- Jim Townsley
- May 3, 2013
You are probably familiar with the famous saying, "Nothing ventured nothing gained." In other words, it is better to try something that fails than to do nothing when failure is guaranteed. In church planting this is especially true. Timidly sitting back waiting on people to come is not a good plan for success. Sometimes the best ideas do not work and sometimes that which seems impossible is a success. Holding the first service on Easter Sunday in New England would be a huge failure, yet in Kansas a church planter enjoyed great success by starting on Easter Sunday.
Every young preacher has made mistakes and tried things that failed. But being flexible and learning from failure will result in beneficial experience. Personally, I have made decisions I would never encourage anyone to repeat. My wife and I left to start a church without any support. Normally, I would say that is a bad idea. We also bought our first property using a first mortgage, a second mortgage, and balloon payments. Almost never would I approve of such actions. But, considering our situation we prayed about God's will and took the risk and we accomplished a successful church plant by the grace of God. Sometimes God calls us to take big steps of faith and we must recognize that fear can keep us from following the Lord. We must be willing to give of ourselves in order that God can provide and show Himself strong. That is what faith is all about. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)
Some churches never walk by faith. If a church waited until all of the money was plentiful before they bought property, built a building, or started a ministry they may never go forward. There is a thin line between faith and foolishness. But faith puts a decision at risk with God. Recognizing the importance of living by faith there are certain things that a church planter must do to step forward:
1. If God calls you to start a church then do it. Raising support is a very important aspect of church planting, but starting without support is better than not starting at all.
2. Renting the right place. Finding a meeting place is one of the most difficult aspects of starting a church. It is important to find the best possible place to meet. The best place may cost more money than an inferior location, but remember it is costly to lose potential members because they will not attend in a bad location or an inferior meeting place. There is a limit to how much the church can afford, but the church certainly can't afford to lose members by trying to save a few dollars. Paying more in rent may help you to get more people saved and reach more people.
3. Encourage members to attend camps and retreats. People will find money to do what they want to do. Even when you think they can't afford to go, you will be surprised if you promote it and they get excited about it they will find the money. Your people must learn to give to grow and get stronger.
4. Encourage young people to go to Bible college. Every young person will not and should not go to a Bible college, but many could and should. It is difficult to lose your youth for a period of time, but it is a blessing when they receive training and come back to help you. Giving our best is always pleasing to God. Older believers can be trained in a Bible institute at your church or nearby. If we are to fulfill the great commission we must recognize the importance of sending forth laborers into the world.
Never fear sending out your best servants to start churches at home and abroad. It is short-sighted to keep your workers, your money, and your ministry entirely for yourself. When you give your people for greater service and send your money to missions all over the world, God is well pleased and will bless you for your generosity. Christians live by a truth the world cannot understand, Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:38)