How to Start a Church Plant: A Step-by-Step Guide to Planting a Church From Scratch
Are you feeling the call to start a church from scratch? You’re not alone—hundreds of new churches are planted annually across the United States.
Establishing your church can feel daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With careful planning and execution, you can plant a healthy and thriving church.
This guide will walk you through the critical steps to start a healthy church plant. We’ll cover everything from finding your target community to raising funds for your new church.
By the end of this guide, you’ll have a solid plan for starting a church plant that will reach your community for Christ.
What is Church Planting?
Church planting is the process of establishing a new church to spread the Gospel and make a positive impact on one’s community.
Church planting involves sowing seeds, spreading the Gospel, and sharing God’s word with others. It also requires reaping what has been sown or taking time to nurture relationships and help those who have accepted Christ grow in their faith.
Additionally, successful church planters should reflect on their progress, learn from mistakes made along the way, and adjust their strategy to reach more people with God’s love. Finally, church planters should be prepared for challenges that may come up along the way and have backup plans in place if necessary.
Why Start a New Church Plant?
1. Build a stronger, more intimate community
Starting a new church plant can help build a stronger, more intimate community by taking the proper steps. It is essential to hone your message and ensure it is clear and relevant to your community. Connect with new members within the community and find out how your new church can help the community best.
2. Experience God’s power firsthand
By experiencing God’s power firsthand, church planters can build their ministries on solid ground and have the courage needed to face any obstacles that arise along the way. They also gain valuable insights into what works best for their particular situation, which helps them make better decisions regarding strategy, staffing, and other aspects of running a successful church plant.
3. Serve others
As the senior pastor of your new church, one of the primary goals should be serving others. By collaborating with other local churches and helping in their community service projects, you can network your church into the culture of your town and build relationships with like-minded individuals. Additionally, by focusing on helping others rather than competing with them, you will gain a positive reputation that will encourage more people to join your new congregation.
4. Grow in the Christian community
Starting a new church plant can help grow the Christian community by providing a place for people to come together and worship. It can provide opportunities for fellowship and outreach, as well as opportunities for personal growth through Bible study and prayer time.
5. Reach people who are not yet followers of Christ
Starting a new church plant can help reach people who are not yet followers of Christ by following a strategic plan that includes developing relationships with the unchurched community, organizing large gatherings where individuals can remain anonymous, setting up small groups, discovering gifts, and putting them to use.
As this is a new church, it will be easy for new church members to help get the word out about your church and for new church leaders to step up within the religious organization. Older and more established traditional churches can be more comfortable simply showing up to church versus desiring to recruit new members.
6. Follow God’s call to plant a church
God calls people to start new churches for many reasons. One reason is to spread the Gospel message and share the love of Christ with those who have yet to hear it. Another reason is that Christians can unite in fellowship and worship, strengthening their relationship with God through prayer and fellowship.
Planting churches also allows Christians to serve others by sharing their spiritual gifts, talents, and resources with those in need. Furthermore, part of church planting allows people to exercise faith in God by trusting He will provide what they need as they work towards fulfilling His purpose.
Your church planting team will need to trust in Jesus as they seek to raise money to build church finances. Leaders planting a church must rely on prayer to guide them through the most challenging moments when planting a church.
7. Serve in the community
If you have a vision for your new church, it must include serving in the local community to help build relationships. By getting involved in local projects and connecting with other pastors and churches, a pastor can establish trust within their community.
Setting up a church requires the time and energy needed to grow your church. By serving within the local community, you may form new partnerships to help raise money to strengthen your ability to spread the Word of God.
8. Develop leadership skills
Planting a church is truly a blessing and very stressful. It will push you to develop new leadership skills further. Starting a new church plant can help build leadership skills by allowing one to lead, manage and collaborate with others.
Through these experiences, leaders can gain insights into motivating people, delegating tasks efficiently, and managing their time and resources effectively. We recommend Joining a church planting network that can guide you through the toughest tasks and help you further develop the process of planting your church.
9. Provide needed resources and services
When starting a new church plant, it is essential to provide resources and services that meet the needs of your community. These could include:
- Food and clothing donations
- Kids ministry program, young adults, seniors, and families
- Mental health resources and counseling services or recommendations
- Community outreach programs
- Educational courses on topics such as financial literacy or parenting skills
- Spiritual guidance through prayer sessions, Bible studies, or other religious rituals
Steps on How to Start a Church Plant
Step 1: Form Your Churches Mission Statement
Establishing a church’s mission statement is essential for any religious organization. As part of a church planting team, they should meet with their peers and discuss the church’s unique purpose and objectives. This meeting should answer some of the following fundamental questions
- What do you do as a church body?
