Holland Davis: 10 Key Points For When A Church Moves Next Door To Your Church

Holland Davis: 10 Key Points For When A Church Moves Next Door To Your Church


By Holland Davis


Recently I’ve been in conversations with pastors who have encountered the scenarios listed below. Here are two of the most common scenarios mentioned.


SCENARIO # 1: You’ve been pastoring a church for 15 years and a church in your same denomination decides to plant a new church right next door to you. How do you respond? Do you egg the front door of the church?


SCENARIO # 2: You’re a new church plant and a mega church opens a satellite campus a mile from your church. What do you do? Do you go down to their parking lot and flyer their cars with invitations to your church?


Now before you judge me, you know in your heart of hearts you’ve thought about doing it. For pastors who have worked hard for a long time or who are starting a brand new work, both scenarios can appear to be devastating and strike fear in their hearts. The fear of the established church thinking their members are going to be lured over to the new happening church. The fear of the new church plant being crushed by the mega church moving into their area. There can be a tendency to respond in anger. How can they do this to me? Why do we need another church in the area? There can be a feeling of inadequacy. Maybe I’m not effective? Maybe I’m no longer relevant? There can be a feeling of discouragement. Maybe my time is over? Maybe it’s time to quit? It can expose a territorialism in our own hearts. Why are they starting another church in MY area?


Regardless of what is exposed, it’s evident it’s a test of the heart. We don’t often know what is in our hearts as leaders until the very foundations of what we do for a living is challenged. That often has to do with the survivability of our church. I spoke with a number of pastors who had been through these challenges. I wanted to collect the learnings. Words of wisdom from men who have withstood the test of challenges in ministry. Here are 10 life lessons from those who have felt the discouragement of a church “encroaching on their territory.” They have been priceless words of encouragement to me and perhaps they will be a help to you.


Give your brother the benefit of the doubt. 

Go talk to him personally. Don’t automatically assume a wrong motive.  Proverbs 18:17 says, “The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him.” Even if your brother does something that is harmful to you or wrong.  We are all serving the same Lord.  We are all doing our best to be led by the Spirit, but we are flawed men.  Flawed as he may be my brother is not my enemy.

Remember that God doesn’t measure you against your brother. 

2 Corinthians 10:12 says, “For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. “ God measures you by your faithfulness to the call He has given you.  We measure each other against each other and may even draw the conclusion that my work is more significant, reaching more people so step aside.  That thinking is worldly.  Don’t adopt it.  Rather, be faithful to what God has given you to do.

The reward for success will not be given in this life. 

It will be given in the next.  2 Corinthian 5:10 says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.“ We are all living to hear God say well done good and faithful servant.  Don’t let your drive for success or your perceived lack of success confuse you or distract you.

Don’t let your brother’s insensitivity keep you from responding in love. 

Even if he is unloving to you. In John 13:35 Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  My response isn’t controlled by my brother’s actions.  My response is hopefully controlled by the Spirit at work in my life.

Rejoice with your brother. 

Even he doesn’t rejoice over you. The world does not care about our internal disputes.  In fact, they see it as a mark against the church.  However, when they us preferring each other in love it becomes a testimony that God is real. Romans 12:10 says, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”

Use the opportunity to search your own heart. 

Jeremiah 17:10 says, “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” Are you focused on the things that need to be focused on?  Are you being led by the Spirit or by an outdated tradition?  Are you holding on to a dying methodology?  Are you loving the people?  Are you giving them God’s Word or are you diluting it?  Are you paying attention to what you’ve been given?  Is God doing something else with you?  Is it time to let another come or is it a wake up call to get your head back into the game?

Ask yourself… is it time to quit? 

This is a hard question.  Some pastor’s quit after 1 year.  Some after 2.  Some after 3.  Some after 4.  Some after 7.  It doesn’t matter how long before you quit.  Quitting is in the man, not God’s plan.  If quitting is in you, then now is the time to confront it. Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

Check your vision. 

Is your vision from the Lord?  If it is, then stay the course and be faithful.  Habakkuk 2:3 says, “For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.” If it’s not, then go back to the Lord and ask you for His vision for the ministry.  We know that Jesus’ vision was to seek and save the lost.  He didn’t come to gather the Christians, but to gather the ones that no one else was gathering.  Maybe it’s time to align your vision with Jesus’ vision for evangelism.

Remember, it’s not your church. 

It’s God’s church.  In John 10:27-28 Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand.” If a brother does something to diminish God’s church in an area, then it’s between that brother and the Lord.  Don’t get in the middle of that process by claiming your rights to a territory or a people.  God entrusts people to us.  They are not ours, they are God’s.  If God has called you to be their shepherd, they can’t be stolen. Just love the people God brings and seek out and save the lost.

Ask yourself… what do you want to be known for?


We will all be remembered for something.  Timothy was known for knowing the scriptures. 2 Timothy 3:15 says, “from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Don’t be known for what you’re against.  Be known for what you’re for.  Be known as someone who is for Jesus.  For unity.  For the Word of God. For the fellowship of the brothers.  For blessing others.  For generosity.  For love.


My wife recently sent me a devotion that spoke of Abraham. He was old when he started his ministry. So old that he couldn’t see how God would fulfill His promises through Abraham’s body. He tried to make God’s promises happen through his own effort. But God didn’t choose to use Abraham’s effort. God wanted to fulfill His promise supernaturally to Abraham. Just when Abraham figured his body was as good as dead. Nothing in his life added up. There was no way that Abraham could rely on what he saw in the natural. He was powerless. It was at that moment that God’s power was able to work. Maybe you are in that place today. That is a good place to be in. That means God’s power is about to work. Get ready to receive it.


Holland Davis is husband to Roxie, father to Austin Chase and Madison and the Founding Pastor of Calvary Chapel San Clemente. He is also the author of Let It Rise: A Manual For Worship and the founder of Worshipsong.com. You can follow his blog at hollanddavis.com

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