In our first installment, I highlighted six things I have learned while church planting. Here are four additional items for your consideration. They are in no particular order.
1. Music: At Crown and Joy, we classify our musical selections into several categories (e.g., contemporary, traditional black gospel, psalms, and hymns). While it is my desire to continue using a variety of music, which is a part of the ethos of our congregation, it is also my dream to utilize a variety of instrumentation. We recently added a bass guitar. Prior to that, our musicians included a pianist and drummer. We also sometimes have a cellist and guitarist.
Where do you find talented musicians if they do not reside within your congregation? I presently know of a church who is simply looking for a pianist. It does not matter, therefore, if your vision for music is to utilize multiple musicians or just one, multiple genres of music or just traditional hymns, church planters should have both a direction for the music and the people to help accomplish it prior to starting Sunday services. You may have to look outside the congregation for help. Consider asking sister churches to assist you until the Lord brings musicians into membership. You may also need to inquire into the music department at a local university. In other words, there are ways to ensure your vision for music is accomplished. It just may not be as simple as using those within your church.
2. Money: In the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), church planters most often are required to raise a portion or all of their financial support for a 3-5 year budget. Whatever the total amount for fundraising, consider raising a bit more. You should take into account those who will leave either before the first service or those who may leave shortly thereafter. With the absence of people comes the absence of money. If you have raised just enough to cover your costs, and that included congregational giving, when people leave, internal giving decreases. As a result, you may end up in a financial predicament. Church planters have a lot occurring in their lives. You do not want to be concerned about money, too.
3. Movement: Church plants attract a variety of people. Some are bitter about their previous church experience. Therefore, in an attempt to make the church into their own image, they join you. Others are simply attracted to your vision and desire to join you. They are in good standing at their present church. In fact, they might even be sent by their church to join your efforts.
Knowing that church plants attract all kinds of people, church planters need to be studious about those whom are allowed into the work of a new church. One way to do this is to call the elders or pastors from the previous 2-3 churches of your potential members. Ask those church officers to share their thoughts about those who are seeking to join you. Sometimes, past performance indicates future acts. For example, if a person or family has been a part of one church for 8 or 9 years, that may indicate they will be with you for some time. On the other hand, if you discover that a family or person, who wants to join you, has moved around from church to church, that may indicate they have little commitment to the local church. And they may just as easily move on from your efforts just as they have at previous churches. To establish a strong base as your core group, you want those who are not bitter, as well as those who have a good reputation of longevity at past churches.
4. Management: Pastors in established churches have many duties. Church planters sometimes have more because we do not have the resources that established churches sometimes have (e.g., music directors, ministry leaders, associate pastors, etc.). One area that church planters should consider having managed is administration. Administrative duties, regardless of the size of one's church plant, can take between 8-15 hours per week. That time could be spent elsewhere (e.g., evangelism, community involvement, prayer and study, etc.). Consider, virtually from the beginning, hiring an administrative assistant. Train that individual to relieve you of certain duties so that you can place your efforts elsewhere.