Ralph Moore is the founder of the Hope Chapel movement, which has planted over 700 churches (as of 2002). He is convinced that church multiplication is the best way to grow the Kingdom of God. One U.S. denomination found that 80% of new Christians in the denomination were saved in a church less than two years old. Furthermore, one church is limited in the number of people that it can reach. By starting a church multiplication movement, Moore has impacted many more people than he could possibly reach on his own. The true fruit of an apple tree is not an apple, but an orchard.
Churches beget churches and Christians beget Christians. A new church needs to have a parent church in order for it to thrive. The parent church will likely provide some funding and people; Moore recommends decreasing levels of funding for six months after launch and about 20 - 25 people.
After you have the vision for your church, it is time to start planning. Planning is just as important as revelation from the Holy Spirit, so do it well. Find an area and a target population that needs a new church. Find an unmet need for your church to meet, and something that distinguishes your church from all the other churches around. Singles, for example are a demographic that is often not well-served by the church. (Additionally, they have available time and money that families do not have, plus there is no need for children’s programs.) Research the area and do a demographic study. Decide on the core values of your church. Let ideas simmer for a while, then create a plan, and ask the hard questions of “will this actually work?”
You need a team, so ask permission from the parent church first, by thanking them for how they have served you, communicating your vision, and asking for their partnership. Let the Holy Spirit bring the people to you; active recruiting is difficult because we do not actually know what we need. Also, be aware that you are likely to have two teams: a prayer team that stays back and a core team that goes. Start meeting with your team about five months before launch, with the purpose of turning them into disciple-makers. The first priority of a leader is to find and train an apprentice who will eventually replace the leader, who then goes on to find another need to fill. When you assign responsibility to a leader, give them the authority it recruit their helpers. You trust the person you appointed, so trust who they appoint. This way recruitment happens at the edges of the structure, which makes it a lot easier, and lets your leaders build their own team. After you launch give a gift of some sort back to the parent church to help foster partnership.
Developing a prayer team before you start is important because you will be a target for the enemy. While there are always problems in life, if you find problems piling on top of each other, it is likely a spiritual attack, which your prayer team will help prevent. After you launch, it helps to have add a prayer team. You can share crises and financial difficulties with the local team without broadcasting it far and wide or panicking the congregation.
Design two budgets: an operations budget with ongoing expenses and an opportunities budget with one-time costs. Do everything you can to keep the operations budget small: consider being bivocational, rent meeting space instead of buy, work from home and meet in coffee shops to avoid the expense of an office. The large expenses from the expectation of a pastor’s salary, a building mortgage, and office space make starting a church in North America prohibitive; by ruthlessly eliminating expenses you can plant churches easier and more reproducibly. Minimizing ongoing expenses frees up funds to be used for outreach opportunities and one-time expenses like sound equipment. Maximize funds for advertisement to make people aware of your church: a church that starts large has momentum.
Consider being a bivocational church planter. While there are disadvantages in that people often do not consider a bivocational pastor to be a “real pastor,” there are a lot of advantages. You can do work you love, you have a natural pool of non-Christians to witness to, you can bring more money to your family than a church planter’s salary usually provides, you can plant a church in areas that would not otherwise be viable due to costs (rural areas, overseas), and you demonstrate a church planting model that is much more easily reproducible. If you decide to be bivocational, be sure to schedule family time in to your schedule. Do a Sunday school teacher’s worth of work each week for the church, but you will not have bandwidth for much more than that.
Likewise, rent your initial space. A building limits your thinking and constrains your budget. Renting space gives you flexibility, and it also provides an easy entryway for people to start serving in the church even from the first Sunday: stacking chairs after the service. Look at your rental contract as a gift from God, and go the extra mile for your landlord. The first mile is rent; go the second mile by looking for areas of need that your church can help out with. You might be able to give to your landlord by doing some landscaping, or if you are meeting in a school by painting classrooms, helping the school get ready for the new school year, or tutoring children. Not only will you build a great relationship with your landlord, you will be serving your community as well.
