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Ten Common Mistakes Made by New Churches

Ten Most Common Mistakes Made By New Church Starts

Once in a while I read a book that contains so much valuable information that it deserves more commentary than my typical, one-paragraph reviews. Ten Most Common Mistakes Made by New Church Starts is a quick read, but it is chock-full of practical suggestions by two highly experienced church leaders, Jim Griffith and Bill Easum. The ten most common mistakes, with select quotes from the authors, are as follows:

1. Neglecting the Great Commandment in pursuit of the Great Commission. “Effective and faithful planters lead from a heart overflowing with a love for God…Their goal is not to get people to come to church; their goal is to introduce people to the love of God.”

2. Failing to take opposition seriously. “You’ll find yourself confronted on every level—culturally, spiritually, theologically, and politically. Your little experiment will bug the status quo…You must resist it all! The opposition isn’t about you—it’s about the Kingdom.”

3. A love affair with one’s fantasy statement blinds the planter on the mission field. “Planting a church is a process of experimentation, innovation, and replication, but always within the realities of the mission field and how it’s responding. The planter has to be constantly adapting and modifying the vision to the mission field.”

4. Premature launch. “Many planters and their teams misunderstand the purpose of the public launch. They wrongly assume that the goal of the launch is to get started. It’s not. The goal of the launch is to get into orbit where the new church can begin to develop with minimal amount of effort to stay aloft.”

5. Evangelism ceases after the launch. “Work on making your church the most loving and inviting place in the area so when people do show up they know they are loved.”

6. No plan for the other six days of the week. “Churches that plateau at 150 participants lean heavily, and almost exclusively, on the ‘corporate’ even of public worship. They fail to develop a process to connect people to each other and to God throughout the week.”

7. Fear of talking about money until it is too late. “Planters, as well as judicatories, are notorious for underestimating how much it will cost to plant the church. What they really don’t understand is that, the more successful the plant is, the more money it requires.”

8. Failure of the church to act its age and its size. “If we had a dollar for every person who said to us, ‘Once you get that ministry in place, we’ll come to your church,’ we’d be rich…Every single plant must choose the ‘essential ministries’ that will give definition and guidance to their first few months of development, and stick with them.”

9. Formalizing leadership too soon. “Everyone needs some form of accountability. What you don’t need is a group from which you have to get permission to act. So, in the early years put together a small advisory team..Don’t call it a board and turn them into a group from which you have to get permission to act.”

10. Using the “superstar” model as the paradigm for all church plants. “You must allow the mission field, rather than some effective church, guide your decisions. You simply can’t ‘cut and paste’ your way into effectiveness.”


Which mistakes by new churches have you seen or experienced the most?

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