- Who do you serve as a church?
- How do you serve your intended audience?
- What is the vision for the new church?
Step 2: Make a fundraising plan
Establishing a fundraising goal will help keep your church-building team focused on the task. Plans for the church can change over time and may require more funds; however, identifying your initial financial needs will benefit everyone involved.
- Establish an initial 6-month operating budget.
- Clarify the giving expectations for your launch team.
- Create an operating budget, including expenses and total monthly contributions needed to cover them all.
- Set up a system to track income and expenses (financial software can be helpful). If possible, hire an accountant or ask someone with bookkeeping experience to help with this task.
Step 3: Form a church-building launch team
As a church plant from an established church, you may want to build a new church building, or you may only have the finances to rent a commercial space. Your launch team needs a list of all the essential roles in the ministry. These could include:
- Music and worship teams
- Children’s ministry directors and teachers
- Youth pastors and support staff
- Technology Director
- Outreach team leads
- Community coordinators
- Financial operations managers
- Events coordinators
- Bible study group leaders
- Prayer ministry coordinators
Step 4: Choose Your Legal Name for the Church Organization
The name of a church may seem simple; however, it can create division within your church. When possible, the name you’ve picked should help communicate your church’s goals and purpose.
Check if the name (or an acceptable alternative) already exists on the various social media accounts you want to use, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Research whether your particular state has any name-specific rules regarding nonprofit entities before starting the process, so you don’t have to come up with another name on the fly.
Step 5: Find a worship space
When fully committed to starting a new church plant, you will need to locate a commercial space to get your church up and running. The following are a few things to consider:
- Consider the type of church you want to build, buy, or rent: A traditional or contemporary church.
- Decide what attributes you want for each type of church and how they will set the mood for worship.
- Consider how many people will attend your church, and make sure the space is designed with them in mind so they can focus on worshipping God during services.
- Set up a capital campaign to fund major projects like building a worship space or renovating an existing building since these can be expensive endeavors that take time and energy to complete successfully.
- Acquire church insurance to protect your members, leadership, and property.
Step 6: Create your articles of incorporation
Nonprofit organizations must establish articles of incorporation, including churches and religious institutions. Having church planting experience can help in establishing your organization correctly. It is also advisable to hire an attorney who specializes in nonprofit organizations.
Step 7: Your EIN Number, First Meeting, and Record Book
Apply for an EIN number online: Go to the IRS website and fill out an Employer Identification Number (EIN) application. In most instances, you should receive it almost instantly.
Hold your first meeting: At this first meeting, designate the location of your principal office, formally appoint officers such as president, secretary, and treasurer, adopt bylaws, and set in motion authorization to file for 501(c)(3) status and open a bank account the name of the church.
Create minutes from the meeting and distribute them to each board member so they have a record of what was discussed or decided upon during that meeting session.
If required by state law, file a report of the first meeting: Check with your state laws to see if filing a report after this first meeting is required by them; if it is, then make sure you fill it out afterwords once all details are recorded in it correctly.
Step 8: Establish church bylaws
Church bylaws can help establish a church by providing it with a legal foundation and guiding its leaders in making decisions that will protect it from changing laws. Bylaws should be tailored to each church, as they vary depending on state laws and other requirements, such as having a board of directors or requiring specific numbers of members for votes on some issues.
Having well-crafted bylaws in place will ensure that your church runs smoothly and efficiently while also protecting its interests in case laws change in the future.
Step 9: Apply for 501(c)(3) status
Now is the time to file for your church’s nonprofit status as recognized by the IRS. Following are the steps to apply:
- Fill out the 501(c)(3) application form and submit it to the IRS.
- Once approved, fill out IRS Form 1023 to request confirmation of your tax-exempt status.
- Keep all records of your church plant organized and readily accessible for auditing purposes (e.g., financial statements and charitable donations).
Step 10: Contact a Church Insurance Agent to request a church insurance quote
The last step in the process is to obtain liability insurance for churches. Integrity Now Insurance Brokers is a nationwide Church Insurance Agency for churches and religious organizations. Our dedicated agents work directly with our clients to provide the best coverage and church-building insurance quotes.
With over 20 years of experience, we understand the unique needs of churches and their members and are committed to providing reliable service and competitive church insurance rates. We offer a wide range of church insurance services, from property to liability protection, and can customize a plan to fit your specific needs.