You need to create structure that is flexible enough to grow. There are two aspects to this: mentoring apprentices to multiply leadership (described earlier) and providing a smooth path towards core membership. Jesus had concentric circles of belonging: Peter, James, and John (3), the rest of the disciples (12), his entourage (120), and the crowds. You need to build a pathway from the crowds to the core c Aggressively create positions until about 80% of the membership is serving in some capacity. Stacking chairs is one possibility, serving as a small group helper is another. You can divide a children’s teacher role into four positions: the teacher, who recruits three helpers, one to do logistics (attendance, cookies, etc.), one to lead crafts, and one to troubleshoot (do one-on-one with rowdy boys, for example). Not only does this lighten the work load for everyone, but it also gives the teacher a pool to recruit a replacement. Plus, people that have a responsibility feel needed, and everyone needs to feel needed. A luncheon for visitors can give an opportunity to meet staff, hear the vision of the church, be introduced to opportunities to serve (about 33% of visitors to Hope Chapel’s luncheon get connected to a ministry), and to find a small group (about 50% join a small group). Moving further into the core happens by invitation from a leader through the mentorship leadership development process. Pastoral staff is recruited from small group leaders who have multiplied at least three groups—this shows that they have pastoral skills, and also demonstrates their faithfulness and commitment to the vision.
Every church will end up with three sizes of groups: cells (3 - 20 people), congregations (20 - 120 people), and celebrations (120+ people). As apprentices become leaders the cells will multiply, and you will find that congregational-sized leaders will spontaneously emerge. These are people to train into your vision, because while a cell-sized group will not affect the direction of the church, a congregational group going off on its own vision can. By making it clear that the vision of the church sets the boundaries, you can give these leaders freedom to be creative within the boundaries of the vision, and you will have all sorts of interesting things that come out of it.
As lead pastor you are responsible for the experience of the celebration. Since we are created to glorify God and enjoy Him, part of the function of the celebration worship needs to be to experience God, through song and liturgy. However, worship is more than just music, fellowship is also part of worship. “Interaction with God through song, liturgy, and teaching sets people up with warm feelings and a servant’s [sic] hearts. Personal interaction with others creates a trailhead toward meaningful ministry. Ministry itself is a form of worship as it gives outlet to spiritual gifts and the love God requires from each person. For this to happen, you need time and space for your congregation to get to know each other.” (182) Moore recommends having three minutes during the celebration service to greet people around them, and he gives them a question to ask each other. Hope Chapel is also intentional about creating spaces for people to interact, by setting up tables for people to gather around and serving free snacks and selling other items. They also strongly recommend members to build a strong friendship with at least one other church member, and to attend a small group.
Teaching is another important aspect of church life and of the celebration service. Moore preaches through the Bible verse by verse starting from the first Sunday, which establishes that the church has a high value for the Bible. He has a two year schedule, starting with Philippians (uplifting), Acts (church life), Romans (theological foundation), and 1 Corinthians (power and love). Be aware of current events, and when you need to address them, do it from the context of responding from a Biblical perspective and work it into the message of your current text. He also recommends teaching regularly (two weekends in a row, once a year) on financial stewardship: it is important to talk about money openly and honestly, and to keep the biblical framework of tithing, whose purpose is to bring food into the storehouses. The principle is that “ministry costs money” (210) and that generosity begets generosity. Moore frequently uses videotaped testimonies (2 minutes) and video skits (4 minutes) as tools for creative illustrations. (He also lets the high schoolers be creative in producing video announcements.)
Membership is best done as an invitation into a large family. Family has benefits, but it also has responsibilities. He asks five questions of prospective members that indicate the commitments of membership: 1) are you in love with Jesus Christ and becoming a member to know him better, 2) do you like and respect the leaders and vision (hard to serve them if you do not), 3) are you willing to spend time with the family, 4) are you financially committed to the family, and 5) will you serve God however he tells you (which does not necessarily mean saying “yes” when a leader asks them to do something).
Moore provides many ideas for bringing people to Sunday services, with sermons on the Christian radio station, bus bench advertisements, and postcards and doorknob hangings to targeted neighborhoods with the demographic you want to reach being some cost-effective ideas. If your marketing and outreachYou will start having more people coming than you know what to do with, so start aggressively creating positions and releasing small group apprentices until about 80% of the church is involved in some ministry. If your leaders sometimes question whether you are going to far, you are probably on the right track. However, do not fill a role just because someone is available; you want people who excited about the vision. “It is easier to tame a monster than to create one.” You should also count parking space utilization and calculate the number of people per car; availability of parking will limit the number of people who attend, even if your space seats more. A good rule of thumb is that people will probably not walk farther than the distance from Walmart’s entrance to its farthest parking space.
Leadership development is your primary responsibility as a leader, and likewise for all the leaders under you. This is essential to leadership; it cannot be delegated. The edges of the organization will be recruiting new leaders and apprenticing them. At the core, you, the senior leader will need to be training your pastoral staff. Every other Tuesday Hope Chapel has “The Pastor Factory” where Moore leads studies on four books a year (read outside of that time) to train his leaders. On the off Tuesdays his leaders run a similar training for their leaders. This is ongoing training; you do not graduate from the factory (unless you plant a church). Build in multiplication from the beginning; multiply before you think you are ready, perhaps around the one year mark. This will ensure that you establish orchard-building DNA from the beginning.
