A Church Planting Timeline

A Church Planting Timeline

I have divided the preparatory time for planting a church into six time periods. These categories describe the planning and preparation schedule for starting a new church. The three biggest failures of church planting are: a lack of preparation, a lack of hard work, and a failure to connect with people.

Two years before the first service:
1. Locate a place to start the new church
2. Develop relationships with pastors and potential supporters
3. Prepare a plan and time line for the new church plant
4. Identify specific needs for the new church
5. Seek godly counsel from successful pastors and church planters
6. Begin scheduling meetings to gain monthly support
7. Develop a list of likely supporting churches and individuals
8. Make survey trips to prospective areas
9. Design and print a prayer card

One year before the first service:
1. Finalize the city for the new church
2. Begin deputation to raise monthly support
3. Schedule additional meetings to fill all open dates
4. Design printed materials
a. John and Romans
b. Church flyer
c. Postcard promoting the first Sunday
d. Church stationary
e. Tracts
f. Decision cards
g. Prospects cards
h. Newspaper ads
i. Temporary signs for the meeting place
5. Develop a data base of prospects
6. Acquire needed office equipment and supplies
7. Obtain PA system
8. Get song books
9. Make a survey trip to the new city

Six months before the first service:
1. Confirm the meeting location
2. Open a post office box
3. Order all printed materials
4. Finish deputation close to starting area
5. Meet all pastors that are closest to your area
a. Assure pastors you will not take any of their people
b. Ask people to pray for you
c. Develop a close relationship to them
d. Seek their advice and counsel
6. Locate a place to live
7. Move to the new area

Four weeks before the first service:
1. Begin an aggressive visitation program
2. Organize visiting churches to help distribute materials
3. Send letters to all prospects and visit them weekly
4. Invite local dignitaries to the first service
5. Visit, visit, visit

One week before the first service:
1. Hold a get-acquainted meeting with prospects
2. Conduct a week of meetings (Optional)
3. Order flowers for decorations and corsages
4. Brush up on sermon and Sunday school lesson

One day before the first service:
1. Follow up the best prospects for the first service
2. Prepare an order of service
3. Finalize all plans
4. Pray, pray, pray

This list is not complete, but it does suggest some of the many tasks necessary to planting a new church.

Written by Jim Townsley

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