There is a simple key to starting something brand new. Just ask an entrepreneur. Better yet, ask someone who’s in the business of planting a church. I learned just that as I had the opportunity to interview four pastors who are in various stages of planting brand new churches. You won’t find more dedicated, hard working individuals than pastors who give their heart and soul to making something that had never existed before. They have a love for God and a heart for people.
I’m working on a project with a fellow pastor who wanted to put together some case studies of local church plants. One by one I interviewed these pastors and learned that they all held in their hand the key to starting something new. It was an eye-opening experience to see the seedlings of young churches that meet together in old warehouses, storefronts, and remodeled rooms. But each of them knew for certain the way to starting something new…in their case, a new church.
I asked each of the pastors, “What was the one key to planting this church that was unique to this community?” Here are their responses:
- “Intentionally reaching the young family, because there was a hole in the ministry demographic here in our town.”
- “Our mission statement is: ‘giving people a place to belong.’ We are a bedroom community, so we really wanted to make our worship space feel like home. We spent time intentionally choosing the decor so it has the feel of a home.”
- “There is an opportunity here in this part of town because the people here are more available. The chief value here in our church is ‘authenticity.’ Everything else needs to move out of the way. You won’t impress these people with show or production. They make movies for Disney. They’ve worked at all the churches. They’ve seen behind the curtain. We created something for them that felt honest and intimate.”
- “Our demographic is all about relationships. We don’t even put a sign up because people find us through other people. We’ve given up the pressure to grow big and want our church to be a place of refuge and healing. We’re always reminded of Andrew bringing Peter to Jesus. This is a place where people bring folks to a place where they get to meet Jesus.”
So, what’s the key? The key is to find a hole, an opening, a need, or a niche, and fill that hole, opening, need, or niche by delivering the universal message of the Gospel of Jesus’ love and forgiveness in the way that speaks to the particular people you are attempting to reach. In every case, these pastors have started something new by using this simple key.
In every case, these pastors have brought about something viable (with the help of the Holy Spirit) by reaching people who had previously been unreached. For one it was young families. For another it was those seeking a sense of home. For yet another it was people who needed authenticity in their lives outside of work. For the final pastor it was people who desperately needed genuine relationship in their lives.
There is most certainly a strong theology behind what each of these pastors are doing. They are preaching and teaching. But to do that effectively, they had to determine who it was to whom they would preach and teach.
Want to start something new? Determine a hole, an opening, a need, or a niche and fill it with something you know, with your passion, with your particular skill or talent. That’s the key.
What have you learned by starting something new?