Some things to keep in mind as you begin planting, especially if you are bivocational:
- Continually ask the Spirit to help you adorn the gospel of Christ in the workplace and the church. What happens at work doesn’t stay at work. The whole gospel should affect the whole of your life. Work should be mission. Labor to close the gap between the sacred and the secular. Make notes of pastoral insights on how to bring the whole gospel into the workplace.
- Continually ask the Spirit to give you great discernment in where to focus your precious time. There will be a ton of things you can do in the early stages of church planting. You shouldn’t do all of it. Make lists and prioritize. Separate the immediate from the distant. A detailed five-year plan for the church shouldn’t be at the top. It will all change in the first year anyway!
- Do not compromise your own communion with God for the “growth” of the church. Don’t rely on the fumes of gospel ministry to minister the gospel. Rather, continually delight yourself in the God of the gospel in order to proclaim and incarnate the gospel of God.
- Do not compromise your family life (devotions, hang time, dates) in order plant the church. If managing your own household is a qualification to be a pastor (1 Tim 3), your marriage to be a public display of the gospel (Eph 5), and your children eternal souls, then don’t diminish the gospel by neglecting your family for email, blogs, books, meetings, and so on.
- Don’t try to plant a church of 250 or whatever number suits your fancy. Too many guys think they need a #2 by the time they get 25 people because they are trying to be a church of 200. Because they are visionaries, they want to bring the future into the present. Not everything in the future needs to be in the present. As an early stage planter, you have the privilege of focusing on things on a small scale. Focus on the essentials of Gospel, Community, and Mission. Be simple, faithful.
- Allow bivocational tension to press you into deeper prayer, not overworking. In the sovereignty of God you are where you are. More than anything he wants the challenges of planting to press you deeper into communion with him and intercession for the church and the city. Don’t replace prayer with overworking.
- Fundraise like a madman if you haven’t. You can relieve the financial stress by fundraising. Target non-profits and private donors. Be able to articulate your vision in 60 seconds. Have several ways of explaining your vision for several different audiences (buisnessman, potential core team member, unbeliever). Darrin Patrick raised 200,000 before planting The Journey. Fundraise in community. Get your core team to do artwork on a brochure, stuff envelopes, mail to their contacts. Multiply your potential donors by spreading the love.