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From Multi-site to Church Launch Site

It all started with a vision to reach our community for God’s Glory. It was during the first CCPN Church Planting Conference at Twin Peaks when we knew God wanted us to start a work in Santa Paula, CA with the solid Bible-teaching Calvary Chapels are known for.

Two moments figure as central in establishing the work:

The first was birthed in prayer. The elders of CC Oxnard gathered at a home in Santa Paula for a time of counsel and prayer. The home has a beautiful view of a good part of the city. I was moved to invite the elders to step outside, look over and pray God’s blessing down onto the people. At that moment the seed of a vision was dropped into my heart.

The second moment critical in launching the work was at a men’s fellowship at CC Oxnard. A man recently relocated from Oregon offered his home in Santa Paula as a place for a home Bible study. We’d recently attended the Church-Planting conference at Twin Peaks and were praying for a door to open in the city where we could begin meeting. It was clear God was cultivating the little seed He’d planted in our hearts. The vision began to grow and more people came alongside to assist in the work.

Like many new churches, we’ve faced the challenge of facilities but God has now settled us in the heart of Santa Paula in a permanent home. We are currently a video campus for CC Oxnard with a dedicated ministry team. I teach once a month but as the fellowship here has taken root, we will be phasing the video out and becoming a church plant.

Pastor Fabian Moreno is the campus pastor at Calvary Chapel Santa Paula in California, a satellite site of Calvary Chapel Oxnard. The campus will launch into a church plant in the near future.

God Is Not Done in Europe!

Perhaps you’ve been told, as I have, that Europe is “Post-Christian.” Nearly every time I’ve been informed of this tidbit it has been from someone that has (1) not been to Europe in a very long time or (2) never ventured outside of their North American bubble. Often in the same breath I’m informed of “scores of churches being turned into Mosques” in the UK and that the same is just about to happen in the US. Don’t misunderstand, I’m sure that stats would prove that Europe is less “Christian” than it was at the height of the Reformation. Probably even less Christian than it was 100 years ago. But as one who lived in London for a time as a child and then in Germany for a year as an adult, I have a slightly different, and more optimistic outlook.

God is not done in Europe! As the face of Christianity continues to sweep south and east, I am encouraged that the land of the Protestant Reformation is still in need of and ripe for the Gospel and Gospel passionate churches.

At the beginning of May I was privileged to return to Northwest Germany, with a group of Calvary Chapel pastors, to share at a Christian Leadership conference in Siegen, Germany. Once again my heart was full of joy as I worshiped alongside of nearly 500 leaders from churches in Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Sweden and several other Western European nations. God is at work! He has not “left the building.” And one of the most significant proofs that the work continues is a team of Calvary Chapel Pastors in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany that are actively gathering to pray for the 26 largest cities of their region, with the goal of seeing churches planted in each of them by 2040.

Großstadtliebhaber is an initiative, in partnership with CCPN to strategically visit and pray for each of the 26 cities over the next 52 weeks. I know that the team in Germany would be blessed if you would remember these cities in your prayers as well. May the Lord do exceedingly abundantly above all that we are asking and imagining!

Weeks | City
1 / 27 | Aachen
2 / 28 | Bergisch Gladbach
3 / 29 | Bielefeld
4 / 30 | Bochum
5 / 31 | Bonn
6 / 32 | Bottrop
7 / 33 | Dortmund
8 / 34 | Duisburg
9 / 35 | Gelsenkirchen
10 / 36 | Hagen
11 / 37 | Hamm
12 / 38 | Herne
13 / 39 | Stadt nach Wahl
14 / 40 | Krefeld
15 / 41 | Leverkusen
16 / 42 | Moers
17 / 43 | Mönchengladbach
18 / 44 | Mülheim
19 / 45 | Neuss
20 / 46 | Oberhausen
21 / 47 | Paderborn
22 / 48 | Recklinghausen
23 / 49 | Remscheid
24 / 50 | Solingen
25 / 51 | Witten
26 / 52 | Wuppertal

Pastor Miles DeBenedictis is the Senior Pastor of Cross Connection Church in North San Diego, CA. Besides having a passion to equip and train leaders in the local church, Pastor Miles is one of the founders of the Calvary Church Planting Network. He also teaches church planting at Calvary Chapel Bible College in Murrieta, CA. You can follow Pastor Miles on Twitter.

