Importance of Process in Church Planting (Dr. John Joseph)
Pastor Priji interviews Dr. John Joseph on the importance of going through a process of church planting.
Dr. John Joseph is the senior pastor of the World Impact Community church in Trivandrum and also the President of TROTB Ministries which trains and disciples young ministers.
Pastor Priji: What is the greatest advice you would give to a young planter or someone who has a vision to plant a church? What is the first thing they should or should not do before hurrying into it?
Dr. John: First, check if you have the motivation. You need to dedicate at least 20 years of your life to your vision. Church takes effort and commitment. It’s not like starting a small fellowship or building a brand. Being a pastor is a grace – you need to be a shepherd, you need to love people, invest your emotions and effort. Find out if you are called to be a pastor.
Second, find out if you heard from the Lord. You will be tempted to leave the ministry many times so check if you have God’s voice on your heart.
Third, location matters. Is this the location that God wants you to be in? Are you ready for the environment and lifestyle of the place? Do a mission trip to the region and see what it’s like.
Spend time in a pastoral ministry and serve and grow there. This will help you plant your own church.
Pastor Priji: Once I plant a church, how can I put a system in place in the beginning stages to stop myself from being burnt out, especially when people are less and there are no funds?
Dr. John: Church planters should realize that people don’t come to a church service unless you have a huge product. Different churches have different products. You need to know what your strength is. It may be worship music, it may be the pastor’s preaching, it may be the pastoral care the pastor gives which gives people a sense of belonging – What is the strength God has given you?
Focus on having an extremely good church service. Find out how the worship and message can be excellent so that people coming in get the maximum out of the service.
To avoid burnout: Don’t try to deliver the butterfly out of the cocoon before its time. Let the butterfly take its time to grow. When we started our church, I did everything from preaching to worshipping and my baby daughter served as an usher. Eventually we started looking for FAT (Faithful, Available and Teachable) people. Begin there. Pastors should keep their eyes open to see who can volunteer. Bring them into specific areas like accounts, sounds, cleaning, ushering, and hospitality and give them the power to do their responsibility. Jesus did not wait for people to come to Him, He went to people and said follow me. Go to people and tell them you would love for them to help out in a particular area. If they are not available full time, ask for 2 hours a week.
Pastor Priji: On the way here you mentioned the qualities (the 4 Cs) you look for in the people you have as part of your team. Can you expound on that?
Dr. John: The 4 Cs is from Bill Hybels:
- Character – Does this person have the character to handle the ministry?
- Competence – Is he good at that zone we are trying to get him to fill? It’s important to put the right person in the right seat. At least look for the potential and train them.
- Chemistry – If they have a bad chemistry, they will leave a trail of causalities on their way.
- Culture – You need to constantly impart culture and look for someone who catches your heart and the culture of your ministry. If they don’t fit into the culture, they cannot be on your leadership team.
Pastor Priji: Every ministry has a challenge around finances, especially in the initial phase. Could you give a word of advice on how to manage finances?
Dr. John: If you are starting off, start with small equipment in a small space. Your pastoral care is enough to bring people in. If you have it in you to build them to be men and women of God, they will honor you. Learn, listen, pray and love people all you can. If you don’t have money to get through the month, I suggest to take up a job or work under a ministry that’s willing to fund your initial salary.
Budget wisely. Don’t spend money on things you don’t need to try to build your church and impress others or prove something.
Prayer (Dr. John): Thank you for all these wonderful people who are listening. Thank you for their heart for ministry. I pray in Jesus name to stir the gift that is inside of them. Whatever the gift – pastoral, teaching, leadership, encouragement, prophetic – stir in such a way that they would be used by You. Pour into their lives and make them so secure in Your love that they would have nothing to prove to anybody and would just follow the voice of God. In Jesus name, Amen.
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