to church planting don’t look at what you cannot do, but see what you can do. A primary method of uncovering strengths is through an assessment process. Go to www.uought2.org as a beginning point.

Expand upon your interests: What do you enjoy? What people do you like to be with? Where do you like to live? This is how, to whom and where you ought to consider planting a church.

Create a formal business plan: Church plants just don’t happen. Get trained in the development of an action plan. Find a coach who will help you implement the plan.

Scour for savings: Dollars are limited in the beginning of a church. Look for places you can get quality items for fair prices. Don’t be afraid to ask for contributions. “If you don’t ask the answer is always no” (Jim Bogear, Church Planter).

Price wisely: This refers to the cost asked for the service or product sold. In church planting this can be applied to what “price” you are asking your launch team to pay with their time, gifts and finances. Be careful you don’t ask the impossible. At the same time don’t sell them, or youself short…people tend to respond to big expectations.

Make taxes less taxing: Bottom line keep excellent financial records. Churches are tax exempt, but planters are not. Keep receipts, develop a sound paper trail. Be above reproach in all financial matters.

Create a sound financial plan: This is an Achilles Heel for many planters. Don’t confuse faith with foolishness. God does provide, but He also instructs us to count the cost.

Don’t overinvest in supplies/equipment: Everything you may think you need before your launch may not be accurate. Begin with good equipment, but resist thinking it has to be the very best. It lots of cases store brand is as good as product brand and at less cost. Allow your church to grow, and then grow your equipment into your church.

Promote your business and yourself: Church planting is a great deal about initiative. Seek out people don’t just expect them to come to you. Be innovative in your promotion. Do not shy from attracting people to you.

Know the rules: What are the expectations of the movement you are connected (denomination, network, association, etc…)? What zoning laws are there in the community you are planting? Are you incorporated correctly as a non-profit?

Carve out personal time: Church planting can be completely consuming. No one will care for you personally, physically, emotionally, relationally or spiritually like you will.

Stick with your dream: If you know that you know that you know that God has called you to planting pursue it relentlessly, hold it firmly, cherish it regularly, care for it lovingly and don’t let it fade!