Church planting comes with a fair amount of obstacles. One of the most common excuses for not planting a church is the fear of failure.
Sad to say, this fear is not entirely unfounded. Various studies attest that church plants typically fail, and only a few ever have over 100 people in attendance. However, while these statistics are accurate, it does not mean that church planting is an impossible task. In this post, we will explore why church plants usually fail and what church planters and their team can do to overcome these challenges.
Reasons Church Plants Fail
Estimates vary between 50%-80% of new churches will close within their first five years.
First, a lack of financial support is one of the primary reasons for church plants’ failures. Starting a new church is an expensive endeavor. Without enough funding, the church will not get past the first few months of operation.
Second, a church plant that fails to engage with the local community and whose leaders are not actively involved in the church’s growth will not experience significant progress. Third, the absence of a clear vision and mission for the church will also contribute to the church plant’s failure.
A church that does not clearly understand what it wants to accomplish and fails to plan accordingly will typically fall short of effectiveness goals.
Another reason church plants fail is due to what I call; – Copy Cat Syndrome. Church plants need to stop copying the other church plants they admire. Question: Why would God call you to plant a church exactly like the church down the road? I believe there are various church “flavors,” if you will, that appeal to various groups. God has called you to be unique. Therefore, God has called your church plant to be unique as well.
Enough of the negative because there is good news with regard to church planting!
Training and Coaching Helps to Reduce Failure Rates
Now, let us look at the good news. There are ways to overcome the challenges faced by church plants. While it is true that church plants fail more than they succeed, the success rate dramatically increases when new churches take advantage of training and coaching from experienced church planters. According to some studies, church plants that enroll in coaching and training programs have a higher success rate. These programs provide aspiring church planters with practical knowledge and skills that will help them plan and launch a thriving church.
Planning and Clarity
Effective planning is critical to the success of any church plant. Planning involves:
- The identification of the target location.
- The determination of the church’s purpose.
- The creation of a compelling vision and mission statement.
Once a church clearly understands its objectives, it is easier for its members to work towards them and help attract more people to the church. The involvement of the local community in the planning process is also vital. Listen to their needs, and try to address them. Connect with community organizations that share your values and beliefs. These groups can serve as a support system as the church plant grows and help spread the word about the new church.
Leadership and Accountability
Third, effective leadership and accountability are essential to a life-giving church plant. A church plant’s leaders must understand and embody the church’s values and mission, and be active in the community.
However, leadership is not just about the leader’s role within the church—it is essential to have an accountable leadership team that can help guide the church plant, make important decisions, and ensure that the church stays on track. Accountability and spiritual covering can come from a denomination, local association, or church planting network.
Church leaders must not let the fear of failure hold them back from fulfilling their mission of spreading the word of God. On the contrary, with the right strategies and support system, church planting can become a fruitful endeavor that makes a difference in the lives of many people.