6 ways to effectively build community in your church plant

Lee Stephenson

Lead pastor, Harvest Community Church, Orlando, Florida

  • Church planting & multiplication

Church planting, in a nutshell, is about creating a community that’s on mission with Jesus Christ. Sometimes it’s easy to put the mission piece together, but building community can be more difficult than we think.

So, here are six ideas on how you can effectively build community.

1. Have a defined cause

A cause is a way of pulling like-minded people together: The more clearly defined your cause, the greater your chance of building community. At the same time, it has to be a cause that people can identify with. Just because you have a cause you’re passionate about doesn’t necessarily mean that other people will also be passionate about it.

What greater cause is there to rally people together than the gospel? Figure out a way to help focus people around the gospel and the message of Jesus Christ, and allow that cause to be a binding peace for everyone.

2. Find a need and meet it

We must seek to meet the physical, emotional, economic and spiritual needs of those around us. When we meet people’s needs, they are often more willing and eager to hear the message of the gospel.

3. Reach out

Hospitality really means loving strangers. A similar word — hospice — means a safe place. Our homes, places of business and churches should always be safe places for strangers to experience kindness and love.

4. Develop authentic friendships with those that you know

We can determine whether or not we’re authentic by asking ourselves:

  • Are we loving?
  • Do we serve each other?
  • Are we influencing our family, neighbors, coworkers and friends?

The way we live together becomes an attraction piece for others to want to share the same experience themselves.

5. Allow people to belong before they believe

We should never allow our convictions to become a litmus test for friendship. Instead, we should actively pursue friendships with people — even people we may disagree with — hoping that this friendship provides us the doorway to share the gospel.

6. Raise up leaders and the next generation

You can never be the glue that holds the entire community together. Your capacity will determine the size and the health of the community. A community is always stronger when other people buy into it and even have the authority to strengthen that community. So, look for people who are catalysts. Look for people that are gatherers and those that are implementers.

Ultimately, when it comes to creating community, you have to plod. You have to persevere. Don’t give up.

Converge is committed to starting missionally minded churches until every people group and community has heard the gospel. We start churches that start churches to see lives changed with Christ’s love and truth. Converge Church Planting provides a clear pathway for you to plant a new church or campus or to multiply your church. Learn more about planting a church with Converge.

Lee Stephenson, Lead pastor, Harvest Community Church, Orlando, Florida

Lee Stephenson served as Converge's vice president of Church Planting from 2015-2022. He is the founding and lead pastor of Harvest Community Church, a Central Florida multisite church. Before coming to Florida, he and his wife, Melissa, planted a church in Mesa, Arizona. Stephenson has worked to establish new church plants around the country and is a go-to coach and trainer for church leadership and planting.

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