At Hope Community Church in Hinckley, we’re very blessed in that our church congregation is growing quite rapidly. Growth is so encouraging and brings with it all of the excitement of planning larger premises and more suitable leadership structures. But more on those topics another day…
However, I also have a heart to plant out an new church. Peter, our Pastor, and the leadership team are very much in agreement and together we see church planting as an important part of the plan for reaching out to more and more people. Our current church is situated at the centre of a large housing estate – a great place from which to serve the local community. Being at the heart of local communities is key to who we are as a church and so any new church plant will aim to serve the same purpose.
Thing is, whenever we start to talk about a church plant, many people’s first thoughts (mine included initially) turn to the new church building itself. Could we afford to build something? Would a local developer help us? Is there anything suitable for sale in the area? However, the more I think about if, the less I believe it’s about the building – at least in the first instance. I mean if a group of us got together in a new area and met once a week to pray for and seek to serve that place, is that not a church plant? I believe that from humble beginnings we could reach out to local people, carry out street ministry, run Alpha courses and so on. With a little thought, a small team could impact an area in a big way.
And then when the time comes that a building is required, maybe for a regular weekend service, well, plenty of churches use rented space initially,don’t they? I guess that there are certain things that it’s just not possible to do without premises of your own. However they would also come with a large administrative burden and financial overhead.
I’ll freely admit that I’m not an experienced church planter but I have the heart for it and really want to take the first steps. I would be very interested in the benefit of other people’s experiences.