This is the final entry, Steps Nine and Ten, in the series: “Ten Practical Steps For Planting New Churches,” written by Rev. Manuel Molina Flores.
Step Nine: Organization
From the beginning of the church-planting process, we must train with the goal of preparing the believers to take on the commitment to organize the church. We must apply the minimum structure necessary to ensure for the church’s healthy functioning, which generally means only naming the official church board. We do not have to form all of the ministries immediately. It is only necessary to identify the leaders of each department. As the church grows we can continue to implement roles as they become necessary.
Organization will be only a guide, not a straight jacket for the new work.
How is a church born?
In the process of founding churches, the moment will come when we must determine who is willing to formally and publicly commit to the new church. We say a local church is born the moment the believers publicly commit to the Lord and to one another, as well as to Scripture (as it is expressed in the “Declaration of Faith” in the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene.
To plant a church is like beginning to build a house; the basic building blocks of the church are the converts. It is so obvious that frequently we pass over this concept. The primary focus of a church planter should be placed on the converts, and even though the structure and organization are not more important, they will help to conserve the results. The success or failure of a church planter will be directly related to the fruit of his or her work in the souls of the new converts. Missionary work should not be abandoned to dedicate ourselves to maintain the gains we’ve made. Both of these– missionary work and maintenance – should happen simultaneously.
- Train specific leaders to perform their assigned roles.
- Meet with the new leaders and the new church board (in most cases, they will be the same cell group leaders or leaders from the home groups), to develop monthly plans and to move forward on district plans.
- Submit yourself to leadership above you and teach the new leaders to work as a team with the different levels of leadership within the denomination. We are all on the same team working towards the same mission.
- Make a plan that allows for local growth and growth in new communities. In this way the church will not close itself in to its own four walls.
- Maintain a vision to raise up and train volunteer leaders. Paid leadership has a tendency to slow down the advances of the new church.
Step Ten: Look to the Harvest Fields
Keep the vision of new works as something natural in the life of the church. Take Antioch in Acts 13 as a model.
Form a plan that allows for local growth and growth in new communities. In that way the new church will not close itself in to its own four walls. The temptation will be to settle for what has already been achieved, and new believers will want to be together and not allow the pastor to leave to explore new fields. One time a good brother said, “Pastor, if you go to another place, I’ll go back to the world.” The pastor replied, “I thought you followed Christ, but it seems you’ve decided to exchange him for this useless servant.” This happens when koinonia become “koinonitis,” slowing the growth of the church.
Never stop doing the things that produce growth. It is an error when church planters dedicate themselves to consolidate the fruit of the work and stop evangelizing. (This has happened in some instances, such as in the case of the project Vision 93-2000. The goal was to organize a pioneer district in Chiapas, Mexico, and the progress stagnated.)
We have had to examine our focus to return to the original vision to plant churches in our chosen field.
***We hope that this series of practical steps for planting new churches has proven useful for you, the reader, in your ministry. We thank Rev. Manuel Molina for his work in developing this material, and for his effectiveness in putting it in practice.