The title of this article may feel very counterintuitive to you.
Planting a church when many congregations are closing forever? Reimagining our ministry when we feel like we're crawling back to life after months of being absent from our building?
There are a lot of reasons to consider this right now, but those reasons were summarized nicely for me in an unexpected place—a business magazine. (Yes, I'm the same guy who wrote three articles about the dangers of running a church like a business—here, here and here. Strange days, indeed.)
In "Why a Financial Crisis Is Actually the Best Time to Start a Company," Feliks Eyser outlined four reasons why entrepreneurs should consider starting a business now. Here they are, along with a short summary of his reasoning for each.
1. Painkiller ideas. If you have an idea that can meet a need in the current crisis, people will line up for it.
2. Hiring during a recession. With people out of work, it may be easier to find highly skilled and motivated workers.
3. Finding funding. Yes, people are holding their money tighter. But if you have real answers in the current crisis, people will want to fund you.
4. Finding customers. People are looking for help. If you offer it, they'll buy it.
My friend, Trip Kimball, sent Eyser's article to me, thinking it might have parallels for the church. As soon as I read it, I knew he was right. Thanks for the nudge, Trip!
So here are my parallels to the points from Eyser's article as they might apply to planting a church or reimagining an existing ministry.
1. Find a need and fill it. People need Jesus. Always.
Although they may not be aware of that need in typical times, they are more likely to know it now.
If the Lord is leading you to start a ministry or plant a church that speaks to a need that has been made more evident by this crisis, now is the time to step up.
This is not to "take advantage of a crisis" but because people have real needs and they need real answers. Check out this resource here.
If you have the infrastructure to get it done, don't reinvent the wheel. Use what already exists. But, as I wrote in "Simplify: How To De-Clutter Your Church for More Effective Ministry," don't just add more events to your schedule; use this opportunity to rethink and simplify everything.
But if the current crisis has led you to an idea that is so new and unique it can't be done through an existing church or ministry, start a new one!
Whether or not you start a new ministry, leverage the infrastructure of an existing church or create a hybrid of the two, what matters is that we use everything God has given us to meet people's needs.
2. Putting a team together. People want to help. Even previously passive people are ready to lend a hand if they know it will actually meet a need.
If you have a practical way to meet a real need, this is the best moment of our lifetime to pull a launch team together for that church plant or ministry idea.
StartCHURCH has created an incredible resource to help you launch a church planting team. To learn more, call (844) 409-1330 or click the link below.
3. Donors want to give. Money is tight. Always.
But now more than ever, people want to help. People want to be generous, to offer their funds, their skills and their time to be a blessing to others. If you can show them that their resources will be used wisely to meet real needs, they will give.
If you can show them that their resources will be used wisely to meet real needs, they will give.
4. Open hearts and ears. In our next few post-pandemic years, people are more likely to be aware of their spiritual needs. And they'll be open to receiving help from sources they might not have considered before, including the church.
This will manifest in an increased desire to go to church. As noted in some up-to-date research in articles like "Post Pandemic...Get Ready for the Church Attendance BOOM," "The forced suspension of large gatherings seems to have instilled a deeper appreciation for in-person worship."
A renewed desire for people to gather in person for worship is not just wishful thinking. Even folks who might otherwise have been skeptical or antagonistic toward the church in normal times are more open now.
Start or Restart—but Do Something
If you have a great idea for a church or ministry that can meet the needs we're facing now and are about to face in the next few years, do it! Now may be your time to plant a new church or start a new ministry in your current church.
Let's respond to circumstances we've never seen with ideas we could really use.
For the original article, visit startchurch.com.
Karl Vaters has been in pastoral ministry for almost 40 years. He is the teaching pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, a healthy small church in Orange County, California, where he has ministered for over 27 years with his wife, Shelley.
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