Green Horn Pastors: What to Expect in Your First Church Plant

by | May 26, 2023 | Church Leadership, Church Planting, Coaching | 4 comments

Starting a church is perhaps one of the most exciting experiences new pastors can have. However, while the prospect of leading a congregation and spreading the message of Christ can be exciting, church planting is a daunting task loaded with many snags, misunderstandings, and limitations. For all those “greenhorn” pastors planning to plant a church for the first time, this post mainly talks about what you can expect and things to consider in your start-up phase of the church plant.


Lay a Solid Foundation – it Matters More than you may think.


Lay the foundation: The church’s first stages can be a taxing and even frustrating time for greenhorn pastors. However, you’ll need to remember and often explain that a church plant’s initial months (and possibly early years) are mainly a time of building a solid foundation. To build healthy and thriving church plants, you must focus on the foundational principles of faith, prayer, and worship. Remember, we are called to make disciples!

Be prayerful and seek counsel when selecting such things as a church model, choosing a name that effectively represents your message, defining your core values, and creating a dynamic vision that people can rally around.


External and Internal Communication


Optimize external communication:  Outward communication is critical for church planting. Fortunately, today’s world provides various platforms for pastors and church planters to communicate their message efficiently and accurately. You must have an in-depth understanding of social media platforms and other digital communication tools. Not only would such skills help you connect with other pastors and planters in your area, but they’ll also help you engage with your church community in a personalized, direct manner that fosters a sense of relationship and trust.

Internal communication is even more important in the life of a church. Communicating with volunteers and staff is critical. We use Microsoft Teams for church plants in the USA. This is a free resource that allows messaging (individually and in groupings) and sharing of resources – files, photos, videos, etc.


Leverage your Resources: 


As a new pastor, your resources might be limited. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t start your church with impact. Obtaining support, strategic missional partners, and mentorships are excellent means of leveraging the power and knowledge of your community to create a more profound effect. 

You should also contract the service of a church planting expert or consultant because they offer immense wisdom they’ve acquired through experience and exposure to similar scenarios.


Navigating Accountability: 


As the leader of a new church, being accountable to a spiritual covering – whether a denomination, network or a team of advisors is essential. Some of the things you should assume responsibility for include fiscal responsibility, legal compliance, and a clear mission and vision statement.

Accountability is needed to ensure the church accomplishes its mission transparently and unambiguously.

A mentor or spiritual father may also be a source of accountability. This type of relationship allows new pastors to share their deepest concerns and thoughts with someone they trust and respect. Mentors and spiritual parents are concerned for your church plant but also for you and your family. 


Navigating Failure: 


Once you lay your foundation, optimize communication, leverage your resources, and establish accountability, everything will likely come into place. However, sometimes things take an unexpected turn, and not everything will go according to plan. It’s critical to remember that failure is inevitable, and it typically points the way toward growth and improvement. When (not if) failure happens, learn from it and be willing to suitably adapt and refine your strategies to get back on track.

Please don’t dwell on failures; seek to navigate them, or your health and wellness can suffer. How you deal with stress is the same way you deal with failures. Consider getting away for some time, listening to praise and worship, and calling your coach, mentor, or trusted friend. After doing this – I pray you are refreshed and ready to jump back into this adventure called church planting.




Church planting can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It also requires a lot of thought, planning, and flexibility. As a greenhorn pastor, you should prepare to face challenges, navigate tricky waters, and adapt to change. Keep in mind that with the proper foundation, communication, resources, accountability, and systems, your church will undoubtedly grow and flourish. So stay the course, keep learning, and relentlessly pursue your vision of creating an authentic Christian community where God’s presence can thrive and change lives.


Read More Blog Posts by Dr Jeff Hoglen

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