Church planting is sexy in church world right now…
many of the planters are young men, full of passion, full of ideas and innovation, and a little bit a piss and vinegar for good measure.
It is a good thing…we need more of it…
in fact, we need a lot more of it…
In 1900 there was church in America for every 430 citizens
In 1906 1/3 of all churches were under twenty five years old (most productive years of a church)
By 1916 53% of the US population were “religious adherents”
After WW1 church planting plummeted…older churches did not want new churches in “our neighborhood”…
Experts now suggest single digit involvement and institutional church extinction by 2050
I have two contentions with church planting/planters
1. We do not need one more church in the affluent suburbs!
Stop it…seriously. Stop it until the all the communities in your area have at least one church. How is it that “God calls” such an enormous number of planters to rich white areas, and calls no one to the diverse, poor areas of town? How is it that “God calls” yet another planter to an area that already has ten churches who believe and act like the church the planter has envisioned, but does not call anyone to areas where there is no church?
It just might be that He doesn’t. The church has largely left the urban centers of our country to their own devices. Thankfully there is a number of planter who are going back into the city, but not enough.
We have an area in Cincinnati that is growing, white, rich…
and I hear planter after planter after planter who feel like they would like to start a church there.
at the very same time, the same areas show up on the news every night…the same areas are complained about, avoided, and left alone. Are you telling me not one of those people is called to plant in an area that is outside what they already know, have experienced, and are used to?
Obviously not every suburban church planter is out of God’s will…Obviously I am a fan of suburban churches, and church plants…but think about it, why would God call the church away from city center, densely populated, filled with diversity, that are historically hubs of influence? I think teh answer is, He doesn’t
2. Stop planting churches to be the opposite of the church you grew up in, or were on staff at, or hate
God calls you to something, not to be the opposite of something. In the end, your vision is not yours, it is just the opposite of what you don’t like. In the end your vision is not spiritual, but emotional or fleshly. In the end, you will end up the same as what you didn’t want to be, because what you hated what a result of heart, not style or method, and yours is as flawed as what you came from.
We need more church plants…and many more church re-plants
The Bridge is a church re-plant…it was re-named, re-located, and re-launched (out of the burbs and into the city)
Re-planting is not church planting…any replant that tries to act like a church plant won’t make it
I get why people would rather start over…re-plants are hard…messy…complicated…stressful…and bloody
Here is our alternative: 80% of church are plateaued or declining
8 out of 10 churches you walk into
80% of churches in view of the on looking world are not healthy, growing, re-producing, or making disciples
this isn’t ok
if this were an economy…capitalism would prevail and churches would be allowed to fail, making room for new church plants…but 80%?
we are looking at a collapse
let alone the failure rate of church plants
Could it be that some of those young men…full of ideas, and passion, need to take their strength and put it toward the less sexy work of rebuilding was it broken for the sake of the universal health of the church (or at least the health of the western church)
Have we put the cart before the horse…planting churches disconnected from another local, healthy, body? Wouldn’t it be better if we took the time to make sick churches healthy, make inward churches outward, make infertile churches reproducing, and then call those churches to plant churches?
I would be interested to see what would happen to the success rate in church planting
In some ways our method of church planting is unnatural. Something is birthed from thin air. Without a church mama who nurtured and supported and protected it in its infant stages.
It may be that our failure rate is directly connected to our lack of effort to in replanting unhealthy churches that would under gird the new churches that are being planted
Either way, something has to change