Starting Over When You Have Over Started in Revitalization Part II

The Pitfalls of Running Too Far Too Fast in a Church Start Without Assimilation

In Webster’s New World Dictionary, a “pitfall” is defined as (1) a lightly covered pit used as a trap for animals and (2) an unsuspected difficulty, danger or error that one may fall into.

Church planting is chock-full of pitfalls. It is best to be aware of them as you begin the adventure of starting a new church. If you have already launched and find yourself needing to start over because you have over started ask God to clearly show you what needs to be eliminated and what needs to be elevated. Our God is sovereign as we rely upon him, he can help us out of the pitfalls and revive the church plant and get it moving forward.

Let’s look at second and third of eleven pitfalls that are often present when a church over starts and needs to restart:

Pitfall #2 – The Church Planter has an unrealistic expectation of the church in which they can plant.

Not every one of us has the same gifts for church planting. Today what is really missing in most church planters is the ability to be an effective gatherer. Perhaps the single most effective skill set needed to launch and yet many a church planter today sees no need to develop skills in the area of gathering and evangelism. They have unrealistic expectations of what they can do and how those gifts can lead to a fruitful church plant. Wishful thinking is presumptuous at best despite some who have a great desire to plant a large growing church. The Lord does not owe you large numbers if you want to be a church planter and despite those who run across the country telling you you do it is just not biblical!

Pitfall #3 – The one who is leading the new church plant is not a church planter but more of a pastor.

When a pastor of an established church does not have the characteristics of a successful church-planter and yet he attempts to start a church, he often falls into a pit. The impulse of the pastor may be that the established church is too repressive. A new church offers an attractive opportunity he may determine. There are some called to ministry who are called to be founding pastors of one church and stay their forever. Others are more catalytic and they have the gifts to plant church after church after church.

If you are not sure whether you are really a church planter than answer these few questions: Are you a visionary person that can get others to follow your ideas? Do you take initiative and lead boldly? Do you relate well to the unchurched? Is your wife on board with this vision to become a church planter? Would you say that you both have the ability to persevere? How flexible and adaptable are you? How are you resilient? Do you have a gift for gathering a lot of people? Do you work hard or are you lazy?

You can connect with Dr. Tom Cheyney and the RENOVATE Church Revitalization Coaching Network additionally via Facebook at RENOVATE Conference. Tom is the co-author of Spin-Off Churches (B&H Publishers), a conference speaker and a frequent writer on church planting, new church health, and church revitalization. Be looking for The Biblical Foundations for Church Revitalization by Tom Cheyney and Terry Rials later this year. If you or your church would like more information about how to be considered for the next series of RENOVATE Church Revitalization Applicants you may contact him at, or

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