Preparing to launch a church plant can be overwhelming. To stay on track, you can use this timeline for the months leading up to your launch as a guide.

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Nine months to birth

  • Hire church planter
  • Begin enlisting prayer partners for project
  • Find up-to-date demographics of target community
  • Establish savings and checking accounts for church
  • Obtain Employer Identification Number (EIN) from IRS
  • Establish P.O. Box
  • Begin developing mission/vision statement and core values
  • Start looking for potential meeting places
  • Start looking for potential staff members
  • Build fundraising relationships with individual partners
  • Build fundraising relationships with potential partner churches

9 months

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Eight months to birth

  • Begin church incorporation process
  • Begin gathering a core group of people from which to grow your congregation
  • Choose church name
  • Attend different churches to determine the “flavors” of the churches in the target community
  • Meet with area ministers and community leaders to learn about the needs of the target community
  • Write profile of the target community
  • Form a budget for the plant [link: budgeting page/tool]
  • Reach out to individuals and partner churches for financial support
  • Begin logo design for new church
  • Shop potential web design and marketing firms to help with launch
  • Choose individual who will handle finances for the new church
  • Continue enlisting prayer partners
  • Continue working on mission/vision and values statements
  • Continue looking for potential staff members

8 months

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Seven months to birth

  • Complete incorporation process
  • Continue to develop a core group (this step will continue through the entire planting process)
  • Hold first meeting with core group (meet with group once per month until three months prior to launch, at which point meetings should become more frequent)
  • Accept resumes from potential staff members for key areas of ministry
  • Complete logo design
  • Have at least 100 prayer partners enlisted
  • Identify financial partners and contact them
  • Finish writing vision statement and core values
  • Brainstorm outreach events with core group
  • Narrow Sunday morning meeting places down to three options and rank them in order of preference
  • Place announcements about your new church in area gathering places
  • Host a focus group of unchurched people to ask them questions that will help you design your ministry
  • Hold a prayer walk in the targeted community. Consider holding monthly prayer walks leading up to launch
  • Continue to make proposals to partner churches

7 months

Location

Six months to birth

  • Identify potential staff members and begin interview process
  • Commit to a meeting place for Sunday mornings
  • Purchase liability/property insurance for church
  • Choose a date for launch
  • Finalize group you will be working with for marketing
  • Send list of prayer needs to prayer partner team
  • Hold another focus group of unchurched people to continue honing the focus of the new church
  • Schedule a monthly outreach event for the new church in the community
  • Attend some new church starts and interview their pastors about their experiences
  • Continue seeking financial support from individuals
  • Continue meeting with and recruiting people to core group
    6 months

Location

Five months to birth

  • Begin hiring staff (if financially possible)
  • Look for potential ministry center space
  • Hold first outreach event in new church’s community
  • Brainstorm methods for moving unchurched people deeper into relationship with Jesus
  • Spread the word about your church start in the target community
  • Attend other new church starts with the core team for exposure to new church work
  • Meet with other new church planters to share ideas
  • Continue meeting with and recruiting people to core group
  • Continue web design process for church

5 months

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Four months to birth

  • Hold second outreach event in community
  • Begin design of postcards with marketing company (if this is a method chosen to get the word out about the church)
  • Hold preview service in the church’s future venue to give the community a glimpse of what your church will be like
  • Determine places to obtain signage and printed materials
  • Place publicity material about the church in places of interest in the target community
  • Contact other churches for help collecting physical materials needed for launch
  • Contact area churches and ask them to send groups to new church as scaffolding during the church start’s first 13 weeks of life
  • Continue meeting with and recruiting people to core group
  • Continue web design process for church

4 months

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Three months to birth

  • Confirm ministry center location
  • Complete direct mail design
  • Complete web site design
  • Hold a second preview service in your worship venue
  • Hold third outreach event in the community
  • Schedule scaffolding churches for first 13 weeks
  • Write plans and position descriptions for different aspects of ministry within the church, such as small groups, hospitality, and children’s worship. Target potential leaders in these areas
  • Finalize vendors to utilize for signage, printing, etc.
  • Continue meeting with and recruiting people to core group

3 months

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Two months to birth

  • Finish hiring staff
  • Hold several outreach events in the community
  • Hold third preview service
  • Enlist leaders to help with the different areas of ministry within the church
  • Seek out musicians to participate on your worship team
  • Design and send program shell to printer
  • Begin purchasing equipment
  • Select curriculum for children’s ministry
  • Determine method for tracking and following up with newcomers
  • Send direct mail design to printer
  • Order advertising items (mugs, water bottles, etc.)
  • Collect materials donated to the plant from partner churches
  • Continue meeting with and recruiting people to core group

2 months

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One months to birth

  • Finish printing all materials needed for launch (brochures, pamphlets, program shells, etc.)
  • Complete and put up sign(s) for church
  • Hold two more practice services in the worship venue
  • Finish purchasing all necessary equipment
  • Hold final outreach event prior to launch
  • Send direct marketing material to area households
  • Send press release to relevant media about the new church opening
  • Advertise in local newspaper
  • Contact all people with whom your plant group has been in contact to inform them of the birth
  • Pray, pray, pray

1 month

Birth

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Four months after birth

  • Hold one outreach event per month (this keeps the focus outward)
  • Hold one fellowship event per month (this will help tie people into the new church)
  • Follow up with newcomers each week
  • Continually communicate core values and vision
  • Begin the process of discipleship (in the second month of birth)
  • Hold one big event for children on Sunday morning
  • Encourage and equip your attenders to become inviters

4 months after