Contact us today for more information or to request a church insurance quote.
What Types of Church Insurance Coverage are Required?
Churches should also obtain various types of church property insurance, including church building insurance and business personal property coverage.
2. Liability Insurance for Churches
Liability insurance for churches helps protect against lawsuits if something goes wrong during an event or activity they are hosting.
3. Medical Insurance for Churches
Health insurance is required for churches to cover their employees’ medical expenses. A group health insurance policy for religious organizations helps to keep your pastor and employees healthy.
4. Directors and Officers Insurance
Directors and Officers Insurance (D&O) protects directors, officers, and other key personnel of a corporation or non-profit organization against legal claims related to their duties. It provides coverage for legal costs associated with defending against lawsuits filed by shareholders or other parties whose actions of the covered individuals may harm.
5. Abuse and Molestation Insurance
Churches are required to obtain abuse and molestation insurance, which covers instances where an individual is abused or molested by an employee or volunteer. This type of insurance typically includes coverage for legal defense costs, settlement payments, and court costs. It can also cover mental health counseling for victims of abuse or molestation. Churches should also consider obtaining liability insurance (e.g., corporate, event and property) to protect themselves from potential legal issues resulting from hosting events in their facilities.
Pastoral counseling insurance is a type of insurance that provides coverage for pastors and other church staff members who provide spiritual counseling services.
This type of insurance is typically required for churches because it helps protect the church and its leaders from potential legal issues related to providing pastoral counseling services. It can also help cover any costs associated with defending against lawsuits or other legal proceedings that may arise from providing these services.
7. Theft and Vandalism Insurance
The type of theft and vandalism insurance covers losses due to theft or vandalism that may occur at the church. This can include religious items, computers, broken stained glass windows, and other personal business property.
How do I start a church plant?
Starting a church plant can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. The first step is prayerful preparation. Answering the why, what, and how questions would be best. The “why” should encompass your mission and vision for the church, while the “what” should include determining your target audience and where your church will be located. The “how” needs to focus on what is required to help establish your church within a local community.
What is the church planting process?
The church planting process includes four key elements which include following:
- Identify the need for a church plant: Before starting a church plant, it is essential first to identify the need for one in your community. Look for areas where people may be seeking spiritual guidance or fellowship and where there is an opportunity to share the Gospel.
- Engage in research: Once you have identified a potential area for planting, begin researching more about the community’s needs and how they could benefit from having a new church.
- Develop a vision & mission statement: Once you have researched potential communities to plant a church in, it is time to develop clear vision statements regarding what you want this new church to look like once it has been established. This includes developing statements around purpose, values, mission statement, etc. Make sure these statements are well defined so everyone involved knows precisely what they are working towards during this process.
- Create a fundraising plan & budget: It’s vital that before starting any project like this one, you first create an effective fundraising plan. Building your church to grow the Kingdom of God without the needed financial support may be a tall order.
What are the steps to establishing a church plant?
- Determine if God has called you to plant a church. Gather input from mature Christian leaders and listen for confirmation in prayer.
- Research church planting resources to learn about the process and what it takes to plant a new church successfully.
- Connect with other planters and talk with successful planters who have been through the process successfully and those who have not succeeded to build wisdom and understanding of what it takes to succeed in this endeavor.
- Complete an online pre-assessment tool such as the Church Planter Candidate Assessment (CPCA) produced by LifeWay Research with 11 evangelical denominations or another online tool such as Church Planter Profiles.
- Make sure you have support from your spouse before moving forward with your plans for planting a new church.
How do I create a ministry plan for my church plant?
- Identify your target audience: Who are you trying to reach with your church plant? What are their needs and interests?
- Create a vision statement: Write down the purpose of your ministry, what you want it to achieve, and how it will impact those around you.
- Create goals: List specific goals that will help you reach your vision, such as increasing attendance or raising funds for mission trips.
- Create strategies for each goal: Outline the steps needed to achieve each goal, such as hosting special events or offering Bible study classes for adults on Sunday mornings.
- Monitor progress regularly: Make sure to check in regularly so adjustments can be made if necessary; this also helps keep everyone on board and motivates them towards reaching their goals!
How do I go about fundraising for my church plant?
Start by building relationships with the members of your congregation and the local community. Identify potential donors who may have an interest in contributing to your cause. Create a comprehensive fundraising plan that outlines specific goals, target audiences, and donation methods.