Starting a New Church is a comprehensive and practical guide to starting a church. It is more prescriptive than Stetzer and Im’s Planting Missional Churches, which I like. Moore is also a little more Charismatic, which I like, too, but he keeps a light touch, so even cessationists will find this book a solid and helpful read. This is kind of like an external version of a Hope Chapel church planting manual (if such a thing exists)—Moore gives concrete recommendations with the reasoning behind them, sometimes accompanied with a story of what happened when he did it a different way. While Moore has only planted two churches himself, he has fathered a large number of churches in Hawaii which started a huge movement, so his recommendations draw on that breadth of experience.
My only complaint about the book is the publisher. Baker Group seems to be printing by photographic reproduction of an inkjet manuscript—you can see where the bottom of the page shifts over by a pixel in the middle of the line. It’s not like laser printers are expensive, and for $19, inkjet quality is simply unacceptable. The content is great, but the publisher is clearly not providing any value.
Aside from the unacceptable typography, this book is a great guide to starting a church. Moore’s practical guidelines and warnings will save you from learning the hard way. He provides enough theory, strategy, ideas, and recommendations to take anyone from God’s call to a thriving church.
Ch. 1: Calling: Why I Plant Churches
- I plant churches because it is the most effective way to reach non-Christians. It is hard for one person to evangelize 1,000 people, but quite doable for several churches to reach that many.
Ch. 2: Mission: Why Should You Plant a Church?
- More effective: One U.S. denomination found that 80% of its new Christians were saved in a church less than two years old.
- Reach the next generation better: older churches have tradition, history, and older members weighing them down and making it hard to transition to a new way of doing things. A new church starts fresh, and usually with young leadership, who is used to the new way.
- Reaches cross-culturally and cross-socioeconomically: we hang out with people like us (non-Christians, too); a new church plant can reach out more effectively to people who are different from us.
- New churches are more open to new ways of the Holy Spirit: they don’t have baggage from the old ways.
Ch. 3: Assignment: Are You Ready to Plant a Church?
- Need to be flexible: what happens if the facilities you’ve agreed on suddenly backed out two weeks before your first service.
- Need to be innovative: your church needs to differentiate itself from all the other churches.
- What are we trying to accomplish? (34)
- What is the best way to do it? (34)
- Need to have some history of building leadership.
- Need to be compelled by vision.
- Need to have followers
- Need to be persistent.
- Good church planters tend to be well-read. “Some of my best church-growth ideas have come from secular history and science texts.” (39)
Ch. 4: Guidance: Do You Know Where You Are Going and Why?
- “I firmly believe every new church must be a product of the Holy Spirit’s design and the surrendered life of an individual.” (42) Part of this process is revelation from the Holy Spirit.
- Planning after you receive the revelation is just as important as the revelation. Do some research and the let the ideas simmer for a while.
- Eph 4:10-13: the purpose of leadership (and the church) is not to care for members but to train them to serve others.
- Make sure your spouse agrees that your vision is from God! You both need to be on board if you are to overcome the challenges.
- I think God gives us a lot of choice in where to start a church.
- Target somewhere with a real need for churches (rural New England and NYC are ripe).
- I use the Acts 2:42-47 cell church model: large meeting in the Temple for teaching the Word of God, then discussing it and training leaders in the home.
- Come up with a plan, then ask if it will really work. Ask the hard questions (like, what do you do if the target group is really small? What does a church look like with families than have 2.5 jobs?)
- Paul did three things in every city: preached, made disciples, appointed leaders.
Ch. 5: Support: Where Should You Go for Help?
- Ideally, churches birth churches. So building a church from scratch with no connections is not the ideal.
- The mother church should mentor the planter-pastor for the first year. It does not need to be an every week thing, but a scouting trip together and a couple trips for encouragement post-launch are helpful.
- Hope Chapel has the board of the parent church be the board of the daughter for the first year; this helps the new church identify new leadership and not elevate people who have an agenda.
- The mother church can let go earlier than it might think. Paul and Barnabas preached for two Sabbaths in Antioch before they were expelled, then revisited a few months later and appointed leaders!
- Assume that denominational leaders want to help you succeed. Work with them, and build trust—this will allow you flexibility with the rules, and give them opportunity to defend you.
- A wealthy businessperson who wants to fund everything is great, but you need to make the ground rules very clear at the beginning. Those types of people generally have an idea of how things should run, and it may not be biblical, but if they are your sole source of income, that is a powerful pressure force.
