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First Steps Church Planting Manual by Curtis Sergeant & e3 Partners

This manual is for church leaders who, like the Apostle Paul, are determined to be part of what God is doing today. It will equip you to take the FIRST STEPS to plant new churches in your communities. But more important, it will enable you to train the people in your church – as Paul discipled Timothy – to help plant new churches alongside you.

First Steps

You learn. You do. They watch you. Then they do.

This is not a book only to read to your church or only to preach on Sunday. The book of James encourages us to "be doers of the word, and not hearers only."  If we hear but do not do, he warns, we deceibe ourselves into believing that we are obeying Christ.  Put into practice what you learn in this manual.

Download the Manual


How To Use This Manual

Use this manual one on one – Paul to Timothy – like a coach or mentor. Use it in a small group of leaders who are planting a new church, or use it to train your entire church.

Each section includes "First Steps" challenges. Those challenges ask questions to help you think and pray about how you can obey Christ's commands and follow the model of Paul today. As you work your way through this manual and the Lord gives you a response to each challenge, write it down on the Strategy Worksheet at the end of the manual. When you finish, you will have developed a church planting strategy designed especially for you and your church. Remember, it is not what you learn that is most important. It is what you DO with what you learn.

First Steps


M A I N   I D E A S

• This manual is written to help you start new churches in unreached neighborhoods.

• As you use this manual, answer the "First Steps" challenges in each chapter. They will help you develop a strategy to see that vision become reality.

• Use this manual to help train the people in your church.


P A R A B L E    O F     T H E     H A R V E S T

Read Matthew 13:3-8

A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no roots . Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop - a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.

Every farmer wants a harvest. His eyes see an empty field that is overgrown with weeds and covered with rocks. But his mind sees his field covered with strong, healthy crops. And the promise in his mind, not the problems before his eyes, takes him into the field to work.

First, he breaks up the hard dirt, so the seeds can grow easily. Then he plants the seeds. As they grow, he pulls out the weeds that try to choke the new plants. He makes sure they have enough water, and he protects them from birds and bugs. He does his part, knowing that only God has the power to make the seeds grow. When the time is right, the farmer goes into the field, gathers the fruit of his harvest and takes it to his storehouse. There, he collects new seeds for the next planting season - more seeds than he started with. So his harvest grows greater every year.

Church planting is similar to the sowing and harvesting cycle. Imagine that your community is a field. How does it look to you? Is it empty, choked with the weeds of worldly wisdom and clogged with stony obstacles to the gospel? Does it look like it could never bear fruit? Or has God put a different picture in your mind? Can you see your neighbors filled with joy and worshiping God? Can you see them free of the world's hold on them? Can you see them overcoming every obstacle? What we see in our minds is called vision. Vision is a clear mental picture of what the future could be like. It must come from God's heart to us through His Word and His Spirit. Vision results in a growing desire to see with our eyes the same picture that we see in our mind. That causes us to PRAY, which, like a sharp plow, breaks up hard ground in the spiritual world.

The gospel is our seed, which we plant as we EVANGELIZE. The Bible promises that the more seeds we plant, the bigger the harvest will be.

When the harvest is ready, we need to GATHER TOGETHER the new believers into groups called CHURCHES.

Churches are people, not buildings - people who know and love God and who MAKE DISCIPLES and help them become more like Jesus.

Those who are more mature DEVELOP LEADERS in the churches and continue the cycle.

And as a result, churches MULTIPLY! One becomes two. Ten become twenty. Five hundred become a thousand!

Just like in the Book of Acts!


Download the Entire First Steps Manual (PDF)


© 2011 e3 Partners Ministry Used by permission

Find original & other language manuals posted here

See also the articles:

Constantine & the Institutionalization of the Church
Cannibalistic Competition

How Jesus Sees the Church | Video

The Secret Source of Unlimited Leaders

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