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Ideas for 1st Year of Church Plant (2 of 4)

 

Plan Big and Special Days. 

Use calendar holidays (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, etc.) as well as any other idea to generate excitement amongst church people, get new contacts or teach your people the need to bring in visitors. Some ideas are: friend day, picture day (bring family and get their free picture in a frame the following Sunday), neighbor day, etc. Offer gifts for whoever brings the most people. Stir up excitement in the church. Offer snacks, cake or a light meal after service for everyone.

Here is something we made up and used when planning a special event in Argentina:

2 months before – 

Put it in the church bulletin

Plan the theme and design the flyer

Start practicing a theme song with the choir and choose a song for the choir or special groups to sing

Start working with the children on a special song to sing

Plan other special music groups

Check on bookstore contents and who will be working in the bookstore, make bookmarks, etc.

Have a meeting with anyone who wants to work in the event and assign jobs (see list of jobs at the bottom)

1 month before – 

Print the flyers, encourage people to invite their friends

Send a special letter to every contact that has come to the church

Send a letter to invite other churches in the area (even those who you may not agree with doctrinally), along with a few flyers and a large hang up flyer to put in their church

Choir practice

Arrange for lodging for people coming in from far away

Make the song book (if using new choruses, etc) or prepare the slides for power point

3 weeks before – 

Decide on decorations, form a team to decorate

Put a banner on the window of the church

Announce it on the radio and/or newspaper

Plan the meals for people staying at the church, etc

Put someone in charge of any children’s activities – Bible Club, etc

Make sure nursery workers are signed up for every meeting going on at the church

Make sure the bus is in shape for picking up visitors (if you have one)

2 weeks before – 

Send out an email to the church list

Have a day of passing out flyers all day long

Decorate the church

Check on bookstore contents and who will be working in the bookstore, make bookmarks, etc.

Plan the program for each meeting

1 week before – 

Send out another email

Have another day of passing out flyers all day long.

Visit people who haven’t come in a while

Call all contacts and invite them

1 day before – 

Send another email out asking for prayer for the conference and inviting people

Call any other people who need to be reminded of the conference

 

Teach Church to Give to Missions. 

Have a missions conference by the second year of church’s existence. Don’t support other Americans, find local pastors/missionaries/church planters. You may have to ask other missionaries, but you can likely find someone even if they live many hours from where you are working. Let the people know that you have come as a missionary and other countries and areas need missionaries as well. Talk about the need to get churches planted all over your city, but someone has to support them to begin. Missionaries do their church on the field a big mistake by not letting them feel the weight of giving (church of Macedonia was in deep poverty yet still gave according to II Corinthians 8).

 

Start Youth Meeting Right Away. 

Make it fun, interesting, a place where they can get questions or doubts answered and a place where they want to bring friends. Friday or Saturday evenings are good options. They do not need more games than preaching and teaching time. Offer free drinks. Don’t make it infantile and be clear that they’ll learn Bible and get their doubts or questions answered in this meeting. The youth meeting will likely be the training grounds from which your future leaders come from.

 

Your Preaching. 

Preach messages that are basic, helpful and that will attract people. Of course our preaching should be based on Bible, but remember that preaching is not for your own good but for the good of the people. Don’t use big words without explaining the meaning. Teach basic discipleship lessons and truths. Don’t try to be deep, go wide (lots of truth and reachable for everyone). People are curious about certain subjects/topics and as long as you stem from the Bible, you can hit on topics that draw and help people (creationism, family, finances, success, who is God, what happens after death, etc.). Stay Basic. Use object lessons. Use stories. Look at the people. Include them in your preaching. Find topics that are going to help and attract people.  Keep it on the bottom shelf. Preach children’s church style, don’t go deep. Remember to give spoon by spoon bites, not an entire plateful. Let them take one thing home, not many things. Follow the old acronym “K.I.S.S.” – Keep It Simple Stupid.

 

Bibles.

Offer free Bibles at church for people to use. Offer to give them a Bible if they come to church 4 Sundays in a row (gets people back and you want them to have a Bible anyways). Using the same Bible will help people at the beginning so you can tell them what page number to turn to until they grow and learn where books of the Bible are located.

 

Begin Discipleship Immediately. 

Find a system that works best for you and encourage everyone to go through it (there are many good discipleship curriculums). Talk about the discipleship you offer in the service and have a volunteer with copies available every service. Give a special certificate for anyone that finishes the lessons (we had 26 lessons in our 1st level). Discipleship helps people learn about salvation, baptism, faithful church attendance, tithing or giving and much more without you having to keep repeating and preaching on it. You may have some lessons you do together (later teach them to take others through it once they’ve finished) but have a entire level of lessons with fill-in-the-blanks so they can take it home and do it on their own pace (Bible passages they look up and the spaces is a phrase or word from that verse). As they finish one lesson, they bring it back and you give the next lesson to take home (checking the lesson they turned in and later talking to them about any misunderstandings). When they finish you give a certificate in front of the church and give them back their lessons all stapled together. You can do another level where it is one on one with the person. There are many ways to do discipleship but goal is to make sure they do it (and you have to be strategic since you only have so much time to offer every person).

 

Entryway. 

Make a small and cheap entryway in your building (use plywood or drywall) as to silence street sounds (just as some bathrooms have a small wall/division so you can’t see in). Church people get distracted too easily with others coming in, people talking outside or vehicles driving by, so you have to try to silence out the distractions. You have prepared and ready to preach and you need their attention, so  minimize distractions. Making a small entry way (even if it’s just 1 or 2 meters) doesn’t have to be expensive, but it will double your efforts in teaching and preaching.

 

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