Wondering how to start an independent church? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
(article continues below)
Independent Church Growth
Independent or non-denominational churches represent one of the largest growth segments within U.S. Christianity. Instead of participating in denominational hierarchies, independent churches reject denominational structures and staunchly adhere to local, congregational oversight in all administrative and theological matters.
Even though independent churches lack a central governing body, many churches participate in non-governing associations that give like-minded churches and leaders access to resources, relationships and legislative influence. The most influential association is the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), a large national organization that represents both denominational and independent evangelical churches in the U.S.
The advantage of starting an independent church is that you won't have to navigate a minefield of denominational hierarchies and approval processes to get your church off the ground. Since independent churches are extremely local in nature, you are free to make your own decisions about your new organization.
The downside is that non-denominational church planters lack the support and resources that are available to denominational church planters. In order to compensate, you'll need to rely heavily on your entrepreneurial spirit and relationships within the independent/non-denominational church community.
Growing Into an Independent Church Launch
Every church planter dreams about being the pastor of mega-church with thousands of members and having regional (if not national) influence. But the most recognized names in independent church circles didn't begin their careers as mega-church pastors -- most of them began as small, independent church planters and religious pioneers.
Even though your church plant may be chocked full of potential, it's likely that you will need to phase-in the startup. Strategically phased startups are common in the small business community and offer a viable way for entrepreneurs to make their dreams a reality.
As an independent church planter, you need a startup strategy that requires limited upfront capital because it takes time to attract donors. Many independent church planters start as home groups, Bible studies or prayer meetings and quickly leverage their popularity to secure permanent space and other resources that are required for weekly Sunday services.
These additional resources regarding getting started as a religious entrepreneur may be of interest to you.
If you already are in business and came here to learn about growing an existing independent church, try these useful resources:
If you sell to independent churches, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
We offer information on other religions and denominations. View some of our sample guides below.