I’m an ENTP.
That’s not an abbreviation for entrepreneur, but it could be. It’s my Myers-Briggs personality profile. Statistically speaking, most church planters tend to be ENTP or a similar profile, with a knack for starting new things and the gumption to dream big. But often what accompanies the “typical” (if there is such a thing) church planter personality type is a lack of patience.
We want to jump in right now, and launch next month. But that’s a recipe for disaster—regardless of how much talent and passion you may have. There’s no cookie-cutter approach to church planting. But just like every unique baby requires nine months to gestate in the womb, your unique church plant needs a well-timed, healthy pre-launch phase.
Here are the top seven reasons why timing matters:
1. The number of administrative tasks.
If you’re thinking that launching a church will be simple, you’re kidding yourself. There are literally hundreds of pre-launch tasks you must do, even if you have a “simple church” model. Accomplishing those tasks takes time. If you’re wondering what those tasks might be, it’s time to sign-up for PlanterPlan.
2. The coordination of details.
Remember those hundreds of administrative tasks? Doing them is one thing. Lining up all of those details so everything runs (relatively) smoothly is another. Ordering equipment, business cards, and chairs takes time. Having a project manager makes a huge difference. Even then, it takes time.
3. The size of your launch team.
Launch teams smaller than sixty people will struggle for volunteers, funding, and getting past growth barriers. Growing a launch team takes time. If you’re aiming for being a church of under 100 long-term, ignore this. But my guess is you hope to grow and be able to plant more churches or campuses.
4. The reach of grassroots marketing.
Billboards and mass mailers have their place, but they’re nowhere as effective as word-of-mouth. It takes time for word to spread about your new church, and you’ll want to give that grassroots effort a healthy head start before your launch.
5. The establishment of culture.
You aren’t just planting a church, you’re planting a culture. Organizational culture is built up of what you believe about yourself, your actions, and the symbols that are identified with your church. Culture develops quickly, but is hard to change. If you want an intentional, healthy culture—plant slowly.
6. The training of teams.
Every launch team member ought to be assigned a place within a particular ministry team. Each ministry team will need to be trained in order to be effective. Good training takes time.
7. The funding for sustainability.
If you’re well-funded up-front, it’s easy to think that money will “always” be there. It won’t. Initial funding usually dries up within three years. Churches that launch too fast struggle to reach a critical mass within three years that can sustain itself through its own tithes and offerings.
Want to do it right? Take nine months to launch your church. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Thanks to Scott Ball, Church Strategy & Leadership Consultant, The Malphurs Group, for providing this insightful post.