Give Your People Away

The best thing a sending church can give a church plant is people. Money is good, counsel is helpful, but feet on the ground have a greater impact than anything else. Unfortunately this is often the last thing that sending churches want to give away. You can name a lot of reason like the hassle of having to replace them and the loss of tithing income but what it boils down to is fear.

I was talking with a church planter recently whose church is going great in the very early stages. The only struggle they are having is they don’t have a worship leader. So this planter is setting up and tearing down, leading worship, and then teaching. Way too heavy of a load for one man. As we texted back and forth I asked if there was anyone from his sending church who come along side him and lead worship. He did say there was a guy who was going to come with him but the sending church talked him out of going.

Unfortunately that is more the norm than not. Church planting is the “it” thing to do with churches today and you can be construed as a hip pastor if you are sending out church planters from your church, but to do it correctly takes commitment and sacrifice. One of the biggest sacrifices a sending church and pastor can do is to commit their people to making the church plant successful. Hoarding talent for your own purposes can have damaging effects down the line. We need to create a pipeline of sending people out. If we don’t the church will get clogged with people who are under utilizing their talents and ultimately the kingdom of God isn’t fully being reached.

One of the biggest sacrifices a sending church and pastor can do is to commit their people to making the church plant successful. Hoarding talent for your own purposes can have damaging effects down the line.

When we went out to plant The Village Chapel eight years ago, my pastor Paul Berry, from Calvary Chapel Santa Maria stood in front of the church and challenged people to go and serve for one year. Sixty-Five people took the challenge and went with us! Did it cause a little panic at the mother church? Heck yeah. Did it cause some discomfort in the ministries and in the giving? You better believe it, but it set our church on the path to success and stability because he did that.

As sending churches we need to give our people away. It will grow our faith as leaders, stretch the people who stay back, and create space for people to step up and serve where they weren’t before. Holding on to our people will cause stagnation and eliminate opportunities for them to step up into leadership. When we send out planters don’t send them out empty handed, send a team of people who will labor next to them. It will lay the foundation for a successful plant and will encourage the planter who is faithfully serving.

Chuck Musselwhite was used of God to plant Village Chapel in Lompoc on the central California coast in 2006. He has been instrumental in establishing Calvary Church Planting Network and has a passion for equipping and sending church planters. You can follow Pastor Chuck and Village Chapel on Facebook and Twitter.

The Fruit of Creating a Church Planting Culture

In February Calvary Chapel Rosarito began studying verse by verse through the book of Acts during our weekend services! As the book of Acts opens in Acts 1:8, Jesus’ final words to the church (before His ascension) were… “And you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth!”

As we read through the book of Acts, the primary way that we see the early church fulfilling the Great commission is through missions and church planting. And as you support our family as your missionaries, you are contributing to the fulfillment of this great commission. On our end, our job on the mission field is to continue to raise up and train up church planters. Now I am well aware that I have been writing a lot of updates about church planting recently, but God has truly been working in amazing ways, and I am excited to continue to update you on our new works.

…the primary way that we see the early church fulfilling the Great commission is through missions and church planting.

In February, we were happy to send out our 10th church planting family in the past 7 years! And in this update, I wanted to tell you a little bit about this family and their new church plant. David and Karen Wilson (and their four children) joined our church staff two years ago after founding two orphanages here in Northern Baja. Throughout that time, David had continuously felt a tug in his heart to plant a church, so their family moved to Rosarito where David enrolled in our church planting program and his family joined our church as missionary staff.

Over the past two years, David has not only completed our church planting program but  he also assisted in teaching the course with me last year! Over that time, I also ordained David and he has served faithfully as one of my Assistant Pastors over the past two years. Even though David was a great assistant, he began to feel God’s call and a burden for the city of Playas de Tijuana (“Tijuana Beach”)  This is a border beach city of 30,000+   located 12 miles to the North of us. As David prayed for this city, he realized it is severely under-churched and in desperate need of a Bible teaching church.

After hearing God’s call,  about a year ago David and Karen began preparations for this church plant and building up a planting team. Over time, God provided the finances along with the perfectly located building.  In January, our church held a “Sending Sunday” and we were happy to send out the Wilsons  along with 20 folks from our church to this new bilingual church plant.

The launch service (Sunday February 1st) was a smashing success with well over 100 people in attendance. Many visited from our church in Rosarito, but there was also a large local contingent from Playas as well. The serviced flowed with anointed worship, passionate prayer, and solid Bible teaching. The highlight of the service was the 6 first time professions of faith after the Gospel was presented. We celebrated God’s faithfulness Mexican style with a free all you can eat Carne Asada BBQ after the service.

