Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

A New Series I Want to Start – Let me Know if You Have an Interest

Yellow ribbon

Originally uploaded by Katarina 2353

So lately I have connected with a number of people who are seeking God about starting new churches. They have asked me a lot of questions about what they should think, do or read. They are in the process of discerning if this is something God wants them to do. So my thought was to do a series entitled “Church Planting 101: So You Want to Start a Church?”

I was looking to devote a bit of time doing this, if it is something that others think they might benefit from. So I wanted to get a sense if this was something that those of you who read this blog would like to hear. If so, please let me know. Also, if you have any particular questions that you would want me to answer in this series on Church Planting, let me know that as well.

If it seems that people have an interest in this series, then I will ponder this topic this week and start the series next week. So let me know through your comments if this is something you would find helpful for you or others that you know. Having planted a number of churches as well as being involved in coaching a number of church planters, this would be something that I would enjoy doing.  Be sure to let me know some questions you are wrestling through.

33 Responses to A New Series I Want to Start – Let me Know if You Have an Interest

  1. Hey JR!

    Thank you for your consideration. i read this post and think, This is the man who is doing what his heart is after!
    And i love your attitude!!!
    i have so many unanswered questions about church! Even questions like “Why church?”
    if you write about church panning here, i will read it. And more than the mechanics of How-To it will be very interesting to find out Why and What For.
    i think church planning begins at home, and right now i am looking for motivation and a conviction that would make all of those efforts worth it.

    Marian Rakovich

  2. Esther says:

    Definitely interested in reading your thoughts on this!

  3. Jeff Ammons says:

    Ciao JR!

    It has been awhile since we first met at VT but I have enjoyed keeping up with you through your blog. Kristin and I are now living in Rome and we would be interested in hearing your thoughts about starting churches.

  4. As a new church planting pastor, I would be interested in this.


  5. Would love for you to put some time into this!

  6. jrwoodward says:


    Thanks for your questions. I’m glad that you are even asking the most simply question: Why Church? Your other questions are helpful to, as I think about how to approach this topic.

    Esther, Jeff, Jamie and Nathan,

    Thanks for taking the time to reply and let me know your interest.

  7. There are some great resources out there already, but one thing they all lack (at least the ones I am familiar with) is (1) Church planting is hard, (2) Church planting is very hard, and (3) Church planting is the hardest thing you will ever do.

    In many ways church planting has become “sexy.” An unintended consequence of the re-focus on church planting is that many who begin have not been prepared for the challenges. Potential church planters need to first of all answer the question, “Is there anything else you would rather do?” If their answer is yes, then they need to do it and not plant a church.

  8. PJ Tibayan says:

    I’d love to read your thoughts on this. Here are some questions: what makes a church a church as opposed to Christians being friends (like you and me)? When does a church plant become a church? What are some measurements/criteria you use to assess the health/success of a church?

    Thanks brother!

    In Christ alone,

  9. jrwoodward says:


    Thanks for addressing that issue, I want to talk about how difficult it is emotionally, spiritually, financially, relationally etc. So thanks for those thoughts. That is helpful.


    Great questions as well. Thanks for giving me some stuff to think about and include.

  10. Pastor Doug says:

    As always, your content is thought provoking, encouraging and inspiring… would love to hear what your thoughts are on church planting!

  11. JT Caldwell says:

    Yes! Definitely interested in the possible series. I’ll be thinking of questions, and will put them forth to you.

    Thanks for your eagerness to begin this much needed 101 series!

    grace & peace,
    jt caldwell

  12. Dustin says:

    I think this would be a really great series and well worth your time. I would ask – what should a church planter expect to face no matter what context they are working in? Or is this question irrelevant because church planting is so context-driven?

    Wisdom to you,

  13. jrwoodward says:


    Thanks for the encouragment and let me know if you have any specific things you would like me to address.


    Please send some questions or areas you want me to address during the series.


    Great. While church planting is context driven, there are many things that every church planter needs to think about and consider, but it is important that context be a major one. Thanks for your affirmation on going on with the series.

  14. Jason Coker says:

    I would love to see your thoughts on this topic JR. I’ve been exposed to tons of church planting resources, but they’re never terribly helpful to me because they presuppose an end goal that I do not share; namely, the establishment of a professionally-led, attractional institution.

    So here’s my question: What are the unique skills and practices critical to a missional church planter whose goal is a non-professional, decentralized community of faith?

  15. jrwoodward says:


    That is a great question and an important topic to look at in our postchristian society. Thanks for articulating it.

  16. Chris Marlow says:

    Good stuff bro,

    As a former planter of two churches, I think my question is this: what does success look like? Why do we plant churches? And, if we plant churches the wrong way, do we understand, that we can have a negative impact on the Kingdom?

    I keep meeting so many pastors, who start churches, spend lots of time and cash, and yet, they don’t see the most basic fruit: salvations, baptisms, disciples being raised-up, etc! (by no means am I saying this is easy, it’s easy)

    I would love to hear your thoughts, not sure if you share these concerns or not.

