10 Common Pitfalls in Starting New Churches

Over the past 25 years I’ve had the privilege of diving deep into church planting on an experiential level leading teams; as an advocate offering practical resources/training; as a mentor-coach for hundreds of church startups, both here and abroad; and, as a networker who dialogues regularly with a good number of leaders of church planting networks.

What I’ve noticed along the way is that most teams tend to run into a cluster (10 to be precise) of common hangups they never anticipated.  I call these “pitfalls,” as they can both deplete momentum and, in many cases, even snuff the life out of a project.  After processing my observations with many network leaders and church starters,  Cyclical Inc., a budding new church planting network, invited me last year to do a blog series on these with the aim of eventually capturing them in booklet form.

Well, by God’s grace and with the help of Cyclical friends, I can now gleefully announce the publishing of the 10 pitfalls in pithy book form!

And, not only that, but I am equally gleeful to make available a webinar I did for Cyclical recently that touches on each of these pitfalls and demonstrates their practical importance to project leaders.

But, hang on for one moment before I get to the goods. A couple quick disclaimers: 1) I’m not claiming that there are only 10 possible pitfalls, as there are clearly ones others might add. The 10 I’ve captured, however, seem to be resonant from soundings I’ve received from a decade of digging/listening widely to many, many practitioners; and, 2) Though I mention 10 hazard areas, teams in my experience tend to come up against 2 or 3 in any given season. And, some teams already have a good number of these in view from the outset, so they may only run into a few as potential hazards to their health and longevity.

Okay, without further ado, you can go here to purchase your own copy of the booklet, which includes many practical helps on how to navigate these pitfalls well.  And, here to watch the [free] interactive Cyclical webinar which gives you the contours of these pitfalls and shows their relevance to the liminal times we’re all encountering.  If either of these resources prove helpful to you, your team, and/or your church, please let me know how so. And, of course, I’m happy to discuss the prospect of coaching and training any startup team into any or all of these pitfalls.

Dan Steigerwald

I help pioneering leaders and pastors engage fresh ways to lead and multiply mission-shaped communities while tending to their holistic formation along the way.  Having worked for 30+ years in cross-cultural missions, church planting and pastoring, I know personally how hard and soul-depleting ministry can become. Some wells from which I draw:  I hold a DMIN in Leadership in the Emerging Culture from Portland Seminary. My coach training is through Creative Results Management, and I have ACC credentialing under the International Coach Federation (ICF). Also, I have authored several practical books (see Amazon) around which I coach, train and teach: Dynamic Adventure: A Guide to Starting and Shaping Missional Churches (2017); Growing Local Missionaries: Equipping Churches to Sow Shalom in Their Own Cultural Backyard (2014); and Grow Where You’re Planted: Collected Stories on the Hallmarks of Maturing Church (2013).