We haven’t spent much time on church planting since we began this blog. But that was one of the reasons for the blog, to discuss and promote planting new churches. There is a need to have churches that reach the lost. My congregation is trying to move into the mind-set of winning the lost instead of trying to incorporate current Christians from other congregations into our fellowship. They are welcome, but moving sheep from one shepherd and field to another, is not the purpose of the church. Reaching the lost is our work (e.g. Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).
I now lead a group whose purpose is to start churches in the area of the participating churches, even expanding the area. We have located 3 and maybe 4 spots that need a church. Why? What reasons are there for planting a church especially when there are other churches in the area?
1. Huge numbers of North Americans call for new churches. The average size of churches in America are under 125 people. In fact, that’s about 90% or more of American churches. There is a need for more churches since certain growth limits apply.
2. The number of churches in North American have actually decreased in proportion to the population. With over 300 million people living in America and church growth as a whole failing to come close to keeping up with population growth, more churches are needed to fulfill the need of winning the lost to Christ.
3. New churches reach lost people better than any other form of evangelism. Most new churches that come into existence grow by winning the lost to Christ while existing churches have the tendency to share sheep (see the quote with the picture at the beginning of the post).
4. The older churches grow, the less evangelistic they become. Only about one half of American churches added one new Christian in the past year. My own congregation grew by 2 families and 1 individual last year (7 total; we average about 45), but didn’t add a single new Christian. By the time most churches reach 15 years, they have reached their maximum size.
5. Many current churches are in survival mode and will eventually close. The life of a church is similar to human life, 70-100 years. 9 out of 10 churches are on the down side of their life-span. So new churches are needed.
6. Half of all people in the US and Canada live in just 43 cities with populations over 1 million. Yet, only 1 out of 9 Bible believing churches exist in these cities. Many people in these densely populated cities have the least opportunity to hear about Christ.
7. New Churches are needed to reach the growing ethnic population in America. Immigration is the fastest source of population growth in North America. In America, one-third of the population are ethnic Americans. M.O.V.E. (Missouri Operation for Vigorous Evangelism) established a Hispanic congregation in Columbia (MO) in the second of half of 2009 and it is growing.
8. Today’s churches are not reaching today’s young people. Most people become Christian before age 20 but only 4% below the age 22 are saved.
9. Our children and grand-children need room for them to become responsible Christians and leaders. People are more committed to and responsible to ministries that they help lead.
10. New churches will counteract the rise of false religions in America. As America becomes more diverse ethnically, it has become the most diverse religiously. They bring their religions with them and Christianity is on the decline.
These are just 10 reasons for planting new churches. For further detail, go to http://sharperiron.org/2007/01/22/ten-reasons-for-church-planting (where I gleaned this particular information) and read the full article at SharperIron .org.