Lessons Learned Through Church Planting: Part 1

By Matt Chewning

Since we began our church plant three years ago, I have kept a running list of things I’ve learned throughout the process. I keep this in my notes in my iPhone and just add to it as things come up.

  1. Take off your pastor’s hat until people give you that hat to wear. You are not your city’s pastor.
  2. Be quick to look for leaders but slow to give away leadership. It’s wise to give away small rooms in the kingdom before you give away the keys to the whole place.
  3. In a growing environment, it is critical to reevaluate your role, responsibilities and schedule often.
  4. Expediting leaders is overrated and dangerous. Leadership is easy to give away but extremely difficult to take back.
  5. Making fun of yourself from the stage by sharing your flaws and failures more than your victories is the key to others seeing you as relatable.
  6. Challenge your team and church in the supernatural things of the Holy Spirit.
  7. Let God decide your legacy as you lead in faithfulness. In 100 years, nobody will remember you.
  8. Faith is spelled R-I-S-K. You’ll never walk on water unless you get out of the boat.
  9. When it comes to making decisions, ask yourself, “Which decision will force me to rely on Jesus more?”
  10. The biggest asset that you have is your voice. Invest in expanding your message, not just the size of your church.
  11. When making decisions, make sure you don’t just have the right people at the table, but make sure they are in the right seat as well.
  12. People learn when you teach them the “what” but they are motivated when you explain to them the “why.”
  13. If you put people in leadership, make sure you can see them as family and not just competent people. If you wouldn’t trust your leaders with the lives of your children, you shouldn’t trust them with the life of your church.
  14. Invite people to journey with you as one of you rather than under you as one inferior to you.
  15. Never pursue production or programs that attempt to manipulate or manufacture the presence of the Holy Spirit.
  16. Relational death occurs when numerical growth occurs. This is extremely painful for all involved, yet absolutely necessary for the health of the church and the sanity of your family.
  17. Fight to be teachable, not understood. There will be times that we are misunderstood in our motives, decisions and words. If we fight to be understood, we will focus on others and miss an opportunity to look inwardly and grow.
  18. The end goal of conflict is to be found righteous, not right. If our primary goal is to win in conflict, we will lose in righteousness.
  19. Confidentiality is often a code word for gossip and disunity. Whatever we say about one another, we will be expected to say to one another.
  20. If I can’t trust you, I can’t keep you.
  21. No information is secretive, but some information is sensitive.
  22. Healthy leadership is when people choose to follow you when they can just as easily choose not to. Just because you’re a boss doesn’t mean you’re a leader.


Matt Chewning serves as the Lead Pastor at Netcast Church in Beverly, Massachusetts. Follow him on Twitter @mattchewning.