Planting a church that pops up strong ordinarily takes some time . . . maybe as long as nine months from seed stage to the day it goes public. It usually takes time to build the seed of a solid core group and get everybody ready for ministry. Why? Because the work needs to draw gifted servants and develop strong roots of relationships, leadership, service, doctrine and organization. Those roots help hold the plant in place when hard days come.
On launch day, of course you want people who visit the new church to connect with the Lord. You also want them to say, Wow, these people really know what they’re doing. This looks like a church that’s about two or three years old. That means all things are in order and done well, from the location to signage to genuine friendliness to worship to preaching to child care. Yes, better emphasize child care. It doesn’t matter how good everything else is, if parents worry that their babies and older children aren’t cared for properly, they won’t be coming back.
I figure there’s several reasons for that. It’s true that a planting pastor who parachutes in to a new location has a tough row to hoe. Much also depends on the ground where you're throwing the seed. If there's a few healthy churches in the area, it's probably going to be tougher to grow the church. Perhaps there's maybe one Bible-preaching church in the area where we're planting. Perhaps the people of the area also already know the planting pastor, which makes things easier. But that’s far from enough. The Lord puts together a core of praying people who are gifted, mature and passionate about Christ and his church. They also know how to make connections between vision and action. And whatever they don’t know, they’re teachable to learn what’s needed and then act upon it. That’s miracle grow stuff for the seed of the church.