Ch. 6: Values: How Should They Drive Your Plan?
- Write down your core values and the the issues that are important to you.
- What do you want people to say about your church?
- Instead of asking God what He wants you to do (which produces a pastor-centric church), ask what God wants to do in your area.
- Find a need and fill it. This will keep you always relevant.
- Statement of purpose: no more than 15 words stating why you exist; it summarizes your values. This becomes your slogan that you use everywhere.
- Statement of vision/mission: no more than 50 words stating what you will accomplish in your first ten years. “Plant enough churches to include 1% of the population of Hawaii in the first 10 years.” (74)
Ch. 7: Team: Who Will Meet With You?
- If you want to start a church, you need a team, especially one that prays with you, to support you.
- Get permission from your parent church. Communicate that you are thankful for how they have built you up, your vision for the target group, and ask for their permission. Make sure to constantly communicate your loyalty to the parent church throughout the process.
- Let God bring your team. We don’t know who we should be recruiting, and it’s God’s church.
- Start meeting with your team about five months before the launch. Your goal is to turn them into disciple makers—people that train up their replacement and then look for a new need to fill.
- “When you assign responsibility for a task, [be sure to also] give the person authority to recruit onto their team others of like passion.” (83) Allowing the edges of the organization to recruit makes the task much easier, because the surface area of the edge’s network is much larger, plus you don’t have to do the work.
- Give something back to the parent church in some form—this helps form a partnership.
- Be careful about taking over an existing small congregation or failed church plant. State your philosophy and non-negotiables firmly, and let them decide if they want you. Do not change anything for six months (you might even want to announce that), then preach on and train people in your values. You will probably get ideas bubbling up from people, so enable them to implement their ideas.
Ch. 8: Proposal: What Should You Consider Before Asking for Money?
- Keep two budgets: an operations budget and an opportunities budget. The opportunities budget is for outreach, advertising, and one-time costs (e.g. sound system).
- Ruthlessly minimize your operations budget! Rent meeting space, use technology (e.g. a private web site for sharing files), hold face-to-face meetings in coffeehouses instead of renting office space, etc. This enables you to spend your money on opportunities (outreach), which will enable you to grow.
- As planning progresses, create revisions of your budget. When it is finalized, add a donation envelope so the budget can double as fund-raising.
- You will probably get funding from your denomination, your parent church, your core team, your friends, and the new congregation. Treat funds outside the congregation as one-time gifts.
- Core team should start tithing to the plant starting about five months from the launch date. This weans the mother church off their tithes.
- The mother church should quickly decrease funding so the plant doesn’t begin thinking of it as an entitlement. Recommends 100% funding the first month after launch, 90% funding the second month, down to nothing after the sixth month. They have never had a problem with daughter churches not being self-funded, and this provides incentive for the new pastor to preach on tithes and stewardship.
Ch. 9: Salary: Should You Be a Bivocational Pastor?
- Three large costs reduce the ability of North American churches to multiply: the need for a pastor to have a seminary education, the need for a building, and the need for pastors to have a full-time salary.
- “[S]pecialization and increased education have not produced a measurably better product in medicine, law, education, and religion” (104, quoting Lyle Schaller, It’s a Different World.)
- Moore’s experience in sending three people to seminary before planting a church was that all finished, one came back into ministry, one did not, and one left the faith. Sending people to seminary while they are in ministry has been more fruitful.
- These three costs can be eliminated by training prospective pastors in the church, renting meeting space, and with bivocational pastors.
- When these three have been eliminated in a church planting movement, the movement often experiences rapid growth.
- Bivocational pastors are often seen as not as legitimate as full-time pastors, but the Bible has many examples: Amos (fig farmer), Paul (tentmaker). Rabbi Hillel founded a famous rabbinical school but worked a secular job.
- Less time for ministry: keep your time commitment to the church at about the level of a Sunday school teacher. This will leave time for your family, and also force you to delegate. As your church grows larger, you will want to put family times in your schedule so people will know you are not free. Be firm in not meeting with people during family time unless it is a true emergency.
- Enables smaller churches in an area that is not densely populated.
- Built-in opportunities for evangelism.
- More money for the pastor’s family.
- You can continue in a career you enjoy.
Ch. 10: Buildings: Where Should You Meet?
- Advantages of not having a building
- Buildings limit your thinking. If you have a small building, you think small.
- It forces you to look at your location as temporary (which you should always do).
- You don’t have a large mortgage early on in your church’s history.
- No distractions about finding a building.
