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

start ifb church

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, preferably where White people live — 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, conflate 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 no one must know 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 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 do 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 edict 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, 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, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen 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.

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  1. Avatar
    Karuna Gal

    Bruce, you spent waaay too much money and time getting credentials from a Bible College. You can become a minister for free and, better still, you don’t really have to believe in anything to do it. And it’s free and legal! Go to the Universal Life Church website, sign up and get your ministerial certificate today. Start your very own church/temple/mosque/ashram/coven/whatever and take in the moola. (Oh, and you can buy a collar on the website and look legit.) 😄
    But seriously – I was just cleaning out my files and found a ULC gift ministerial certificate a friend gave me years ago. Interesting that my discovery coincided with the subject of your post today. 😉

  2. Avatar

    I think a,lot of the Southern Baptist preacher boys put in time as youth pastors or assistant pastors before getting the top job.

    Some of the male teachers at the fundamentalist Christian school I attended were IFB pastors. They’d start up some tiny church in a rented office space with about 30 people and act like Jesus wanted that. Those little churches didn’t last long…..

  3. Avatar
    John S.

    Bruce- you should market “IFB survival kits”- you can advertise them on the YouTube prepper channels- it will be an orange 5 gallon bucket with a lid. Inside will be a waterproof KJV Bible, a stainless steel collection plate, 50 year shelf stable crackers and freeze dried grape juice powder (NOT wine!) in a sealed container (for communion), an inflatable pool for full-immersion baptism (no sprinkling in our bunker!), and an IKEA style altar that can be assembled with no screws or nails. Everything you need for a revival service when SHTF—unless it’s the rapture in which case you won’t need it anyway..unless you weren’t really saved to begin with..I think I got that right..this stuff does get confusing..

  4. Avatar

    And when that ‘brand spanking new Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church’ which alone in town has True Christians in it, fails. Then don’t forget to proclaim that this awesome God who told you to start it and preach only Pure Doctrine, has now given you another hotline message to close it. Nothing to do with not enough members or finances coming in, no, no never, definitely not that! It’s All Part Of God’s Wndrous Plan And Mysterious Ways which we mortals will never fathom.

  5. Avatar

    Arrogance is the thread that sees all of this together. If you believe the all powerful creator of the universe has chosen you it’s hard to remain humble despite scriptural admonitions to do so. The holier the roller the more arrogant they are.

  6. Avatar
    Brian Vanderlip

    Holy smoke! Reading these submissions puts Gawd’s very voice into me and I do declare that we have the makings of the one finally true church here, right here in the making… But before I go into depth in that regard, I need to mention the matter of outstanding tithes and offerings…

  7. Avatar

    The holier the roller the more arrogant they are.

    Afraid so. A relative was rabidly evangelical, but when they got the gift of tongues, it ramped up to new heights. Their message was, “Yeah, (yawn) get saved and avoid hell, but GET TONGUES AND BECOME GOD’S ELITE TROOPS.”

      • Avatar
        Karuna Gal

        Bill’s comment reminds me of what a Hindu monk once said to me: “Everyone says Chrrrrist is coming.” Well timed pause. Then, with amusement and a big grin the monk said, “NO ONE is coming.” Then he chuckled a bit. I chuckled, too. After all, 2,000 years and counting and people are still waiting for Chrrrrist to show up.
        There is a Monty Python sketch where a sportsman’s coach makes the sportsman do more and more crazy and dangerous things to set a new record. Finally the sportsman gets killed. So the coach stands next to the sportsman’s grave and says that the sportsman will set a new record for the longest time spent underground. I think that record is still held by J. Chrrrrist.

    • Avatar
      Yulya Sevelova

      It probably would be billions,rather than millions. And one reason why this could happen, is because of the failures of the American churches, which are controlled by Americanism, the urge to run churches as simply businesses that makes lots of money,and are held to strict schedules, which interfere with worship itself. After decades of this,along with spiritual abuse running rampant, why should anyone be surprised at all the people who refuse to convert to Jesus !! Very timely to consider on Resurrection Sunday. Very creepy. Not to mention the strange news about the red heifers being bred and rounded up for this huge altar being constructed for use in the Third Temple. Yeah, this appeared on Google trends for the last few days. Busy with other things, I had no idea this was going on. So this is going on right now, but are these business oriented churches paying attention? Is Steve Furtick, who didn’t permit the terms like ” resurrection” or ” crucifixion” to be listed in the services for today, going to mention these red cows ? People ARE trying to force these end- time events to commence, since the Apocalypse is moving ” too slow” for THEIR liking. Goading Putin, who’s now threatening a wider war lately. His warships just entered the Red Sea a few days ago. To back up Syria, no doubt. The Houthis say that they’ll give Russia and China a free pass, there. May even offer logistics assistance. Real crazy 💩 these days. American churches have failed the country,and failed the world also ! When bringing up the rapture, keep this fact in mind.

      • Avatar
        Yulya Sevelova

        You know, that particular subject is on You Tube, warning people that if they have resentments that they haven’t forgiven, they won’t go to Heaven,and will miss the rapture. This, among other reasons for that situation. Creepy.

        • Avatar
          ... Zoe ~

          I lived inside that world Yulya. No one was ever assured of their salvation. Part Once Saved Always Saved (assurance supposedly) and Part 5 point Tulip Calvinism or 3 point. They would preach blessed assurance with a big BUT. BUT are you really saved? BUT have you repented of your last sin? Whether it be resentments, unforgiveness, not tithing enough, gossip, attending the theatre, missing a church service to attend to your dying grandfather and the BUT’s go on . . . and the BUT’s go on.

          It was very common for the preacher’s to warn so-called Christians, that they might not be Christians at all. Alter calls ad nauseum. All it served was to keep people filled with anxiety and bereft of joy.

  8. Avatar
    Brocken I hate saying this, but if I want a book on how to start an IFB church or be a bivocational pastor, I won’t use your book as a source. Instead, if the one-time acting sheriff of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin decides to publish a book on how to Start your own IFB church, I would be very interested in getting a copy. The author of this blog was unable to secure a good pension following his 25 years of service in the ministry and the various other jobs he had. Richard Schmidt was far more successful at fleecing the people of Wisconsin than Bruce Gerencser could ever have been at any time in his life. I’m being sarcastic.

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