Starting a church for many people can be life changing. But most, have no idea where to start. With these proven steps, you can learn how to start a church and take your vision to from scratch to a successful ministry.

Develop a Strategy to Start a Church

To start a church successfully, you mush have a specific plan. Think about where you are now and where you want to be. Without a strategy or specific plan, your plan to start a church will be impossible to achieve. As you start to develop your strategy, keep these things in mind:

start a church
  • What are you expecting from God? Include a written statement of how much you are expecting God to provide in your strategic plan.
  • What will your structure look like? You can structure for control or growth, but you cannot have both. Plan to structure your church the right way from the start.
  • Write it down. Put your plan on paper for more clarity. Your plan cannot live in your head alone, and remember no one can read your mind.
  • Focus. Your plan will help you focus as new ideas continue to flood into your thoughts and point you back to what is most important.
  • Teamwork. Share your plan with your team to give a clear sense of where you want to go and the strategy they should rally behind.
  • Save time. For every minute you spend on developing your plan, you will save more time when it is time to implement your strategy to start your church.

6 Key Elements to Start a Church

Every strategic plan to start a church should have these six key elements:

  • Mission, Purpose, and Vision Statement – these guiding principles describe what God has called you to do.
  • Core Values – similar to the Great Commandments. What will your church stand for?
  • Strategic Aim – the guiding light or beacon that will drive your strategy. For example, Our aim as the body of Christ is to effectively launch a new church in (city/state), on the (day of the week) in (month/year), with (x number of people) in average weekly attendance during the month of (month).
  • Major Objectives– tasks you will need to complete to accomplish your strategic aim.
  • Goals – for each objective, what are the goals that must be accomplished to achieve each objective?
  • Budget– every strategic plan must include costs to accomplish the church mission, anticipated projected income, and proposed spending plan.
start a church

Raising Funds

Starting a church costs money. No matter the strength of your calling to God or how good your intentions are to start a church, no new church can succeed without funding. Therefore, you cannot push the need for funding to the side or be unwilling to deal with financial matters by putting all of the pressure on God. He wanted me to start this church. He’ll provide. Yes, it is true God will provide, he has provided by giving you the vision and ole to play in securing the funding needed.

  • Start by creating a budget to understand better how much funding you will need to start a church.
  • Conduct thorough research on the typical costs to start and operate the church.
  • Don’t think too small or large when budgeting. Find the right balance on the funds you will need.
  • Finding Funding. Do you have money in your savings that can be used to start a church? Can you work a side job to raise funds? Do you have a spouse that can contribute funding? Can your launch team be a good source of funding? Are there any denominations and church-planting networks you can tap for funding? Are there startup grants that can provide financial support?

Consider all options when raising funds to start a church, and don’t be afraid to ask for funding. The worst thing that can happen is someone saying “no.”But use that answer as motivation to keep going and answer God’s calling.

Build Staff to Start a Church

Why do some new churches succeed while others fail?

There are many reasons why new churches fail, but most failures are due to the Launch plan.

Before you start a church, you will need staff. When should you hire? What positions will you need? How will staff get paid? These are just a few questions you should consider. During your first year, you will need a lead pastor, worship leader, and a children’s ministry leader. Since you are most likely the lead pastor, fulfilling the children’s ministry leader position should be your top priority. At a minimum, the lead pastor and children’s ministry leader are the two staff members you will need during your first year.

During your second year, you can consider hiring a church secretary, youth pastor, discipleship pastor, and other specialized positions. Since your church will be young, you will not be able to afford many staff members. Therefore, this is a good time to tune your leadership skills in areas where you need improvement because you will need to master delegation.

Raising payroll funds for new and existing staff is also essential. You will most likely not be able to pay salaries to your new hires, so you will need to work out arrangements on how you will fund their positions.

Important Tips

  • Raising funds should be a short-term plan. As the church grows, donations should help pay for staff and operating costs.
  • Ask new staff to raise some funds for their position, but not 100%.
  • Raise funds yourself to hire and retain staff.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask people to join you in the work God is calling you to do.
  • Hire Part-Time to give individuals a trial period. This will help you assess whether the employee is a good fit.
  • Hire from within as your congregation grows. Look at who attends regularly and determine if they would be a good fit for a role.
  • Hire based on Character (Are they trustworthy), Chemistry ( Do you like this person?), and Competency (Can this person do the job?).
  • Obtain 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and establish a strong foundation that protects your church. Although churches are not required to apply for 501(c)(3) status from the IRS, it does come with benefits. Such as the assurance that contributions are tax-exempt and tax-deductible while enhancing the organizations financial transparency.

Be strong and courageous! For you will lead these people. (Deut. 31:7)

how to start a church

Planning Your First Service

When thinking about your launch date, remember the primary goal is to launch publicly and reach as many people as possible. The date should give you (1) enough time to market your church and give people enough notice to attend and, (2) not be during a time when most people are traveling like holidays or summer vacations.

Easter is often the best time to launch a new church because many people only tend church once a year, and most of the time, they attend on Easter.

The Pew Research Center reported in 2014 that online searches for “church” also spike around Easter. Most churches see a 33 percent higher increase in worshipers on Easter Sunday.

starting a church hiring staff
Launch | Starting a new church from scratch by Nelson Searcy & Kerrick Thomas

Monthly services or preview services are great stepping-stones that can help you have a successful launch day. Consider holding four to six prior to the date you select for launch. Monthly services will also help you resolve logistic issues and successfully plan for your Grand Opening launch date.

Collect Information from Worshipers

Make sure to collect necessary contact information from those that attend monthly services. Start a mailing list to keep worshipers engaged, which increases the potential for them to be your first regular attendees. Follow up with the people God is sending your way during this critical period of starting your church.

Need help starting an online mailing list? We can help at no cost. Join GACN Today.


Think about the location of your church. The location should match your target audience and be easily accessible for the audience you’re trying to reach. Your location should have a reasonable number of seats.

Promoting your church

Create promotional materials and a website. Consider direct mail and digital advertising.

Gather a Launch Team to Start a Church

Your launch team is a team of individuals that are committed to the success of your church.  If you want to start a church, you must seek out the right people that God has positioned to help you. To build your launch team, identify who is already on it, such as a spouse, adult children, and close relatives. Ask yourself how many people you will need on your launch team by the time your church begins weekly services.

Reach People

You must have the right passion for reaching people. What you do today, tomorrow, and the next day will help determine if you start a church successfully. Think about you are trying to reach. If your answer is everyone, then you have some homework to do. You must develop a clear picture of the demographic to target in order to reach the most people successfully. The messaging you use to promote your church must be targeted in order for it to be impactful and get people to take action.

  • Your demographic should be easy to find.
  • Your demographic should be a significant part of your local community.
  • You should  be able to describe your demographic easily.

Finally, be a church that gives back to other churches. If your new church is thriving and has healthy growth, be a good steward for others seeking resources to start their church for the greater good of the kingdom.

Still, wondering how to start a church? Contact us today for additional guidance.

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