As a missionary and Pastor, part of my calling is to build-up and send out church planters to reach the nations and fulfill the Great Commission.  And even though every time we plant a church we have to say goodbye to some of our greatest servants and Assistant Pastors, we are happy to do it because we know that God has great plans for them.

This post is taken from the missionary newsletter from Pastor Mike Vincent, the founding pastor at Calvary Chapel Rosarito

Three Common Misconceptions About Church Planters

It is said that the greatest distance between two people is misunderstanding. And church planters, of all people in ministry, may be the easiest to misunderstand. In listening to many podcasts and conversations on the “church planting discussion,” I have discovered these three common misunderstandings. So here’s an honest attempt to clear things up and shorten the “distance”.

1. All church planters need to be entrepreneurs.

First, let me clarify that church planting is not for the faint of heart. At any given moment, you are pastoring people but also wearing about twenty-five other various hats. Church planting may require you to have a bit of marketing prowess, an understanding of processes/procedures, business savvy, website and graphic design knowledge along with a broader set of social skills, just to name a few. The actual ministry work may be preaching/teaching and prayer, but the organization of the church still needs organizing!

While it’s certainly true that having an “entrepreneurial spirit” is important, God is calling those who are obedient, not just those who are entrepreneurial! It’s more important that you obey Jesus than forsake your calling. Robert Murray M’Cheyne says “It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.” God can grow you in your leadership and abilities, but are you willing to trust Him and take a step of faith?

So if I’m not a gifted entrepreneur, what do I do? The church leaders in Acts 6 solved this quandary by raising up capable people to oversee practical ministry. Rather than bussing tables they focused on what they alone could not delegate. We don’t use titles at Shoreline but I delegate almost every practical task to capable people after I’ve invested the time to communicate our philosophy of ministry to them and outline the purpose for why we do what we do. This allows me to focus on the three “P’s”: prayer, preaching, and people.

2. All church planters start churches because they aren’t willing to submit to their senior pastors.

While some men have impure and selfish motives to plant churches, most church planters are aware of the needs in their city and experience a “holy discontent” before God calls them to plant out from the ministry they are associated with. Church planters understand that we can’t be everyone’s pastor. Some ministries will never reach a particular people group, and this is why we need more churches.

Peter Wagner reminds us that “The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches.” Audrey Malphurs points out that “It is easier to have a baby than to raise the dead.” We must put new wine into new wineskins and sometimes that means stepping out by faith to start a new work.

If more churches would work together, we could fight the war on a united front. Every week at Shoreline we pray in the service for another local church in town and seek to build up the kingdom by working together for the Gospel. It isn’t “my” church, it is Jesus’s! And He promised to build it, to be with us in our scattering abroad to make disciples.

3. All church planters are pastors of the church they plant for life.

When God called us out of Reality Church Tampa, the church we had planted four years prior, I felt incredibly guilty. I knew God had called me to plant, so why was He calling me to leave? If you plant a church, doesn’t that mean you die in the pulpit there? The truth is, not everyone has the same calling!

Speaking of the Apostle Paul, Acts 18:23 says “After he had spent some time there, he departed and went over the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.” Paul didn’t plant a church and remain, but raised up qualified men to continue the work, then moved on to plant more churches. It is important to know our calling and to fulfill it. Some are called to plant, others to water, but it is God who makes the ministry grow. And when God is speaking to us to step out and keep planting, we must be obedient. May we heed Ephesians 4:1,

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called…”

God may have you pastor at your church in a stationary position until you die, like Peter in Jerusalem. Or, like Paul, God may call you to be a serial church planter. So whether stationary or serial, you must fulfill the ministry He’s called you to!

It’s easy to misunderstand church planters. One of my favorite commercials was an Apple commercial called “The Crazy Ones.” It reads this way, and always reminds me of church planters when I hear it:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Pastor Pilgrim Benham is the lead pastor of a brand-new church called Shoreline Calvary Chapel, in southwest Florida. He is currently building a church planter residency/internship for potential Calvary Chapel church planters. For more information, visit thisisshoreline.com.

We’ve Launched Our Second Church Plant!

When my wife and I moved away from our hometown 5 years ago, we planted a new Calvary Chapel in a downtown urban area with about 500,000 people under the age of 40. We knew no one, brought limited resources, and scrambled to find work to supply our needs and people to reach with the Gospel. After much hardship and intense toiling, the church grew and leadership was raised up to continue the work.

