1) The reasons you are interested in starting a church. Make certain those reasons are positive and Biblical.
- You understand that the Lord is building His church and you want to be involved; (Matt.16:18).
- You see the great need for reaching lost people and then training young believers; (Matt. 28:18-20).
- You want to obey Scriptures in areas where you cannot do so at present.
- You want to disciple your own family and children in the context of a godly enterprise.
- You know some likeminded believers who could gather for fellowship.
Don’t try to plant a new church for negative reasons:
- You want to compete with or “show up” an existing church
- You have problems submitting to authority and want your own church
2) Your understanding of what a New Testament church really is. This may mean getting rid of some unbiblical ideas and traditions that you grew up accepting. Note: this should not be a negative exercise such as condemning other groups or people, but rather something positive, in that you simply want to follow the Lord and His Word. Here are a few common misconceptions…………….
- You must have large numbers of people to be a church. Not true. In Matt. 18:20 Jesus said: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
- You will need complex marketing programs and expensive equipment to attract people. Some groups become so involved with ads, canvassing the neighborhoods, telemarketing etc. that they forget the key: Jesus said “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt.11:28
- You will need to belong to some recognized denomination. No denomination is mentioned in the Bible, and there will be none in heaven. All the attempts to rationalize their existence cannot remove the simple truth that the Lord Jesus prayed that his followers would be one practically (John 17:21). Denominations are walls. You do not need them.
- You will need a membership role. In the New Testament, all born again believers were members of the church by spiritual birth, and welcomed to fellowship in the local assembly where they lived. Fellowship in the local church is a reflection of membership in Christ’s body. The problem of unsaved “church members” is the result of an unbiblical requirement of membership in the church universal AND in the church local.
- Your children will suffer without an established Sunday School and youth program. False. Your children may suffer without these if this is to be their only spiritual training. But the home, not the church is to be the primary sphere of spiritual training for children. Kids love to work on the same real life projects that their parents work in. If principles that bring growth and blessings are followed, it should not be long before other families with children get involved in the new work.
- You must have a trained clergyman or pastor to perform “official church functions.” The New Testament pattern is that a congregation should be run by its own men. There is not one function of a true New Testament church, including baptism, the Lord’s Supper, marriage etc. that cannot be performed by the ordinary people of the fellowship. No verse in Scripture supports the idea of a professional “clergy” divided from the “laity.”
- It takes sophisticated means to decide where a church could be started successfully. Not true. Some groups spend much time and effort on demographic studies and marketing techniques, and this is one way to decide on a location. But Jesus likened the moving of His Spirit to the wind blowing (John3:8); the effects are seen but the wind itself is not seen. Through watching and prayer, it will become evident where the wind is blowing; i.e., where God is at work in hearts.
- You must have a church building to be a church. Not true. The earliest churches met in homes. In countries where Christianity comes under attack, church buildings are closed or destroyed but believers meet in homes and other buildings for generations if necessary.
- There already is a church in our area. If it is a true New Testament church, you may want to consider helping there. But if it is not near your neighborhood, it is OK to plant another as there are more than enough lost people to fill many churches once they are reached for Christ.