Starting A Church

Back in 2007, an old friend of mine emailed me with some questions about starting a church. He was planning on starting a church in northern Phoenix, which he subsequently did, and wanted to get advice from a variety of preachers who had started churches. Here are the questions he asked and the answers I gave.

1. How did you decide which town to go to?

I chose the place that I felt had the greatest need for a good church.

2. Did you raise any financial support?

Not one dime.

3. What did you do as far as housing?

I bought a house because I am in it for the long haul, and a house provided a perfect place to start the church.

4. What did you do for health insurance?

I don’t have any.

5. Did you have any children at the time?

I had three, just like you; now I have four.

6. How did you start your church? (% of soul-winning, inviting, advertising, etc.)

100% soul-winning – inviting is the biggest waste of time in the world, but advertising in the yellow pages is very important. My yellow pages ads did not hit the streets until 5 or 6 months after I started, but once they were published, they brought in a lot of great visitors. This year I am tripling my yellow pages advertising.

7. What did you do for your printing and advertising?

I used locally owned print shops (like Kinkos, but cheaper). I didn’t use the expensive glossy advertisements; I used invitations printed on colored paper with black ink.

8. Did you start your church with one, two, or three services?

ALL THREE!!! In the history of our church we have only had 2 services where it was just me and my family (our first Wednesday night, and our 3rd Sunday night).

Isn’t your family important enough to you for you to provide THEM with 3 services?

If I moved into an area and was looking for a good church, I would not even consider a church that only had 1 or 2 services, no matter how young it was.

How can you ever get up and preach that all 3 services are important if you only started with 1? If they are so important, provide all 3 from day one.

9. What type of building did you start in?

We started in my house and used the pool and spa for baptisms. We met there for 1 year and 5 months, and then we grew out of it. On our last service in the house I preached a sermon called, “Why We Started in the House.” I would highly recommend that you download and listen to that sermon before you make a decision.

10. What type of schedule did you follow in the first year?

I moved to Phoenix on 12/22/05, took 3 days off from my job to go soul-winning all day (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday), and held the first service on 12/25/05. After that I worked my job 40-60 hours a week and went soul-winning evenings and weekends. This is the same schedule I keep to this day (I started a year and a half ago).

11. What advice can you give concerning preaching and teaching in the first year?

Preach as hard as you’re ever going to preach. If they don’t like it today, they won’t like it tomorrow. No matter how long a church has been in existence, there will always be new visitors coming every week. Preach the same all the time.

Preach DOCTRINAL sermons. This is good advice for any pastor. Don’t fall into the trap of this liberal “relevant” and “practical” type preaching. These are the buzz words of the new-evangelicals. I preach sermons on SPECIFIC subjects such as eternal security, baptism, King James Bible only, exclusivism, the death penalty, the resurrection, the trinity, creation, Bible reading, Bible memorization, verbal inspiration, and also sermons against specific sins such as nudity, drinking, television, birth control, sodomy, wrong music, etc.

12. Is there any advice that you can give to my wife?

Being a wife and mother is her calling in life, not being a “pastor’s wife.”

13. Can you give me a few names of men that have started churches successfully?

Not sure

14. What principles did you follow in starting your church?

Quality will eventually produce quantity, but quantity will never produce quality.
Your job is to win souls; God will build the church
Your goal is to please God, not man.

15. Is there anything that you would do differently if you started another church?


Mike, I hope this information helps you, and I hope you will consider starting a church up there on the northwest side of Phoenix. Please listen to my sermon on why we started in the house; I think it will really encourage you.


Pastor Steven L. Anderson
Faithful Word Baptist Church

February 2010 Addendum:

Here are a few other questions that I have been asked about starting a church over the years:

1. Should a single or divorced man ever start and pastor a church?

No. The qualifications for a pastor or deacon are clearly spelled out in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 and include being the husband of one wife (and no, that doesn’t mean one wife at a time), as well as ruling your own house well, specifically in regard to your wife and children. A man who has not accomplished this is not qualified to start a church.

2. Should a man who is starting a church be sent out of a local church?

Yes. Everything brings forth after its own kind, and churches should be started by churches. The church should set apart and pray for the man who is being sent out to start or pastor a church. However, once a new church is established, it should be free of outside control from the sending church. This is critically important if the church is going to truly be an independent Baptist church.

3. Does a man need a Bible college degree in order to be qualified to start or pastor a church?

No. A college degree is not listed in the Bible’s qualifications. In fact, Bible colleges or seminaries are never even mentioned in the entire Bible. The local church should be the training ground for the next generation of pastors. The sad thing is, most men do earn college degrees before pastoring, and this is where they pick up most of their false doctrine.

4. Why do you recommend not raising financial support before starting a church?

The most important reason is that depending on financial support from a multitude of churches in order to pay your bills will take away your independence. The church should be taking its orders directly from Christ and not trying to please the other churches upon whom it depends financially.

The other reason is simply that no money is needed to start a church using scriptural methods. The pastor can go soul-winning after work and on the weekends, and his tithe, as well as the tithes of those whom he reaches, will provide for the basic needs of the new church. These needs will be minimal in the early days because the church is small. Chairs, song books, printed invitations, and Bibles are all inexpensive and are the only things necessary to get started. As the church grows, more money will come in and the church will be able to afford a building and any other needs that arise.

Another applicable sermon: "How To Start A Church"

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