Sensing God calling us to step out in faith and plant our second church, we sought the Lord and He opened doors back in our hometown. A Calvary Chapel had dropped their affiliation and the county of 350,000 people now had a tremendous need. The school we wanted our kids to attend since birth offered my wife and I both a job as an administrator and middle school teacher (respectively) at the same pay my job was paying me in our previous city!

When we arrived, we took the summer to get settled and then had an interest meeting at a local artisan coffeehouse. About 20 adults came and asked great questions. The excitement was palpable. A friend offered us a free warehouse space for us to meet in, so we began meeting Sunday nights to prepare for the launch of Shoreline Church. We met from 6-7pm and I taught through Colossians, with a good friend offering to come and lead us in a few worship songs. After the Bible study, I invited anyone to stay for an additional hour to talk about the launch of the church. This group heard what the vision, mission, and core values of Shoreline would be. I asked them to make a one-year commitment to the church and began investing relationally in this “Launch Team”.

In search of a space, we were alerted to a special limitation in our city. It turns out that religious organizations are unable to lease any space in the main part of the city. This led us to begin looking around, and eventually brought us east of the interstate to a very young and growing area that is on the cutting edge of expansion and growth. We drove through this area and found a YMCA that was a perfect meeting place for a church plant. After speaking with the director, they were overjoyed to have a church meeting there and made many accommodations for us to meet weekly, at a very affordable price!

We took the Christmas break to get everything prepared including sound equipment and chairs, kids curriculum, room decor/lighting and signage/invite cards. Many other Calvary Chapels in the state of Florida came alongside us to donate needed equipment or make a financial donation. We initially had a $20,000 budget but found it was met simply with churches donating their used equipment to us!

Last month we had our first Sunday morning service! There were 85 adults and children and a buzz that was contagious. The local papers have been doing stories on the church and most of the people have heard about us through the yard signs we have placed around the community. Every month we will have a “NEXT” class sharing our vision/mission/core values and answering questions people have about the church. We are starting three Community Groups next week around the region and have already started Discipleship Collectives where we are going through the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa new believer’s study.

It is exciting to watch God build His kingdom, and to see such a different and fresh work than He had done in our previous church plant. It is vital to know our calling and to pursue what God has for us. We can’t have someone else’s calling, and we can’t make God fulfill our plans. We have to walk by faith and submit to His will and call, and watch Him do the impossible. I can’t wait for what’s next

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Pastor Pilgrim Benham is a church planter with Calvary Church Planting Network. He is looking for other potential church planters to participate in a Florida church-planting internship. For more details, email us at info@calvaryshoreline.com.

Looking Back

It’s been a little over fifteen years since my wife Marie and our three kids moved from Southern California to Aurora, Colorado eager to ‘see what the Lord might do’.  Well, the Lord has done, and continues to do great things and to think that we almost didn’t see them due to my lack of faith, fear, and all around humanity.  Mistakes surround our ministry here, yet God has used them to disciple, mature, and display His glory to us in wonderful ways. I’m grateful, as I’m sure many of you are, for our God who, even when we are faithless, remains faithful! Reflecting upon His loving care of us, a few things come to mind that will surely help you in your church planting adventure.

God cares about you more than He cares about you planting a church. While it might be the most important thing on your mind right now, it’s not God’s. He loves you. He sent Jesus for you. He desires a deeper more intimate relationship with you. If planting a church is coming before your relationship with Him, you’ve got it backward and unless you change, a painful readjustment is up ahead.

If planting a church is coming before your relationship with Him, you’ve got it backward and unless you change, a painful readjustment is up ahead.

God loves the people in the city you’re praying about. If you don’t share that love for the people and your identity is bound up in being a pastor and planting a church, don’t do it. Wait. Cultivate that love with God first and foremost so you can genuinely love your neighbor as yourself.

God is worthy of your holy life of obedience.  As the vessel God uses, your dedication to holiness in the life of ministry is of utmost importance. We have witnessed in the past great men, friends, pastors and leaders whom God has used greatly not guard their personal holiness.  Through sin, they disqualified themselves from ministry hurting many along the way. Let’s pray for them and for us! God is worthy of a growing life of obedience from us.

God is gracious and compassionate, full of mercy and truth.  Set the foundation of His church plant not upon methods and techniques or ideas and philosophies, but upon the grace of God, teaching people to not rely on the resources of Adam, but rather to live in the power and presence of God’s Holy Spirit. Grace. Grace. Grace.

