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Growth of African-American Church Plants

African-American church plants are growing. A new study, conducted by LifeWay Research, revealed that 94 percent of all African-American churches planted since 2007 are still in existence. This is in stark contrast to the 68% survivability rate among all church plants, as reported by the North American Mission Board.

As the graphic below illustrates, there has been a steady increase in attendance in these churches over the past seven years.


The average worship attendance in African-American churches for the first year was 37. This number doubled by year four.

What is causing the growth in attendance? The research discovered three main characteristics:

  1. Delegation of leadership roles to volunteers.
  2. Leadership training for new church members.
  3. A plan of personal spiritual formation for the church planter.

Attendance was also impacted by the worship style used in these churches. The most common worship style used was blended. However, churches that used a distinctive style, such as urban contemporary, had a higher average attendance than those that used the blended style.

The research also indicated specific characteristics of a successful church planter.

  • The largest percentage of church planters (37%) were between 40-49 years old.
  • Most church planters (55%) received specific training prior to planting.
  • Most church planters (66%) had at least a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Most church planters (69%) had an outside job that provided all or partial salary.

Does anything surprise you about this study?
What can we do to ensure the survivability of African-American churches?

The full report by Lifeway Research can be viewed here. 

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