Church Planting

Church Plant Tips- Ways to Gather a Launch Team

Here are the ways I’m currently gathering the Launch Team of One Church:

Read the comments below to get an update on these gathering methods.

  1. I find a way to talk about the church with EVERY single person I meet (it usually starts with “I just moved here a month ago. I moved to start a new church called One Church…”)
  2. Word of mouth networking through existing launch team relationships
  3. Google pay-per-click to increase website traffic
  4. Facebook ads targeting people within 10 miles of my location linking to the church facebook page
  5. I set up shop at Starbucks every day and build relationships with baristas and regulars
  6. I introduced myself to local hospital chaplains, police departments and fire departments (offering to be available in a crisis).
  7. Met with the local funeral homes to officiate funerals for families who don’t have a pastor
  8. A big honking church web address sticker on the rear window of my car
  9. Introduced myself to the local chamber of commerce
  10. Meeting with area pastors to network and pick their brains
  11. Posted craigslist ads for a worship leader, children’s director, and musicians
  12. Posted ad for musicians in local music stores
  13. Build relationship with person who cuts my hair
  14. Build relationship with servers at restaurants where I eat
  15. I where a One Church shirt almost every day (polos and t-shirts)
  16. Give away other promo items- pens, coffee travel mugs, tote bags, etc.
  17. I volunteered at the local city centennial celebration
  18. My wife and are leading a Financial Peace University class
  19. The launch team will be collecting nonperishable food items door to door every month to donate to the local food pantry
  20. I’m considering handing out water bottles on street corners (Steve Sjogren’s Servent Evangelism)
  21. I’m considering sending a mailer to new residents every month (
  22. Have a presence at every local festival or public event that you can (give water bottles, etc.)
  23. My wife meets other moms when she takes our son to story time at the library
  24. I’ll share other ideas as I try them.

I’m currently in the process of planting One Church in Chandler, AZ ( There are plenty of how-to church planting books, online resources and conferences. I wanted to share specific tips from my experience that church planters need to know that are often not included in other resources. Hope this helps.


5 thoughts on “Church Plant Tips- Ways to Gather a Launch Team

    • Facebook ads, Google pay per click, grand opening street signs and weekly a-frame signs have been our most effective “marketing” tools. High quality newspaper ads and press releases have generated some traffic. Mass mailings were a pointless waste of money in our area, but I know they work in areas in which other churches use them less. I might still mail to new movers. Word of mouth has brought 67%-75% of our people. So the main thing is to have something unique enough to spread by word of mouth. As Seth Godin says, a purple cow is remarkable because it’s worth remarking about.

  1. Great question. Social media and word of mouth have been, by far, the most effective form of gathering for me.

    I’ve had to overcome guilt of not meeting more people through face to face contacts like Starbucks, etc. First of all, it takes months to build natural relationships with people face to face, and secondly, social media is the new way of socializing and spreading a message.

    I actually went to a local police station, introduced myself and volunteered to offer chaplain services The officer looked at me like I was an absolute freak. It was pretty funny. Maybe introducing yourself to community leaders worked in the 80’s, but I live in a big city, and they already pay highly qualified professionals to do that work.:)

    Targeted Facebook ads have been very effective for us. We do direct mail, but it is more to build mass awareness that drive foot traffic. The key is to equip your current people to be inviters through their existing social networks.

    A realtor friend of mine recently shared with me that real estate has been revolutionized by social media. He said now that buzz phrase is “network sphere,” the group of people the realtor already knows. He said that his current relationships bring him more business than cold contacts or “dialing for dollars.”

    Church planting coaches I’ve been exposed to are 5-10 behind the social media change. If you’re a young person who uses social media quite a bit, you’re better off just to go with your gut when it comes to ways of gathering people. Forget the outmoded face to face and phone contacts.

    It might sound rough, but 30 year old church planters should do more coaching instead of someone who planted a church in the 80’s or even the 90’s. Too much has changed.

  2. Robbie says:

    One year later… how’s it going? Besides the above what has worked and not worked? Anything that worked but is not listed?

  3. Thank you for writing this post. As a new church planter, this has been one of the top things most church planters struggle with. Unless you are partnering with a sending church that will allow you to recruit a team from within, trying to find people grassroots is difficult. Planting a new church takes a certain type of individual and isn’t for everyone. I am curious about the rest of the story…how did things turn out?

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