How to Start an Independent Baptist Church

start ifb churchLots of snark and sarcasm ahead!

John “Jesus Lover” Baptiste recently graduated from an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) college. After three or four years of superficially studying the Bible, John received his unaccredited degree in Jesus-Loving, Devil-Chasing, Sin-Hating Pastoral Ministry. Now what?

Graduates are encouraged to go into all the world — well mainly the United States — and win souls for Jesus. The best way to do this is to start a new church.

Here is what John “Jesus Lover” Baptiste needs to do to start a brand spanking new Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church.

First, find a town where there are churches on every corner and convince yourself that ALL of those churches are liberal, apostate, using the wrong Bible translation, or using worldly music.

Second, confuse your own desire and ambition with the Holy Spirit leading you and God calling you to start a new church.

Third, rent a meeting place or building. Make sure get the building as cheaply as possible. If the building owner is a Christian, lay a spiritual guilt trip on him to get him to lower the rent and then invite him and his family to the first service.

Fourth, put a puff piece in the newspaper telling locals why you are starting a new church in their community. DON’T tell them that you think ALL the other churches in town are liberal, apostate, using the wrong Bible translation, or using worldly music. You want to be able to poach members from other churches later, so it is important no one knows what you really think of every other church in town.

Fifth, every day pray that God will bless your endeavor. Convince yourself that God put you in the community to win everyone to Jesus and that without you they will all go to hell.

Sixth, tell your wife and children that you love them, but they are going to have to understand that Jesus comes first and that you will have to neglect them in order for a GREAT church to be built. Also, tell them that they will have to mow the church yard, clean the church, play the piano, work in the nursery, teach Sunday School, and anything else you demand ask them to do. Try to explain to them that, Yes God called YOU, but he expects you to bring luggage.

Seventh, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses before you, knock on every door in town and witness to everyone who dares to answer. Lie to them by saying, I am not here to take you from your church home. All that is important is that you know Jesus as your Savior. Don’t let them know that if they get saved you will expect them to come to the church that cared enough to lead them to Jesus.

Eighth, run some ads in the local newspaper and put up flyers on every public bulletin board. Church-hopping members from nearby Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches will notice the ads and see this as “God leading them” to leave their church. This is the quickest way to start a new church. And just remember, when they leave your new church a few years later for another newer church, that you were willing to sacrifice your integrity for numerical gain.

You are now ready for your first service. Remember one thing: most new church plants fail, especially new Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches. Perhaps, it would be better if you join up with one of the other churches in town and help them. Silly me, you will never do that. You are a God-called, Holy-Spirit-powered, Independent Fundamentalist Baptist pastor, and such a calling deserves its own church, and a BIG sign that says, in BIG type, JOHN BAPTISTE, PASTOR.



  1. Dale

    Also, get a lighted sign board to put in front of the church. Of course, your name is painted directly beneath the First Baptist Church of Bunghole name (DR. John Baptiste, Pastor). Every week, steal clever platitudes from the Internet or other churches and slap ’em up on the sign. Start with “SEVEN DAYS WITHOUT PRAYER MAKES ONE WEAK”. That’ll have ’em climbing over each other to get in the door.

    And remember, a backwards ‘3’ looks a lot like an ‘E’.

  2. Daniel Wilcox

    Hilarious Dummies book graphic especially Elmer Gantry line!

    May I ask how did you create it?

    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)
      1. Daniel Wilcox

        Thanks for giving me the url.

        Now I, too, can write dummy books:-)

  3. Troy

    For a brief time we had hermit crabs as pets. Every once in a while they would swap shells with one of the empty ones we had in their box.
    Sort of reminds me of how these IFB churches are constantly swapping parishoners.
    I’m glad IFB was never on my radar until I was almost an adult. Most what I’ve learned about IFB has been in the safety of your blog. I had no idea that these churches were so volatile and the membership so fickle.

  4. Ami

    In reference to Dale’s comment up there… I drove past a church awhile back that had this on the marquee…. “When you leave our church service, don’t forget you came.” My husband and I looked at each other and started laughing. And we both said simultaneously, “Must be one hell of a church service.”

    I’ve been on FB too long, I want to like Troy’s and Dale’s comments.

  5. JoAr

    Hilarious and accurate.

  6. Melody

    Awesome! You should write it for real 😉

    1. Sarah

      Agreed. You could make millions!

  7. Sarah

    We could have a reason tract instead of a Bible tract. List everything that lacks logic in the good book, or that pastors and the religious right have done that was stupid but biblical, list and explain the rules of inference and instead of asking people to get saved, we could ask if they have seen the light that the only mistress that any of us should answer to is reason. The goal is not to destroy anyone’s religious beliefs but to reintroduce the concept of basic logic to our society. Maybe instead of asking people if they have been saved, we could ask if they have met Reason yet. Instead of testimony of salvation, we could have testimony of how logic reduces human suffering.

    1. Sarah

      Actually I think I am going to do it. I am tired of the crappy way people treat atheists, women, LGBT kids, and the disabled because they interpreted the Bible as a reason to be mean.

    2. J.D. Matthews

      You’ll like this:

      I know I did.

      1. Sarah

        Yeah. Thanks!!

  8. mikespeir

    Not limited to IFB churches, BTW.

  9. Matilda

    In the UK, the usual way to advertise your amazing new church plant is through free food – barbeques, after-service lunches, gorgeous gateaux with your coffee etc. Lots of kids fun days with bouncy castle, more food and face painting. Deluded but very enthusiastic leaders will get lots of families along to these events and praise the lord for it, but can’t understand why these folk don’t then immediately start coming to the very boring KJV-only services. The dissonance surprises me, it ain’t working….but we will go on ineffectively praying it will one day, oh and do come along next Sunday when pastor X’s l-o-o-ong boring sermon will be from Malachi/Nehemiah/Leviticus or some other unpronounceable book.

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