- People don’t get huge expectations of your polished service and programs when you are in an obviously temporary location.
- The setup and teardown provide an easy way for people (even non-Christians) to serve.
- Don’t get your own office; offices are the second-highest expense after a building. If you must have an office, rent a desk from a business with extra (realtors are a good bet, because the industry has ups and downs, so during a down they will have extra space).
- Look for a site with good access, lots of parking, is at least twice the size of your regular attendance, and is a building with “soul.”
- Note that you can easily “double” your space by adding a second service.
Ch. 11: Necessary Relationships: How to Plan What You May Not Understand
- It is really important to get along with your landlord!
- Designate one person to communicate with the landlord, and request the same. Always go through these two people; this minimizes miscommunication.
- View your rental contract as a gift from God. The people who have to deal with you (janitors, etc.) may not get any financial benefit from the money you pay.
- Go the extra mile: the rent is the first mile. Look for ways to beautify the property (propose it first, of course). Hope Chapel spent 14 years in a public school, and cleaned graffiti, painted classrooms and the cafeteria every year, cleaned up classrooms the week before school started, tutored kids, and partnered with the school and the community. The school district loved them, and they still tutor kids today.
- Giving the janitors and admin assistants cookies is a great way to make friends.
- Do finances well; make a 501(c)(3) corporation.
- Maintain a partnership with your parent church! Dysfunction with your parents begets dysfunction with your children.
- View your denomination as friends/family rather than a spiritual entity. This makes it easier to disagree and still remain loyal.
- Partner with people and groups in your city that have a similar vision. Don’t spread yourself thin by partnering with those that are going in a different (even if good) direction.
- Build a prayer team!
Ch 12: Kickoff: Steps You Can Take Toward Gathering a Crowd
- Know who you want to reach and what their demographics are. Are you reaching Gen X? Millenials? Others?
- Singles after college are an under-served group. They also happen to have a lot of free time and available income, and you don’t have to have a great kids program. Pray for them to fall in love, and they will love that you care and you will also get families automatically.
- Serving a specific, unserved demographic helps prevent competition and fosters partnership with other churches. “Competition between churches breeds clones. Partnership among churches fosters creativity and frees congregations from imitating one another.” (146)
- Differentiate yourself. What makes you unique from all the other churches?
- Dale Galloway says that churches that start with less than 200 people rarely grow beyond that. While that is not Hope Chapel’s experience, it is good advice to focus on getting a large crowd on launch day. You can do this with advertising.
- Public access TV is surprisingly effective.
- Moore put a 30 minute sermon on Christian radio with information about the church, with the contact number being a second line to his house. People were pleasantly surprised that the person who did the sermon actually answered the phone.
- Do things that builds a buzz in the gossip network. Moore flew to Hawaii once a month for seven months building a core team on the island. Word got around about a guy flying in to start a church.
- Newspaper ads in the religion section in local papers are effective. The sports section is not. Also, the free local papers are surprisingly effective.
- Postcards ensure that everyone you target touches your message (unlike radio or TV). The postage gets expensive, so target selectively. The people in the immediate area of your church are especially good to mail to. Repeated mailings are helpful—the goal is name recognition.
- Ads on bus benches work great—people think “oh, I’ve heard of them, that church is good” even if they know nothing about it.
- Pre-movie ads in theaters have a surprise value (people don’t expect to see an ad for church before their R-rated movie!)
- Emailing people with a snippet that links to a full article on your website is a good way of making your website active rather than passive.
- Door hangers are cheap, help mobilize your members, and are effective. Put them on target neighborhoods, though; don’t target grandmothers if your church is geared for youth and loud music.
- Bumper stickers on your and members’ cars is a good way of getting into conversations when people ask about them.
- Handing out business card sized info cards by you and your members is good. You can jump start this by doing it yourself and giving testimonies of how it works.
- Moore always preaches from Philippians (verse by verse) the first few weeks, and then goes through Acts. The Philippians teaching establishes the church as Bible-based, and is also good spiritually. Acts touches on many aspects of church life (e.g. discipleship).
Ch. 13: Structure: Can You Build a Church that Flexes As It Grows?
- Acts was not just history, it was written as a training manual, giving strategy. Recommends Acts of the Holy Spirit (C. Peter Wagner).
- Even if the Lord were not “adding to their number daily those who were being saved,” the church after Pentecost would have had to had 8 services in Solomon’s Porch. So their solution was to meet in small groups, house to house.
- Moore’s experience is that people have enjoyed and grown more from small groups that discuss the sermon than from a mid-week prayer meeting. Also, it enables people without a teacher gift to lead a small group. He did leader training on Sunday afternoons, going through books together (read the book outside, discuss/train inside).
