Launching a church or campus is often the dream of many pastors. Unfortunately for some, that dream quickly becomes a nightmare because they didn’t properly prepare. I’ve been fortunate to be friends with several church planters and have been in the middle of launching a campus at my own church. In this post I want to share with you the six things you need to consider before launch.
- Who’s on the staff?
Every church or campus needs to begin with a staff already on board. They don’t have to be paid, but they need to be bought into the vision of the church. Most churches should begin with a lead or campus pastor, a worship leader, a children’s ministry leader, and someone who handles the administrative tasks of the church. Churches may also choose to have a student ministry leader, small groups leader, missions leader, etc. either from the beginning or added later on as needed.
- Where will we meet?
It may surprise you to know that next to who’s leading the church, the thing that determines whether the church or campus succeeds or fails is often the location. Not great news for us small town and rural church pastors. If possible, you want to be along a main road that gets high traffic or in a facility that the community recognizes, for example the local high school or community center. Leasing a building is also a great option, although it’s sometimes hard to find buildings large enough to house a church that also fits within your budget.
- What ministries will we offer?
The temptation for most churches is to do much more than they need to or are capable of. When you’re starting out, you want to concentrate on doing a few things really well. This will allow you to grow, which allows you to add ministries later. Decide on what ministries you’re going to start with, which ones you may add later, and those you’ll never do. If you’re starting with more than five or six, you’re trying to do too much.
- How will we get the word out?
It would be naïve to think that just because you’re starting a church that people are going to come. It just doesn’t happen anymore. You need to build a team of 40-50 people before you ever think about launching. Most of these connections are going to come through personal relationships. Others may come because of social media posts. Others may have seen a Facebook ad or received a flyer in the mail. Make sure to set aside a significant amount of money to market your launch.
- How much will this cost?
Speaking of money, launching a church plant or campus often comes with a significant financial cost. Be wise and do your homework up front, or you’ll pay the price later. Figure up your upfront costs, and create a budget for your first two years of ministry. This will give you an idea of how much money you need to raise, and how much money you’ll need to bring in each week to survive.
- How will we develop leaders?
This is the easiest one to overlook. In the excitement of launching a new campus or church, it’s easy to get so busy that you neglect to develop new leaders. This ends up coming back to haunt you as your church begins to grow because you don’t have the leadership in place to handle the growth. Because of this, often churches that launch big will quickly lose the people they tried so hard to reach. Make sure you have a system in place to develop new leaders before you even launch.
We need more churches and campuses to bring light to a broken world. We need you to succeed. I hope this list will help.
For you who have planted campuses or churches, what would you add to this list? What have I forgotten? Let us know by leaving a comment below. If you’re thinking about launching a campus or church, I’d love to hear about it. Maybe I can help. Shoot me an email and let’s connect.