Monday, July 12, 2010

Basics of Church Planting: Attracting a Crowd To Monthly Services- Part 1

Over the next four weeks I'm going to do a series on launching a church and attracting a crowd to your monthly services when you are starting from scratch. I originally did this for a blog by Nelson Searcy and Church Leader Insights so I thought I'd share it here as well.

Attracting a Crowd To Monthly Services- Part 1
“Building a Launch Team”

by Andy Wood

My wife Stacie and I, and two other couples moved from Dallas and South Carolina to the Silicon Valley in August of 2008. Our goal was to successfully launch South Bay Church by February of 2009. The Silicon Valley has seen many failed church plants, so we knew a healthy launch would require a miracle from God and a lot of hard work! Our daily prayer was, “God please give us at least 150 people at our Grand Opening Service.”

Given the fact that we had 10 on our team (including dogs and kids) we were just 140 shy of that goal. We quickly discovered that the development of a healthy externally focused Launch Team would be one of the keys to reaching our prayer goal. Many days I would prayer walk through our community with such a heavy heart as I realized that 95% of these people were heading towards eternity apart from Christ.

As we sought God for a healthy launch, I was challenged to pray, “Father just give us 50 people from this community for our Launch Team, you raised Jesus from the dead in three days and this is nothing for you!”

Over the next 6 months we coupled our prayers with hard work and execution. We got moving… serving at local city events, going door to door in our apartments, and hosting neighborhood cookouts (just about every weekend).

Everyone on our original team had a note card with names of people we were praying for and intentionally inviting to be a part of our Launch Team. We eventually ended up with unchurched, de-churched, and churched from all various walks of life and each had a common thread: a desire to serve and make an impact in our community.

Many planters underestimate the significance of a healthy Launch Team and its correlation to having successful Monthly Services. I thought many times, “If I can’t build a team of 50 people that believe in our vision, how can I lead a church that reaches thousands?”

As our Launch Team grew from 8 people to close to 50 by our Grand Opening, our sphere of relationships increased exponentially. Each Sunday night we gathered for one hour, I cast vision and encouraged people to begin thinking about what friends they would invite to our Monthly Services.

This Launch Team proved to be building block #1 of attracting a crowd to our Monthly Services.

Here are Some Action Steps:

  • Come up with 3 creative ways to meet people in your community.
  • Challenge everyone on your team to build a list of 10 people they are investing in and inviting to be a part of your Launch Team.
  • Pray that God would give you 50 people to be a part of your Launch Team.

In next week’s post I’ll write about how to mobilize your Launch Team to bring their friends to your Monthly Services.