Where do I start? That was the main question we answered today during Day 3 of Church Planting Class. We began with the unglamorous and often unmentioned side of Church Planting – the business side.

Some authors have paralleled Jesus to a CEO and try to pull business principles from His ministry. Although He was the greatest leader the world has ever known and we have endless things to learn from Him, I don’t like viewing Him as a CEO and I definitely don’t think His Church should be viewed as a start-up business. We’re His bride, not His project.

However, for any church to have longevity, there are certain legal and structural guidelines that must be followed. Everything from the incorporation process (including bylaws and a board of directors) to 501(c)(3) applications and payroll. Jesus said to “render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” and like it or not, “Caesar” may be more involved than many people realize!

Like anything though, there must be a balance. If you overlook the business side of the church, it won’t last. But if you run the church entirely as a business, it will prevent you from taking steps of faith. After all, there have been quite a few times in just my 3 years of planting Awaken that I’ve undertaken a project or outreach that didn’t exactly measure up on paper (The Uprising)!

In addition to the un-glamorous business side of the church, we also talked about the practical side of how to figure out where to go, and some things to keep in mind when you first get to your city.

We watched a quick video from a friend of mine, Chuck Musselwhite, who is one of the leaders of the Calvary Church Planting Network (CCPN) that helps train up and mentor prospective Calvary church planters. I also passed on some helpful links:

CCPN: http://calvarychurchplanting.org

Here you can get resources to either be mentored as a church planter or mentor other church planters. You can also listen to and watch sessions from their ReEngage Conference that they had last year. You can hear great, practical stuff from Brian Broderson, David Guzik, Ed Stetzer, and more!

Calvary’s main website: http://calvarychapel.com

On Calvary’s main site, you can check out the church locator to get an idea of an area of the US or the world where they could benefit from a Calvary. You can search within a 1,000-mile radius by zip code, state, or city!

Calvary Chapel Association: http://calvarychapelassociation.com

Once you have a place in mind and/or you’ve already moved there or begun the process, you can go to the CCA site to begin the affiliation process. By selecting the region of the US or world that you’re in, you can find out which pastor(s) to contact to get the ball rolling on affiliation with Calvary Chapel.

We also covered some practical things to think about before and during the launch of the church. We discussed the importance of a vision statement that’s concise and catchy, that communicates why your church exists. We talked about the pros and cons of different types of church planting timelines: denominational, interest meetings, preview services, and the route I took, “Hit the ground running!”

One of the most practical part of the day was a 15-minute personal project where each person scoured the Bible for practical examples of people who used what was in their hands to benefit others and glorify God. There were tons of great examples which led to great discussion: things like David’s slingshot and harp-playing skills, Esther’s position as queen, Tabitha’s clothes-making skills, the boy who gave Jesus his lunch, Moses’ staff, Paul’s prison sentence, and so much more. Some of the examples seemed positive, others seemed negative, but the point was simple: God uses ordinary things for extraordinary purposes.

On Tuesday we had covered inadequacies and fears that many people have going into a church plant or ministry. The goal of the exercise in today’s class was to help us all understand that we are probably much more equipped then we realize. We refuse to allow a perceived need to prevent us from preaching the Gospel. We’ll embrace our limitations, get creative, and use what’s in our hands to benefit others and glorify God.

On deck for tomorrow: hermeneutics & homiletics!