Set the foundation of His church plant not upon methods and techniques or ideas and philosophies, but upon the grace of God…

I’m a church planter at heart. God has wired me that way. Even with fifteen years of ministry passing so quickly, we still see ourselves cooperating with God in the planting of His fruitful church. I love the thrill, the challenges, and the results of seeing God do great and glorious things through the life of the local church. I especially love encouraging, serving, and equipping church planters of every generation to go forward in their calling, walking by faith. If you need or want help, reach out. We’re here to serve you.

I shared a Bible study here at Calvary Aurora not too long ago entitled, “Biblical Truths That Have Helped Me in Servanthood”. Of course I’m learning all the time, but I believe it will encourage and edify you.  It can be found here.

Ed Taylor is the founding and Senior Pastor at Calvary Chapel Aurora. You can also follow the church’s Pastor Ed’s Twitter feed.

Helpful Launch Questions

One of the biggest decisions for a new church planter is when to start meeting Sunday mornings. Here are five questions I found helpful in determining our church launch date:

1. Do we have the resources we need?

Churches require resources. There is a lot more involved in meeting Sunday morning than for a midweek Bible study or prayer gathering. This is an official church service after all, and you want the people coming to feel like you are serious. Do you have enough money to pay for rent, children’s ministry crafts, and other startup costs? What about sound equipment, cables, and lighting? Have you thoughtfully considered the entire service and concluded that you have what it takes? Jesus Himself said we should count the cost. We don’t want to come up short on something so important.

Jesus Himself said we should count the cost. We don’t want to come up short on something so important.

2. Is it the right time of year?

This question may sound silly, but the reality is that different times of year provide different opportunities and challenges for the church planter. For example, many people are looking for a church around the New Year. They are ready to start afresh in their spiritual lives, so they will often come to a Sunday service. Early fall is another good time to start a church because people are getting back into routines after the summer vacation. Generally, winter and summer are not considered great times of year to start. That being said, however, you should not determine start dates solely on what time of year it is. We started the end of November when it was getting cold and rainy, and God gave success.

3. Are my volunteers and core team members ready?

When we started The Bridge Bellingham we had a consistent group of about twenty adults meeting for prayer and planning. The size of the group is not as important as the readiness of the group. Talk with the team members and get feedback about the Sunday morning service launch. Are they confident? Do they feel like you are able to lead them into this new and intimidating territory? In my experience, it was the team members who encouraged me to start when we did. I wanted to wait until January to launch the church, but the team let me know that they were ready, and we started in November.

4. Do we have a place to meet?

Venue is extremely important in deciding when to start. When we first arrived in Bellingham, I was convinced that we would get this old white church building. It was awesome, and in a perfect location right between Western Washington University and downtown. A few weeks before we signed a lease on it, we discovered that it was about to fall down. Fortunately, we had an inspector look at it and determined that it was unusable before we started meeting there. Having a building fall down on your congregation is not a great church growth strategy! We ended up getting a beautiful old manor that is used for wedding venues and events. The owner is a Christian man, and said we could use it Sunday mornings rent-free! The point is, wait for the right place before you start meeting.

5. Do I feel a peace from the Holy Spirit?

This question is the most difficult to quantify, but the most important to determine. Ultimately, you have to step out in faith and set a start date. You may not have all the resources you need, and it may not be the right time of year, but God is calling you to begin. My own personal opinion is that church planting strategies and techniques can be helpful, but ultimately, it must be God who leads you by His Spirit.  Church planting is more than just following the man’s directions, it’s about following the one who said, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”

Church planting is more than just following the man’s directions, it’s about following the one who said, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”

Pastor Brian Kelly is a former missionary and Senior Pastor at Calvary Chapel Kampala, Uganda. After returning from the field and serving for a time at Maranatha Chapel in San Diego, he and his family moved to Bellingham, to plant the Bridge. You can find more information about the Bridge on their website or on Facebook.

Celebrating Church Plants with a special “Sending Sunday” Service

Acts 13:3:  “Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”

One of the greatest joys of church planting is that exciting time when your church planter is ready to leave the nest and step out in faith to plant their new church God is forming. As good as that time is, there are some questions that can arise on the “sending church” side of things. Questions like, How can a pastor get his entire congregation informed and involved in this church plant? Another typical question is, how can the pastor demonstrate the priority of church planting in his local congregation and explain the role of the sending church? 