    Peace bro!

  17. john says:


    @dreamawakener how about the importance and role of discernment/listening for people above the model/plan emphasis?

  18. Kevin Armstrong says:

    Hey JR,
    This sounds like a great topic to hear from you on. I’m interested in how you prepare for such a radically different culture. Going from Blacksburg to LA must have been a huge transition. How did you make this transition? Did you just get over your head and then survive? Thanks in advance for taking time on this…


  19. Josh says:

    Sounds like a great series! I’m interested in Church planting in the midst of Mega-churches. When is it time to plant vs be transformed in current community?

  20. Laura says:

    Hey JR,
    Definately interested. I’d really like to have some discussion about women in the role of church planter. How is it different than what the guys are doing? Or is it?
    Definately interested in the subject Jason brought up about how to start missional communities as opposed to traditional professionally led churches as well.

  21. Ben says:

    JR, thanks for wanting to share your wisdom with us. There are so many questions I have for you. I feel like most of mine are more practical/practitioner questions as apposed to theological ones. I saw that some of the previous comments asked some of those questions and I am excited to see your thoughts on all of this stuff.
    Here are some of my initial questions.
    1. how big of a core team should we start with?
    2. what network or denomination should we partner with?
    3. who funds church plants?
    4. church vision? it would seem that it would be important for the local community to influence the type of church structure you have; so how do you fund-raise when you realistically have no idea what the church will look like until you spend time in the city?
    5. how long should one plan for prep work and fund-raising?
    6. should the church planter have an advisory board/finance board? or will a network offer that structure?

    I could go on and on, but will stop and see where you head with your writing before I ask more questions. ha

  22. jrwoodward says:

    Kevin and Josh

    Thanks for your questions.


    Love your question, one of the most missional church planters that I coach is a woman, so I look forward to talking about that topic as well as hitting Jason’s topic.


    You are full of good questions. Thanks for laying a few of the practicals out there.

  23. jason says:

    for sure!!!

  24. Carlo says:

    Count me in too. I’d be interesting in your views on natural/organic/letting church just emerge out of culture and balancing that against the need for the planters’ own vision/structure and form of organisation….

  25. greg says:

    i honestly wonder if more church plants are what cities truly need? do you feel it important to redefine what we mean by ‘church plants? knowing that most start with a desire to be ‘organic’, and yet within the 5 year mark the organic qualities slowly fade and the desire for stability/maintaining begin to root which can cause the adventure to cease and the consumptive formulas to sneak in the back door. thoughts?
    how long did you and others you consult ‘listen’ to the city before ‘planting’? or was ‘planting already in process while listening was happening? Is listening important and how do you invite people into that process? when should a church plant re-birth itself?
    these are just a few…

  26. sonja says:

    I might be totally off here but have you not shared a lot about churches and being missional before or is this a whole other subject?

  27. jrwoodward says:

    Jason and Carlo,

    Glad you are interested and that is an important theme to address Carlo.


    Great questions. I trust I will address some of that.


    Of course I talk about missional churches all the time, but this particular series I will be addressing starting churches and what to be thinking about and do in that process.

  28. Esther says:

    How do you maintain a unified vision while empowering people to freely use their gifts?
    I am interested in hearing more about women in the church planting role. I have come across a few women in this role through blogs but none that are church planters as well as mothers.
    What kind of commitment do you ask for from the core group planting?
    What types of questions need to be discussed with a core group before even journeying together towards a church plant?

  29. Laura says:

    Thought of another question…

    How do you find a “core group” in the first place?
    Say you move to a new town and you want to start a church there eventually, then what?
    It seems like it’s one thing to start a church plant if you are an “outreach” from a local church, where your friends attend and can support you, and another thing altogether if you are having to fly a bit solo.

  30. Pingback: Dream Awakener » A Series of Post for Church Planters – An Update

  31. Brad Brisco says:

    Hey JR, I would like to hear your thoughts on two issues:

    1. The need for new measurables/scorecards for church planting “success.” This would of course be a good topic for all churches but I deal mainly with new churches and this is a constant topic of discussion. It seems we need to focus on more long-term qualitative outcomes/measurables, rather than the typical short-term qualitative issues. I would to hear your thoughts on this.

    2. I really believe we need a new matrix for church planters (at least in my tribe) that moves beyond the typical “7 Steps” that conclude with the “launch.” I have been doing a bit of thinking/writing on the necessity of focusing more on areas such as: prayer strategy (for the local context), city strategy (learning the sectors/elements of the city), relational strategy (how can the planter best build relationships in the local context? job? neighborhood? volunteerism? hobbies?), formation strategy, transformation strategy (where is God already working? how to build partnerships with existing entities?) Does that make sense? How do we best frame a new church planting “matrix/model” that speaks more clearly or appropriately to planting missional communities?

  32. Brad Brisco says:

    Oops, on #1 I meant to say “the typical short-term QUANTITATIVE issues”

  33. Pingback: Dream Awakener » A Series for Church Planters – Further Update

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.