Live blog 8: Missional Church Planting conference

Communications Staff — May 12, 2009

Speaker: Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research.

Stetzer’s first seven sessions may be accessed at the following links:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Session title: Launch mechanisms/previews

You must have theology firmly in place before getting to practical methodology. That is why Stetzer is finishing with practical methodology, not starting with it.

The first service

You should make a big deal about the first service. You should launch your church plant before you have your first service. You should make a big deal about the church plant, publicize it. Word of mouth is big.

The challenge is to get a core group who is excited. They will invite their friends and you need to try to get them to invite the whole community as well.

It is wise to not have your first service in the summer or winter. It is wise to have your first service in the fall or spring. Attendance at existing churches is usually higher in the spring or fall.

The best time to have your first service is sometime between two weeks after Labor Day and the end of October. The second best time to have your first service is Palm Sunday.

Getting the word out about your church plant

Direct mail is the most common method of getting the word out about your church plant in non-ethnic church planting. There are three methods of sending out direct mail:

1. Single mailing: all of the information on one page, mailed the week before the first service.

2. Double mailing: Two mailings within a week of each other, the first before the first service.

3. Multiple mailings: mailed for preview services and the first service.

If you do a mailer, it must be eye-catching. The mailer should be high quality. Hand addressing the mailer with a first class stamp is a great idea. If you do a postcard, use an oversized postcard so it stands out.

Preview services

It is a good idea to have preview services before your opening service. If your opening service is schedule for Sept. 15, have preview services on June 15, July 15 and August 15.

Preview services enable you to get people excited about the plant. Preview services enable you to work out the kinks in the service planning, sound, etc. Preview services also allow you to grow the number of people who attend services before the first service.


It is possible to use Twitter/Facebook to get to know people and invite them to your church plant. A blog can play into this as well because it allows people to learn more about the church plant before they get there.

Newspaper, radio, billboards and television are usually too expensive and hit too broad of an audience to work. In some ethnic communities, newspapers and radio could be exceptions. There could be a few situations, where these avenues would work, but only sparingly.

‘I want to remind you that you can do everything right and you can build a church that is a monument to yourself. Or you can trust God and build a church that is glorifying to Him. Tools for church planting are useless without the Lord of church planting.’

Are you ready to become a pastor, counselor, or church leader who is Trusted for Truth?

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Classes begin in June & Aug.