This is part two of this article. Please click here to read part one.
How will you pay to start your church?
I do not want to discourage you about finances because God can provide them. But you must answer this question before you go forward. When we rented our building, we needed to pay three months worth of rent upfront to get into the building. I could not tell the owner, “Don’t worry about the money; God will provide.” He wanted his money, or no building. Here are two ideas for financing your church plant.
- You can raise money from churches that you may know. Some churches would love to get behind you with a one-time gift.
- You can raise monthly support. As you travel, you can save as my family did from love offerings and extra money that you weren’t expecting. This will be tricky because you will always be tempted to spend the money.
How will you let people know you exist?
There are many ways you can promote your first service—newspaper, radio, TV, hot air balloons—you name it. When you are on a budget you will have to make choices. We decided to print ten thousand four-color flyers for our first service. We bought them at the best quality possible and started giving them out three weeks before we started our church.
I started canvassing at five o’clock every morning; and about nine o’clock, I started knocking on the doors to meet people and try to lead them to Christ. If you can use the newspaper and radio that is great because they will help you promote your church even more.
What will your first service be like?
I thought about this day and night for six months. I would jot ideas down on a piece of paper only to throw them away and start over again. Don’t think, it will just all come together. If you do not have a clear view of what this service will be like, it will be very easy for you to mismanage your funds. If you develop a strategy that you know God has given you, then your priorities will be clear, and it will be easy to decide what you do and do not need.
Here are five ideas for your first service:
1. Have an Upbeat Service
Sing songs that are easy to sing like “Victory in Jesus.”
2. Cast Vision
We decided to make a welcome video which explained the reason for the church plant, communicated our purpose, and explained how the families in our church would benefit by coming to church. I said to the people there, “We will work hard for the day that every person in Hermosillo knows that we exist and that there is a God in Heaven who sent His Son to die for them.” In my office, I have a map of our city that we use to go door to door, street by street.
Make sure you include your audience in your vision, so that it becomes their vision as well.
3. Preach the Gospel
In our first service we had an ex-Catholic priest who is my neighbor. The title of the sermon was “Religious but Lost,” and I took into consideration that most of the people attending that day were Catholic. After the service my neighbor said, “Luis, I never heard it like that.” Your first service should not be the time you deal with the dispensations of the Bible, or what you believe about the gap theory. It should be a simple Gospel message.
4. Organize Your Children’s Ministry
Except for the preaching, the children’s ministry will be the most important ministry. Make sure the lesson is fun and informative. My wife had a reward system in place from day one. She rewarded the children for faithfulness, memorizing Bible verses, and answering questions about the lesson. This helped motivate the children to keep coming back. I am sure that many adults came back, not to hear me preach, but because their children wanted to come back to hear the next Bible lesson and get a treat.
You should have the following things in place for your children’s ministry:
- A welcoming room
Visitors won’t leave their children in a place that looks dark and gloomy. Make sure it is bright, and it looks like it is meant to be for children.
- Sign-in sheets
This helps you keep record as to who comes and also gives assures the parents that there is an order to things.
We started with Betty Lukens flannelgraph curriculum. You will need an easel and flannelgraph to be able to use this material.
- A reward system
We understand the reason to come to church is to be faithful to God, but first time visitors do not understand that. As they hear the lessons, God will do a work in their hearts.
My wife gives rewards for faithful attendance, learning the memory verses, demonstrating good behavior, and participating in the class.
5. Have a Hospitality Table
You will be surprised how people like to fellowship around food. We put iced tea and several finger foods on our hospitality table. When people walked in, they knew we wanted to get to know them.
This is part two of this article. Please click here to read part three.