5 Things Church Planters Should Avoid in Their First Year of PlantingBy Jamie Maxim
June 9, 2022
Life is both exhilarating and discouraging when you plant a church. Exhilarating as you get ready and launch. Discouraging when you look back a year or more after launching and realizing you are not the planter you thought you were. To realize there were things to avoid.
I recently was with fellow pastors from the Great Commission Collective (our church planting network) for a sermon planning retreat. I asked what they would have avoided in their first year. The below list isn’t the top five or the best five ,but they are five things we would do differently if we could do our first year over again. Hopefully our pain will be your gain.
1) Don’t do it.
I am partly serious. If you don’t want to die to yourself, discover all your weaknesses, and be disappointed, don’t do it. Plant marigolds or apple trees but don’t plant a church. (I know there are some of you that think you don’t have weaknesses and that your church will be different, but you have no idea. Trust me, there are days you will think it would be easier to take out your own appendix than plant a church.) That said, there is grace to be Christ’s bondservant if you are willing to walk the road of suffering he walked. Look to Jesus, my friend.
2) Don’t expect you know anything.
Ask lots of questions. Then ask more questions. After that ask more questions. There is so much you don’t know after reading all the books and going through all the training. Trusted counselors that have gone before you will be invaluable. Pastors who have planted. Pastors who have run the race for 30, 40, 50 years of ministry. There aren’t many, but find them. Ask them questions until they tell you to go home.
3) Don’t do secondary programs
Less is more really is true. You don’t have the bandwidth to be a 10-year-old church or even a two-year-old church. You are a baby church. To use a food analogy, stop trying to grill steak. Pureed carrots and pureed prunes don’t taste awesome but they will keep you regular when you are just cutting your teeth. Do the basics: preach the word, welcome people well, disciple your future elders, get small groups off the ground (don’t get discouraged if they don’t get off the ground ’til year two), etc.