mappinsI see a lot of writing about who should start a church and it is an important question. I think where you start a church is an equally important consideration. Here are three questions that will help you figure it out.

Are you passionate about a people and/or place?
Places are obviously different. Phoenix is hot while Chicago is cold. Miami has beaches and Denver has mountains. People are also different from place to place. I’ll probably offend someone, but I’m pretty sure there are more hipsters in Seattle than Sioux City. The real question is who are you passionate about introducing to Jesus? One of the biggest mistakes you can make in church planting is to be more passionate about the church you’re going to start than the people you’re called to reach.

Is there a need?
The need for new churches is staggering, but sometimes our choices of where aren’t very strategic. I’ve seen new, up and coming suburbs with a new church in every school and community center, while 10 miles away is a neighborhood that hasn’t seen a new church in 50 years. Think like a missionary, look for a people or a place that is unreached, or at least under-reached.

Can you reach them?
Be careful if you’re first reaction is, “of course I can.” I personally would need just as much Holy Spirit speaking through me to reach hipsters in Seattle as I would Muslims in Tehran. I don’t speak either language or understand either culture. I do believe God gifts some people as cross-cultural missionaries. If that’s you, there will be people you can reach that others can’t. If not, know yourself well enough to go to a people and place where you can be effective.

Find the place where the answers to these three question come together and you’ll have a good idea where you should start a church.