I made the switch from established church to church plant full time in January of 2013. It’s been a wild and crazy ride, but one that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I love my job, and I love what I get to do everyday. It suits me and fits who I am. I feel really blessed to pastor Redemption Church. As I was thinking about that, I came up with eight advantages church plants have over established churches.
1. You have no office.
This one might not seem like an advantage, and many days it’s not. But, it does have its perks. When you have an office, sometimes there’s certain expectations on office hours. This can actually be less productive in getting tasks done because conversations with those that pop in can distract you from the task at hand. I find that when I’m preparing for a sermon, I need complete focus to prepare and study. I didn’t always get that at the church office.
2. There is no church tradition.
In established churches, there’s a “We’ve always done it this way” type of thinking. A lot of times, it gets in the way of new ideas or newer ways of thinking. In church planting, you don’t have to battle against church tradition to change things.
3. You get to work in places of your choosing.
This is similar to number one, but the opposite. When you have no office, your office can be anywhere. First, it can be at home. So on those snowy Utah days, I can get up and go right to work in my pajamas writing e-mails and preparing for sermons. It can also be at a coffee shop, so you can do work and have a missional focus getting to know the employees and the same people who come each week.
4. Freedom of schedule
I don’t keep a 9-5 office hour schedule. One, I don’t have an office and, two, it allows me to schedule my week around the optimal time to meet with people and to get task work done. This doesn’t mean that less work gets done. In fact, I’ve found that it takes a lot more work in a church plant than any other established church jobs that I’ve had. We also have really weird meeting times as a church plant. Once a week we get together at 9:30 at night for a teaching meeting. It’s the only time we can make it all work because of work schedules, but it’s a meeting that I look forward to each week. We wouldn’t be able to have it if we were stuck on a 9-5 schedule.
5. Church programs are simpler
Established churches have many programs that concurrently run throughout the week. It’s hard to get rid of some of these programs because of #2. In a church plant, church programs are stripped down to the bare essentials. They reflect the mission and the values of the church and can be more effective in accomplishing that mission. Resources of time, money, and manpower are focused instead of diversified through the various programs.
6. Everything is a blank canvas
This one has a big appeal for me and for others that like to envision what something could be. In a church plant, we get to dream of how this could look and start implementing steps to make it happen. It’s a pretty cool setup.
7. You don’t have to wear suits every Sunday.
I really don’t like wearing suits, but I will wear them whenever I’m preaching at another church that expects it, officiating a wedding, or doing a funeral service. I see it as a freedom issue, and because of #6, we get to set the expectations of what we wear at church.
8. More time to focus on important ministry
I don’t meant to say that important ministry doesn’t happen in an established church. I believe that it does, but there are often obligatory meetings and other things that are expected that are not always an efficient or fruitful use of time. In a church plant, because of the blank canvas, you can focus the priorities of your week on ministry that is important.