10. Your house will be full of stuff you cannot store in the venue you are hiring for your services. You won’t be able to get a glass of milk without tripping over speakers, cables, leaflets, music stands, offering envelopes and boxes of Sunday School toys.
9. The first people to come to a new church are often Christians that have weak or no social ties at their existing church(es). There is a reason why that is the case – they are often people who struggle to form social ties and build relationships for a whole host of reasons.
8. The most precious resource you have – and the scarcest – is not going to be money, though money will probably be scarce at first – but volunteers. Be prepared to do everything yourself at first, from setting up the PA, to setting up the chairs, to cleaning the toilets, to opening the service, doing the notices, preaching and Sunday school. Celebrate and honour good volunteers!
7. People will come for a week or two and disappear, and you will never see them again. Don’t take it personally!
6. The other pastors in town are not going to welcome you with open arms. People who ten years ago did exactly what you are doing now for the same reasons and the love for God are going to distrust your motives and your love for God!
5. Because you are small, some people are going to come to your church because it amplifies their voice and vote. Whereas they have zero say in a church of 400, in a church of 14 they can make themselves heard. Be careful who you give your platform too, and never hand it over (again, if you missed it) to someone who attacks your vision, or wants to moan about any of the other churches they used to go to. Don’t be afraid if someone leaves just because you won’t give them a platform, let them go!
4. Your numbers will fluctuate wildly at first. Until you reach 60+ people you will not have a core group really, and the people being away will not balance out. Sometimes you may have to preach to 1. Preach like there is 100. Preach your heart out every time – people will talk, and people will hear about it.
3. You have no idea – and no amount of thinking you do will help – how much you influence and impact the entire culture of the church. People will pray the way you pray, talk the way you talk, love how you love, minister how you minister. It’s scary, eerie, but you are the leader, so keep leading. If you think people are drawn to you not Christ, keep preaching Christ, they will eventually get plugged in to Him – and eventually realize you are not all that!
2. There are hundreds of ways to advertise and promote your church. But true growth comes when you grow the people who come and get out into your town and meet people. It is hard work growing a church.
1. It is worth it. It is worth every late night, early morning, every tear you shed over someone who leaves, every fear you have it will have to be closed down, every pain you go through. When you stand up to preach one day and look over the church and see people whose marriage would be over without the church, who would still be sick, still be lost, still be hopeless, your heart soars, and it is the greatest feeling on earth.