The HOW vs. the WHAT of Church Planting

Most church planters do well when it comes to the “what” questions of reaching people for Jesus. The tune usually goes like this, “We desire to see people connect to God and each other through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”

While this is a great starting point, difficulty comes when we begin asking the hard questions of “how?”  How do we connect people to God? How do we connect people to each other? How do we effectively carry out the vision to see people meet Christ?


Although every church is different, there are a few principles that come into play in answering the “how” of reaching people for Jesus.


1. Hospitality – Do you have a strategy for making first-time guests feel comfortable? This begins and ends in the parking lot.  If guests were visiting your home for dinner, you’d welcome them at the door, explain where the bathroom is, provide excellent service, and walk them out.  The same holds true for church, except even more so, because we’re serving up the Bread of Life!

2. Connections – Do you have a strategy for intentionally connecting first-time guests to your church? If not, nearly every guest will leave – never to return.

Are your volunteers friendly?  Do you have a proven process of receiving connection cards from first-time guests?  Do you have a team of people who follow up with first-time guests via email, personal note, and phone call during the week?  Your goal is to get first-time guests to become second-time guests fast!

Are you PREPARED to care for first-time guests with YOUNG CHILDREN?  Is your kid’s area safe, clean, and well-staffed?  Do you teach age-appropriate messages about Jesus?  Is it FUN?  Kids speak the language of FUN.  If your guests had an average experience, but their children couldn’t stop talking about how AWESOME church was, they’ll be back!

3. Worship – In order for a church to be missional, it must first be attractional.  Do you intentionally seek excellence in worship?    What’s attractional about your worship experience?

4. Message –The Scriptures declare that faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).  Are you preaching clear, concise, practical messages about Jesus and everyday life – with first-time guests in mind?  The best marketing strategy for any church is a genuinely changed life.

Your strategy (how) executes your vision (what).  If you want to see your church go to the next level, you’ve got to be willing to answer the “how” questions.  Work out the “how” and God will work out the “what.”