Reach out to local businesses and corporations for support. Utilize social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, as well as online crowdfunding campaigns, to gain visibility and spread awareness about your church plant.
Finally, host fundraising events such as dinners or raffles to bring in more money. You can successfully fund your church plant with careful planning and effort!
What are the steps to incorporating my church plant?
Here are six steps to take to incorporate a become a church:
- Step 1. Form Your Mission Statement: Gather your core group, internal team, and church leaders and formulate a formal statement of your beliefs and goals.
- Step 2. Create Your Leadership Team: Define your initial board of directors and recruit individuals committed to the church’s success and willing to put in the legwork needed to help oversee it.
- Step 3. Prepare Your Finances: Gather financial information, such as budgeting for incorporation and lawyer fees, before forming a nonprofit organization (NPO).
- Step 4. Choose Your New Churches Name: Make sure you have an official name for your church that is not already taken by state laws regarding naming nonprofits before beginning the incorporation process.
- Step 5. Write Bylaws: Create rules & regulations that will govern how your church operates as an NPO by writing down basic rules & regulations for governance purposes..
- Step 6. Create Articles Of Incorporation: This step requires filling out forms that will officially create an NPO with legal rights & privileges granted by state law.
What are the benefits of church planting?
The benefits of church planting include:
- It is a visible sign of maturity, as the church can now govern, support, and multiply/reproduce itself.
- It protects the church from becoming isolated from the more significant body.
- It moves the church from recipient to contributor and stakeholder in its denomination or community of faith.
- It empowers ordained and installed leaders by providing them with spiritual experiences such as ordination or installation ceremonies which celebrate the Holy Spirit’s gifts in their lives.
- It provides stability and order for the church through internal leadership succession plans, clear rules of charge, and bylaws.
- It ensures multi-level representation through local elders who can offer discerning voices on decisions at all levels.
- It lets the church fully participate in the mission by strengthening relationships with other churches and denominations to increase kingdom impact globally.
Why do church plantings fail?
Church plantings can fail for various reasons, ranging from lack of resources to lack of leadership. Following are some of the most common reasons for new church plants failing:
- Poor planning and inadequate funding
- Insufficient training and preparation of church members
- Insufficient research into the local community and its needs
- Failing to develop relationships with other churches or with the local community.
- Church planters who fail to create an atmosphere of openness and hospitality for visitors can result in a lack of interest or participation in the new church.
How much does a church planter make?
A church planter’s salary varies depending on the size and type of church they are working in. Generally, the larger and more established the church, the higher the salary.
Most churches provide their planters with a basic salary plus additional financial support for housing, transportation, and other necessities. In some cases, church planters can receive extra income from donations or grants.
On average, church planters make an annual salary of around $50,000 to $60,000 per year.
What makes a successful church plant?
A successful church plant requires a strong vision and a well-defined purpose. It should have an intentional focus on reaching out to the community, and it should be committed to making a lasting impact.
A successful church plant will also have a clear plan for growth and development, with both short-term and long-term objectives. It must have effective leadership that can bring together individuals from different backgrounds and experiences who all share the same faith.
Finally, a thriving church plant needs financial resources to sustain its operations over time. This includes budgeting for staff salaries, facility costs, outreach initiatives, programs, events, and more. By having these components in place, churches can ensure their success as they continue to grow and expand their reach.
How do you build a church planting team?
Building a church planting team requires assembling the right combination of people.
First, identify those who have a passion and vision for church planting and are willing to commit to the vision.
Secondly, it is essential to recruit members with different gifts and talents that can contribute to the team’s success. Look for individuals who understand the mission, can work together as a team, and can be trusted with confidential information.
Finally, establish clear roles for each team member so everyone knows their responsibilities and can work together in harmony. A solid and successful church planting team will be created by carefully selecting members who possess complementary skills and are committed to working together toward the same goal.
Church Insurance Expert
Whether you are a new church or an established religious organization, Integrity Now Insurance Brokers is here to help protect your church as it grows. When things don’t go exactly how you expected, that is when church insurance steps in to provide the financial support needed.
We are here to help your church plant team protect your property, church leaders, and congregation from liability and workers’ compensation incidents. If your church plans to start churches in new locations, our church insurance agents are here to help provide the needed expertise.
One critical step in church multiplication is obtaining the needed churches insurance. It is not until you sign the rental agreement or are about to sign your loan documents that you are reminded about needing church property insurance coverage or a church renters insurance policy.
Contact one of our licensed independent church insurance agents today.