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overcoming obstacles

Overcoming Common Obstacles of Church Planting with Biblical Principles

church planting May 14, 2024

Church planting is a journey filled with both immense joy and significant challenges. It's a calling that requires not just a vision but also resilience, perseverance, and a deep reliance on God's guidance. In this journey, church planters often encounter a variety of obstacles that can test their faith and determination. However, by understanding these common challenges and applying Biblical and practical solutions, it's possible to navigate these hurdles effectively and see the growth and flourishing of new church communities.

1. Financial Constraints

One of the most immediate challenges faced by church planters is the financial aspect. Depending on your approach, planting a church does not require a huge financial commitment up front. You can always start small and focus on multiplication.  The important thing is that the church has to live within her means. 

Philippians 4:19 reminds us, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."  Depending upon God requires that we be good stewards of all that he supplies. For the church planter, that means that he needs to...

  • Develop a clear and realistic budget.
  • Seek partnerships with existing churches or Christian organizations.
  • Casting a Bible-based vision that inspires people to join, serve, and give to the mission. 

2. Building a Core Team

A church is not a one-person show. It requires a committed team that shares the vision and is willing to work towards it. In Exodus 18:21, Jethro advised Moses to select capable men from all the people to share the burden of leadership. Similarly, church planters should seek individuals who are not only capable but also have a heart for service and ministry. Start with your immediate network and expand by hosting interest meetings. Be clear about the vision and the commitment required. Invest in leadership development and team-building activities to foster unity and shared purpose.

3. Community Engagement

Engaging the community effectively can be challenging, especially in areas where there is indifference or even hostility towards new churches. Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations," reminds us of the importance of outreach. We are called to engage with love and humility, meeting people where they are. Conduct community needs assessments to understand how the church can serve people in their local context.  Follow-up with community events, service projects, or other activities that address local needs and provide opportunities to build relationships.

4. Spiritual Warfare

Church planting is a spiritual endeavor that often encounters opposition. Spiritual warfare can manifest in various ways, including discouragement, conflict, or external opposition. Ephesians 6:12-13 offers guidance, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God." Prayer, fasting, and the support of a spiritual mentor are crucial. Maintain a strong personal spiritual discipline and encourage your team to do the same. Create a prayer support network. Be open about the challenges and seek counsel and encouragement from experienced church leaders.

5. Sustaining Growth

After the initial launch phase, sustaining growth and maintaining momentum can be difficult as the novelty wears off and the realities of regular ministry set in. In 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, Paul writes, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow." This reminds us that while we work diligently, it is ultimately God who provides the increase. Focus on discipleship and leadership development within your congregation. Encourage small group participation and create clear pathways for new believers to grow and serve. Regularly evaluate and adjust your strategies to meet the evolving needs of your community.

6. Dealing with Discouragement

The journey of church planting is filled with highs and lows. There will be moments of discouragement and questioning. Galatians 6:9 encourages us not to grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Cling to the promises of God and the call He has placed on your life. Cultivate a support network of fellow church planters and mentors who can offer wisdom, encouragement, and perspective. Take time for rest and spiritual renewal. Celebrate the small victories and the ways God is working in and through your ministry.

Church planting is a noble and challenging endeavor, but with God's guidance and a commitment to applying Biblical principles, it is possible to navigate the obstacles

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