Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Why 80% of New Church Plants Fail (Part 2)

6. Lack of Ministry Gifts - Many new churches fail because the point leader or leadership team lack the ministry gifts needed to plant a successful church. Certain gifts are essential for a successful start of a church. One person does not need to have them all, but they must be present within the founding leaders. These gifts are: leadership, communication, and evangelism. Be brutal on this evaluation. There is a difference between wanting to lead and being gifted to lead. Ministry is through spiritual gifts; and if the proper gifts are not present, the going will be tough.

7. Lack of Money - New churches cost more and tend to bring in less during the first few years through offerings than church planters think. Many new churches fail because they don’t have sufficient capital to stay afloat. Too many let trite phrases, such as "God will provide” to flow from their lips in response to this critical need. In reality, the New Testament speaks of churches in financial need with the apostles making strong appeals without any indication of a lack of spirituality on the part of the church itself.

New churches must have working capital to sustain themselves and invest in growth until they are self-sufficient. Lack of money sets up a self-defeating cycle. Since there is barely enough money to get by, a church can’t invest in growth through additional staff, better facilities, or efforts such as direct mail campaigns. Yet without growth, the church remains financially stagnant.

8. Wandering in No-Man’s-Land - New churches also fail because they are wandering in no-man’s-land regarding the people they are trying to reach. Are you going to be a church focused on fulfilling the Great Commission? Do you see your church as a place of community? Or do you see your church as a place that exists to correctly administer the sacraments? These are vital questions to answer and then position yourself for.

Define your vision for the church, and then be pure in its presentation and operation. Too many churches race headfirst into no-man’s-land, and then languish, never breaking through the critical growth barriers necessary to flourish.

9. Failure To Contextualize – Some churches fail because they take something from outside their context and put it into a form for their context. They see something another church is doing in another community and try to implement the very same model or program in their own church, not realizing that each context is different. Using a cookie-cutter approach to church planting simply does not work. The principles and philosophies behind most successful churches will translate anywhere, but there are some areas that need to be adjusted: type of music, the style of worship, dress code, atmosphere, and the selection of sermon topics

10. You don’t have a compelling vision. Let’s face it; in the early days of a new church plant your church does not have much to offer. Attendance is low, which translates to a lack of energy in the services. The music is marginal. There is very little to offer families for their children. There is nothing for the teens. Even setting up a nursery is a challenge. You don’t own your building. Your church simply cannot offer any of the amenities that other, already established, churches are able to offer. Therefore, the only thing you can offer is a compelling vision; one that ignites the imagination and passion of your listeners. They have to be able to visualize a better tomorrow, a hopeful future, and a dream they want to see fulfilled. A compelling vision is able to get just enough people to stick it out with you, keeping the church alive, at a time when your lack of amenities is causing so many others to walk out the back door. Without a compelling vision, the death knell sounds.

Not only must there be a vision, the lead pastor must do a good job of selling the idea. He has to preach it, teach it, say it, communicate it, live it, and be willing to die for it; only then will others catch the fire.

Finally, not only must there “be” a vision, and not only must the lead pastor “motivate” people towards it, but there must also be tangible accomplishments along the way. People need to see that progress is being made. To simply write a vision down on paper and talk about it every now and there, is not enough. You’ve got to produce results! Otherwise morale will sink and support will drop off.

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