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You Can do It: How to Start an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church

start ifb church

Repost from 2015. Edited, updated, and corrected.

Warning! Lots of snark and sarcasm ahead!

John “Jesus Lover” Baptiste recently graduated from an unaccredited Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) college. After three or four years of superficially studying the Bible, John received his 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 you 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 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 churchyard, clean the church, play the piano, work in the nursery, teach Sunday School, and anything else you ask them to do. Try to explain to them that, yes God called YOU, but he expects you to bring luggage.

Seventh, much like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, 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. And get baptized. And attend services every time the church doors are open. And tithe. And obey every edit uttered by you from the pulpit.

Eighth, run some ads in the local newspaper and put up flyers on every public bulletin board. Church-hopping members (please see The Fine Art of Church Hopping) from nearby IFB churches will notice the ads and see this as “God leading them” to leave their churches. This is the quickest way to start a new church. And just remember, when they leave your new church a few years later for a 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 IFB 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.

Bruce Gerencser, 63, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 42 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen awesome grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist. For more information about Bruce, please read the About page.

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19 Comments

  1. Avatar
    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. Avatar
    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.

  3. Avatar
    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.

  4. Avatar
    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.

  5. Avatar
    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.

  6. Pingback:How to Start an Independent Baptist Church | Tera News

  7. Avatar
    BJW

    Ha ha. Hey, going along with my comment on the previous post, you could ACTUALLY write a book on How to Start a Church in general. We’ve got the Flying Spaghetti Monster church, and the Satanic Temple (another atheist group mimicking religion). It’s humanism’s time.

  8. Avatar
    DoctorDJ

    But, Bruce! There are no longer local newspapers!
    How am I going to get the word out about my glorious new church?

  9. Avatar
    n palmer

    Wow. Sorry I don’t have any witty comments like the rest of you folks. I’m just genuinely sorry we lost you sir. You’ve not been the only one these last few years. Probably not that so many members are fickle but that they are just people yearning to find something they thought they had or lost. We’re just humans,but thank goodness God loves us after all. Peace to you.

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