Every great leader has a vision for God’s work. Noah had a vision of how to escape impending judgment by building an ark. Abraham had a vision of a land and a people that would please God. Moses had a vision for the people of God to escape from the slavery of Egypt. David had a vision to prepare a temple as the dwelling place of God. Paul had a vision to carry the gospel to the regions beyond Jerusalem. Great leaders have a vision for doing God’s work.
Starting a church requires a man with a vision. That vision must be personal, and it begins with a call to an area. No two places are the same. One man may have a vision to start a church where the population is high and the number of churches is low. Another man may have a vision to start a church in a remote region. Yet, another man may have a vision to reach a rural community. God calls men to different places according to His own will and purpose.
Subsequent to a call to a specific area is the need to develop a vision to reach the community. The ministry is more than attending a conference and learning some methods. Church planting is a special calling from God to reach a city with the gospel. God must be at the center of the entire process. Viewing your city from a nearby mountain or walking the streets of your city while praying over it can help to develop a burden for the people of this community. God must guide the preacher in how to reach this community.
Evangelism is the first goal of a church planter. Various communities have different laws and customs that require a specific plan to evangelize. Some of these laws present special challenges. There are gated communities where no solicitation is allowed. These people still need to be reached, but it may not be possible to go from door to door. It will require creativity to reach people in these neighborhoods.
In some regions of the country people love to talk to anyone they meet including total strangers. While, in other areas they are very stand offish to strangers. The preacher must learn the special traits of the local culture.
Building leaders is a subsequent goal of the church planter. Identifying and training leaders is an ongoing process of every church. Without godly leaders any church will be limited in its effectiveness. There must be trained ushers, nursery workers, bus captains, leaders in the music ministry, a treasurer, Sunday school teachers, and several others. Finding and training these members is a top priority.
Your vision should translate into practical goals. Setting goals for the number of tracts distributed or doors knocked on is measurable and helpful. Designating a special day as friend day, an anniversary day, or a homecoming gives members an opportunity to invite friends and family to attend church. These special days will provide new contacts that offer more follow-up and soulwinning opportunities. Periodic special days provide people with a spirit of anticipation and excitement. During the early stages of a new church, new converts will become excited about breaking attendance records. It is vital that a new church contain a mind-set of growth.
Every church’s vision should be a worldwide vision. Church planting and worldwide missions are at the heart of God and they should be in the heart of every church planter. New churches should incorporate into their vision the goal of starting another independent fundamental Baptist church. It is the responsibility of churches to plant churches and if we as leaders do not give members this vision, from where then will it come?
A simple description of God’s plan for church planting would be: a man of God discovering when, where, and how to fulfill the will of God, and then setting out to do it. Church planters must have a vision!