- Churches will have three different sized groups: celebration (120+ people), congregation (20 - 120), cell (3 - 20). Congregation-sized leaders will spontaneously emerge, and you need to work with them to harness their creativity and agenda under your vision of the celebration, otherwise the group is big enough that they can disrupt your vision, but it is also big enough to strongly reinforce the vision. (Cell groups are not large enough for a single leader to be disruptive.) Once you have trained them, turn ‘em loose to dream big.
- Let leaders pick their apprentices. Trust their choices because you trust them; only a weak leader has to know the people their people choose.
- “You need to devise a system capable of moving someone from a first-time visitor all the way into the core of your church family.” (171) Rick Warren uses concentric circles. Provide opportunities to move people inward at transition points:
- First-time visitors get a free message and “a packet of spiritual formation goodies” by returning an info form. They get a note from Moore and an invitation to a barbecue. At the barbecue they can meet staff and “hear our history, vision, values, and purpose.” (173) About 33% get moved into entry-level ministry, and about 50% into a small group from this meeting. People who come to Christ get basic spiritual life information, and are invited to an eight week class. Advancing further into the core comes by personal invitation from people on the team (remember that each leader is recruiting their replacement). Small group multiplication provides opportunities for apprentices to move up. Pastors come from small group leaders who have multiplied three times (they know the culture and values, have been faithful and are servants, and have demonstrated pastoral skills).
- Pastoral staff (full and part time) attend a bi-weekly “The Pastor Factory” meeting which studies four books a year, with Moore doing the training. Each of the staff holds a similar event on the off weeks for their leaders. This is continuous; you never graduate.
- “Create as many ministry assignments as you can. Work toward building identifiable positions in your church until 80% of your congregation has a post.” (176)
Ch. 14: Worship: How Will You Create Meaningful Experiences?
- The senior pastor is in charge of worship, even if he can’t carry a tune: the vision for worship (and worship is larger than just music).
- “Postmodern people crave genuineness.” Education, modernism, and technology have failed. “Your members will bring this kind of hunger to your church. They want to trust God because they can feel Him rather than feel Him because they trust Him. Your job is to create the kind of environment where this can happen.” (179)
- The style of worship should match the target audience: Moore’s team ditched their well-developed mainland liturgy and worship songs within weeks for local styles, songs, and leaders. You will help your church thrive if you “delineate acceptable expressions of worship in the context of your local congregation.” For example, is raising your hand okay? Spontaneous praying during quiet reflection? Standing all through worship? Use Scripture as your guide.
- “Glorifying Him is the purpose for everybody’s life whether he or she understands this truth or not. This means that your people had better connect with God enough to enjoy Him during service times.” (180)
- Liturgy can be helpful.
- Fellowship is worship. “Interaction with God through song, liturgy, and teaching sets people up with warm feelings and a servant’s [sic] hearts. Personal interaction with others creates a trailhead toward meaningful ministry. Ministry itself is a form of worship as it gives outlet to spiritual gifts and the love God requires from each person. For this to happen, you need time and space for your congregation to get to know each other.” (182)
- Idea: to help people get to know each other:
- Have a three-minute time in the Sunday service to greet the people next to you; provide a question to ask/answer.
- Create a place to fellowship, even if it is tables under umbrellas. Hope Chapel serves free snacks and other paid items.
- Record a worship CD in your first year (include in budget), but include audience participation while recording. This helps create group ownership.
Ch. 15: Preaching Plan: How Will You Teach People to Live Their Faith?
- “Your teaching strategy should set your vision in the context of New Testament life and evangelism, much like a jeweler would center a fine diamond in a setting of golden splendor.” (187)
- Moore goes through Philippians (healthy attitude), Acts (church life), Romans (theological foundation), 1 Corinthians (love and power) over the course of the first two years.
- Teach from the Bible, not a manuscript. Moore even tells them things to write in their margins.
- Stay current with the news, but address it in the context of the Bible passage you are preaching from. Do not preach political causes; preach everything, including politics, from a biblical perspective.
- Learn history. Your people don’t know it.
- Use testimonies from people in your congregation. Use testimonies from people that have repented from sin. Be open with some of your own failures (as teaching moments); this will help you avoid stepping on the pedestal people want to put you on. Use parables.
- You can include video testimonies (2 minutes) and a video skit (4 minutes) in your celebration services. Let your high schoolers make fun video announcements.
- Put notes into the bulletin—turns it into a teaching tool. Plus, people will re-read it when they go through their collected bulletins in their Bible to throw away.