At Calvary Chapel Rosarito we answer these questions by holding a special Sending Sunday service to celebrate each one of our church plants. A Sending Sunday is a Sunday service dedicated completely to the sending out of a church planter and his team. The special service allows us to all take part in God’s birthing of a new church.

What It Looks Like

Let me lay out for you how a typical Sending Sunday service looks like for us in Rosarito. On this special Sunday, I begin by sharing a word of encouragement about the importance of missions work, church planting and the calling that God has placed on us as a church. I then bring the church planter on stage and hand the rest of the service over to him. The church planter normally shares a word from the scriptures while also explaining the calling that God has placed on his life to plant this church.

At the conclusion of the service, the entire missions team comes forward to have hands laid on them by the pastoral staff and be officially sent out by the church! As the pastor, I normally end our Sending Sunday service by asking the congregants to pray for and financially support this new church plant. We have mechanisms in place for either a one-time gift or a regular monthly financial commitment. Often the afternoon ends with a church plant themed missions lunch where those interested can mingle and talk with the church planting team.

For Senders and Goers

I have found Sending Sundays are not only for the pastor and team going out to plant, but a great way to show our congregation has a major role we have in sending planters to establish new congregations. Lord willing the Sending Sundays will be repeated in the new church plants as they mature. They allow everyone feel connected with and part of the great work that God is doing through church planning. The next time you have the opportunity to send out a church planter, pray about having your very own “Sending Sunday” service. I promise you, it will be a blessing!

For an example, one of Calvary Chapel Rosarito’s Sending Sunday services is online.

Pastor Mike Vincent and his wife Sarah went to Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico, with their two children in 2002 to plant Calvary Chapel Rosarito. God has used the church to send several church plant teams.

Practical Preparation for Sending a Planter

There is so much to consider and do before a planter goes and plants a church. There are the important areas such as education and experience. I am a firm believer in the more education the better and it has nothing to do with what they are learning. Education shows commitment and the ability to finish things without the benefit of being paid. That speaks volumes in ability but it also can be a stumbling block. At the least a planter should’ve have gone through a School of Ministry or Bible College. Basic theological education is essential.

Experience is also another area that needs to be shown. It is vital that a planter spend sometime on a church staff as either a paid ministry position or as a volunteer intern. You have to learn to work under someone in ministry before you can lead others. You also need to go through the highs and lows of ministry that strengthen or weed out the committed.

You have to learn to work under someone in ministry before you can lead others.

Those two aside I want to talk about the practical steps to sending someone out. If you don’t have CCPN’s Church Planting Workbook then you need to download it. It is one of the most practical and helpful guides out there. So what does a planter need to do before they go out? Here are a few practical tips that I’ve discovered as we get ready to send out a planter. It is important to note that you require the planter to do much of this. If you do everything for them they will fall on their face once they get there.

  1. Make It Legal: Go to the state website where you are planting and figure out what it takes to get registered as a non-profit corporation. Don’t worry about a Federal 501(c)3 until a few years in. Become a nonprofit through the state which is easier and less time consuming. This will allow you to get a bank account, post office box, and other such legal things you will need. No one can donate to your church plant and get a tax donation until you do.
  2. Make it Visible: Next you need to register a domain name for your church plant. Whether through Go Daddy or some other web-hosting company get the domain name you need. Go for a .com first and then register a .org as well. People will first and foremost look for your church online. In the eight years we have been a church we only did yellow pages once and it was a waste of money. What we have done is Google ads and we get thousands of impressions and clicks every month for very little. When people fill out a visitor card 90% say they came through online search. It’s a new reality so be visible. Start a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account for your church. This is where the people are.
  3. Make it a Celebration: When it’s time to go, make it a party, not a memorial. People have a hard time letting go and they get all worried and upset with change. The church should hold a party for the planters. Let the guy teach that Sunday morning, throw a BBQ afterwards, and give an opportunity for the church to bless them financially. This will give them an opportunity for them to be a part of what is going on and see them off. This Sunday we send off our youth pastor. We are killing the fatted calf (100 lbs of Trip Tip) and recognizing what God is doing.

These are just a few of the things that a church should do to help send out a planter. There is so much more but things I’ve found are so important. A planter has an arduous road in front of them and preparing them before hand will help to insure the chance to be successful.

Chuck Musselwhite pastors The Village Chapel in Lompoc, CA. For more information, visit villagechapel.com.