There is no lack of resources on church planting these days. In fact, as a church planter, I think we live in the most resource-rich environment for planting churches that the world has ever known. We have memoirs of church planters who have had great success, who write from a position of legacy and legend. We also have brave church planters who have failed, whose failure has been made into a dense compost of learning for church planters. What we lack, however, is the nitty-gritty advice of people still dirty with the elbow grease of the launch, sharing their stories in the immediate aftermath, before memories grow hazy and mistakes are glossed over with the shine of eventual success.
After years on staff at the trendsetting, multisite Seacoast Church, I felt God calling me to plant a church in my hometown of Moncks Corner, South Carolina. Freedom Church was launched in August 2011, after only a 90-day planning process. Ninety days might be a little quick for you, but even with six months between your initial interest meeting and launch (about the maximum length I’d recommend) there is a lot of work to be done and many challenges to be overcome.
Planting a church, much like planting a garden, is hard work even if the soil is tilled well. However, planting in untilled, unprepared soil is even harder. Over the next couple of weeks I want to share some practical how-tos, handy checklists, and sound advice on essential elements of your planting process. Consider this your mini field guide to the visioning, planning, and preparation it takes to take a barren field and reap a great harvest for God.