- Use common pastoral functions as teaching moments:
- Baptisms: preach the gospel briefly, have the person give a testimony of how God has changed their lives, have a non-Christian friend corroborate the change. (These friends almost always end up coming to Christ eventually, because “they could not escape their own description of the power of the gospel.” )
- Communion: have other staff members preside. Take communion in small groups. Reconcile with each other first.
- Baby dedications: the parents and congregation can commit to help raising the child and being genuine.
- Holiday programs: have the children do a special presentation; this brings relatives of the children.
- Pray at community events: give a one minute teaching-context on an issue facing the community and then pray; people will listen to the prayer in that context rather than just a religious thing. Non-Christians have commented to Moore about the impact of his prayer.
Ch. 16: Money: How Can You Enjoy Strong Stewardship?
- “Money problems can cripple a new church. If you have too little it restricts ministry. If you have too much it tends to limit your dependence on the Holy Spirit.” (205)
- Ending your outside funding earlier than planned (and announcing it) helps teach people and reduces dependency.
- Give, even while you are still receiving. Generosity begets generosity.
- Do not beg for money; this tends to reduce people’s motivation. Besides, God is in control; it’s His church.
- Always trust (and speak) that God will provide. Talk about money openly and honestly, and reinforce our stewardship of what He gives us.
- Tithing is in the New Testament, and it was instituted before the Law (i.e. Abraham). The tithe was so the Levites would have food; the principle is “ministry costs money.” (210) Malachi promises that if we tithe God will prosper us. So teach tithing.
- Moore challenges people to try out tithing for three months, and if God isn’t blessing them according to Mal 3:10, quit doing it.
- Moore teaches on tithing/stewardship two successive weeks every year right after tax season. He also lets his biggest donors know when he is teaching on it, so they can pray and be champions.
- Give people tools to manage money well and biblically.
- Involve a lot of people in creating the budget (not in a big meeting, though, have each department decide how to support the year’s vision). When people are involved in deciding what ministry they feel God is leading them to do, they are more invested in funding it.
Ch. 17: Membership: How Can You Leverage Your Vision as a Leadership Tool?
- “If joining a church is like joining a club, postmoderns will not stomach it. They will see it as fraudulent. However, if church membership approximates immersion into a large family, it becomes attractive.” (217-8)
- Family has privileges, but it also has expectations (responsibilities)—you are responsible for doing chores, that is, serving the family.
- “Postmoderns people ... care little about large-scale affiliations [e.g. denominations]. Their loyalties are directed toward people they can know on a personal level, not institutions.” (219)
- Give people a cause larger than their own (“When we subscribe to a cause that is larger than our own lives, it gives us reason to live.”  “True contentment comes from sacrifice.” ).
- Be clear about what your vision is, and let the vision set boundaries for what you will pursue as a church. But within those boundaries, give people the freedom to get creative.
- Keep the vision front and center; measure everything by whether it stands up to the vision.
- When someone steps out of bounds, call it just that, assume that their motives are to serve God and the vision. Thank them for their service, and redirect them to within the vision.
- Five commitments of membership: (225-229)
- Do you love Jesus Christ and acknowledge Him as the Lord of your life and all creation? The primary reason for membership is to grow closer to God.
- Do you respect your church leaders and their vision? Moore asks if they like the leaders. It’s hard to serve someone you don’t like or don’t respect, so counsel them to a different church.
- Are you willing to spend time with the church family? Family takes time; you can’t just attend service. Hope Chapel strongly encourages people to make at least one solid friendship in the church and to join a small group.
- Do you have enough commitment to your church to stand with it financially?
- Are you willing to serve God without restraint? Moore wants people to tell the Holy Spirit that they will do whatever He asks. Note that this does not necessarily mean saying yes to a specific request or leader!
Ch. 18: Foundation: How Can You Ensure a Healthy Start?
- You’ve spent a lot of time and prayer in creating your plans and strategy. Stick with it until you know whether it works; don’t get distracted by a new idea.
- When someone brings a new idea, or a way that another church does it, instead of accepting or rejecting it, teach them to evaluate it by how it fits the vision and needs of your church. “... teach them how to think within the bounds of your philosophy of ministry.” (234)
- Be flexible and cultivate a culture of change. Change is necessary, just make sure it is change for the better.
- Assume that God meets your needs. So whatever you have is probably what you need; get creative. Hope Chapel has eight weekend services because they believe that God gave them enough real-estate, and that’s the only way to accommodate all the people. If you don’t have enough money, assume that God gave you enough and figure out where you are overspending. If you have a leadership need, look at the people God has given you.
