Home > Articles > Church Planting Strategies
Church Planting Strategies
Some insights from veteran church planter Ed Stetzer.

Sign up for our free Building Church Leaders newsletter:

Also of Interest
Adult Sunday School Teacher
A resource to help you provide orientation and basic training to men and women involved in adult education and discipleship.

Becoming a Great Listener
Practical skills and advice to help improve listening skills, as well as helpful ways to administer those skills in a small-group setting.

Good Pastor, Lousy Leader
How I came to terms with my role in the church.

Working Well with the Church Staff (free sample)
One ingredient of successful ministry is good staff relationships.

Twenty-first century church planters may want to imitate the pastor who launched his outreach with an electronic strategy that included a blog, Twitter and Facebook. He was so avid sending Facebook messages to prospective attendees that the network expelled him until he persuaded them that he wasn't selling anything.

Veteran church planter Ed Stetzer shared that story during the opening session of a recent church-planting conference in Louisville, Ky.

"He planned this all out and had 500 people come to his first service because of a Facebook and Twitter strategy," said Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research in Nashville. "I was kind of surprised. The church is doing well."

One reason the former seminary professor thinks the approach worked is people had been checking out the pastor's messages for three months prior to the inaugural service.

"High Touch" Still Alive

"High tech" methods don't necessarily eliminate "high touch," though. Stetzer spelled out numerous ways new churches seek to reach their communities, including forming partnerships with established congregations.

That may lead to a method he favors—hand-addressing envelopes, a task that can be handled by a large congregation. Hundreds of churches have relied on another's members to take a $44 mission trip, or the cost of 100 stamps to mail announcements about the first service.

Large churches can handle 10,000 envelopes at a time. One new congregation enlisted enough partners to send out 80,000 pieces of first-class (never bulk) mail.

Make sure volunteers follow the direction for hand-addressing, Stetzer said, recalling the time someone put the list onto his computer and ran labels. That defeats the purpose of hand-addressed envelopes, which most people are more likely to open.

The most common method of promotion is direct mail of a brochure or announcement. Advertising is another way new churches reach their communities, something that Stetzer said often draws frowns from missional advocates who see that as appealing to consumerism.

However, he said it doesn't have to, recalling the time he responded positively to a telemarketing call because it came at a time he was looking at doing home improvements.

"Ninety-nine people (out of 100) don't like telemarketers, but one guy turns to his wife and says, 'We ought to put siding on the house,'" Stetzer said. "It's the same thing with church plants (advertising). Some guy turns to his wife and says, 'Honey, we ought to get back in church.'"

Among other outreach possibilities he reviewed:

  • Telemarketing, generally handled by an outside firm that asks a few questions. When it identifies interested persons, the church follows up with several mailings.
  • Newspaper advertising, although he says that usually covers too broad an area, unless it's a community or ethnic newspaper.
No First PageNo Previous Page Page 1 of 2 Next PageLast Page
share this pageshare this page

Topics:Church Planting, Communication, Holy Spirit, Marketing, Public relations
Filters:Outreach, Pastor

User Reviews

Average User Rating: Not rated

No comments

Submit Your Rating and Review *



1000 character limit

* Comments may be edited for tone and clarity.

Member Center
Log in

Meet Our Editorial Advisors

We Recommend

More from Christianity Today