- Teach your church to love. “I have come to believe and teach that the way you can estimate the quality of a church is by observing how it treats its weakest member.” (237)
- Ask God for an opportunity to demonstrate love that will set the tone of love. Moore and a friend visited a family that had no stove, so the family ordered from a restaurant. Moore and his friend felt God wanted them to buy the family a stove, and since the church had no money, they bought it personally. Word got out organically, and without any other teaching the church began being generous to each other.
- Keep momentum going. (Expect a drop in attendance the second Sunday, but it will steadily climb after that.)
- You will have so many new people coming it will be a challenge to put them somewhere. “There are, however, at least three remedies. 1) Build an apprenticeship into your leadership structure. 2) Invite apprentices into your training programs. 3) Appoint apprentices as home group leaders at an alarming rate. If your leadership team does not occasionally question your judgment, you are probably moving too slow.” (239)
- When someone has a complaint, consider it direction from God on where to go next, and equip your membership to do the work. Moore usually responds to a complain with, “The reason we are doing such a poor job in this area is because God never spoke to any of us about it, until he spoke to you. Now, what can I do to help you fill this need?” (240)
- Aggressively subdivide jobs. People feel welcome when they feel needed, subdividing the jobs makes the work lighter for everyone, and it creates more of a sense of family. For example, a children’s teacher role can be subdivided into a teacher and three helpers (recruited by the teacher): logistics (attendance, cookies, etc.), crafts, and troubleshooter (e.g. one-on-one time with rowdy boys).
- When you add a service, don’t split the existing service into two; that seriously loses momentum. Instead, start the new service from the ground up. This gives you opportunities to invite people into leadership at the ground level, and it will also give the new service its own character.
- Have people that serve in one service attend a different service to be fed.
- Keep tabs on parking! Count parking spots, count cars, find out how far away people have to park. The distance from Walmart’s entrance to the farthest parking spot is a good maximum of how far people will walk. No matter how big your facility is, you are limited by parking.
- Appoint and hire leaders only if they’ve proven themselves in the role you are placing them into. Do not appoint someone just because they are willing to fill a need.
Ch. 19: Minefields: Will You Survive the First Few Months?
- Discern the difference between spiritual attack and normal stuff going wrong: when everything piles up all at once, it is likely a spiritual attack. Get a team of people praying for you to prevent this, also, heed Eph. 6.
- You will probably get people who think they can gain influence in your smaller church. “If you suspect wrong motives, hold off on giving them any ministry assignments. I even tell church planters to create a six-months-before-service rule. That rule states: We only assign ministry to people who have been involved with us for six months. You only haul out the rule when faced with a suspicious story. In every other case, you make the exception by putting the person to work as soon as possible, even on the first Sunday taking down chairs, as I noted earlier.” (249)
- Don’t counsel people unless recommended by a small group leader. Suggest that someone asking for counsel join a small group, and if they refuse, recommend a profession counselor.
- Do not appoint a board for the first 12 months; you don’t know who is in line with your vision yet. Have the parent church’s board serve as your covering.
- Don’t compete with the government. Equip your members to serve in those areas outside the church.
- Typically small churches are good at evangelism (highly relational) while big churches are good at nurturing Christians. Partnering with a big church is unwise: it won’t help with evangelism, and you’re likely to loose people to the big church. Hope Chapel has even stopped having parent churches partner with new plants doing events, for the same reason: people tend to jump over to the parent church.
- Do not overcooperate: you only have limited resources. And only join a pastor’s group if it actually offers some value to you, and even then, only join one.
- Protect your time with God even from your family. After that, protect your time with your family over ministry. Take time to read and have hobbies. Be a person. The only real emergencies are when someone is in the hospital dying; everything else can wait.
Ch. 20: Multiplication: Can You Begin Life as a Reproducing Church?
- The true fruit of an apple tree is an orchard.
- Mentoring key leaders is your highest priority. You cannot delegate it.
- “I never choose people to work with me if I do not believe they can one day do my job.” (258) Mentoring is too time-consuming to spend with someone who is not a leader.
- Look for people who are passionate. “Expertise does not qualify a person to work on a church staff. Fanaticism does. ... ‘It is always easier to tame a monster than to create one.’” (260)
- Look for innovative, visionary, self-starters.
- Look for people who are readers. Anything you need to know is in a book somewhere.
- Look for someone who is willing to defend their ideas. “I would rather find the nail that refuses to be [hammered] down. This person may need shaping. They may need discipline. But from where I sit, that person looks a lot like the apostle Paul.” (261)
- Build multiplication into the DNA. Plant another church earlier than you think you are able to.