Recently I co-taught a session at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures entitled, “Why You Should Not Plant a Church.” The title is a little tongue-in-cheek. We basically said one should not plant a church unless you are willing and able to face certain realities. There is nothing “sexy” about church planting.
Don’t plant a church unless:
- You have spent a lot of time in prayer first.
- God has clearly revealed to you His desire to use you in this way.
- Your faith is mature and you are willing to continue to grow.
- Your family is with you.
- You are prepared to fight spiritual battles.
- You are prepared for hard work.
- You are committed to the vision God has given you.
- You are prepared to manage your time effectively.
- You are ready to experience disappointment, heartache, and pain.
- You can handle freedom.
- You are willing to grow.
- You are prepared to meet people where they are.
- You are passionate about developing relationships with non-Christians.
- You are prepared to face opposition (even lose friends because of your convictions).
- You are willing to face risk.
- You are prepared to experience joy of changed lives.
- You are ready for an adventure.
These are all based on my own personal experiences. Church planting is certainly not for everyone!
Which point speaks to you?
What else have you experienced and grown from?
10 Lessons Learned in Urban Church Planting
How Great Church Planters Think
The church in America is in decline. According to research by Gallup, church attendance in the U.S. has fallen from 62 percent in 1994 to 53 percent in 2012, a 9% loss. One example is the Churches of Christ, which have declined by 9.8% since 1990.
Since 1990, the population in the U.S. has grown from 250 million to 320 million, an increase of 22%. If the U.S. population continues to grow at this rate and church attendance continues to decline at its current rate over the next 25 years, it will take approximately 1.6 million new Christians per year just to keep pace with the population growth.
Research by Olson (2005) indicates that new churches grow faster than old ones. In fact, once the average church reaches 40 years of age, it actually begins decreasing.
According to The Christian Post, 4000 new churches are planted each year. However, if we figure that they have an average attendance of 200 people (perhaps an unrealistic assumption), we are still 4000 churches shy of staying even with current trends.
What does this mean? Either we need better methods of evangelism or we need more churches. Perhaps the old adage, “It is easier to have a baby than raise the dead” is an apt lesson in this case. My post, Boom or Bust? State of the Church in America, discusses additional reasons to plant churches.
We need more churches!
Why Plant Churches?
Boom or Bust? State of the Church in America
What leadership trait attracts Millennials most? A sense of purpose. This is according to a recent study by Deloitte.
The study, which surveyed 7,800 Millennials across 29 countries, revealed that 6 out of 10 Millennials (those born between 1980 and 2000) said a sense of purpose was part of the reason they chose to work for their current employer.
As far as the individual traits of leaders, Millennials admire the ability to inspire, strategic thinking, decisiveness, interpersonal skills, passion, and someone who is a visionary. The graphic below illustrates these findings.
What are the implications for ministry from this research? We need to pay attention to how we communicate our mission and vision. If we come across as wishy-washy or indifferent, we will not attract the younger generation. We must communicate our passion for our spiritual beliefs. This does not mean giving lip service; it means being authentic from the inside out. We can only attract Millennials when they know that we are committed to walking the walk.
What other implications can you draw from this research?
You can download the full report here.
Millennials and God: New Study
Millennials Open to Spiritual Discussions
This video illustrates nine Christian communities throughout Switzerland and England. Community provides these people a place to rest, belong, and live a common life.
Trevor Saxby describes the history of Christian community below.
What are the benefits or drawbacks to living in this manner?
For more information on being this kind of community, go to the website, Living in Community.
Missional Community Profile–Soma
The Art of Hospitality
Church events can be good or bad. It depends on why we do an event and what our expectations are for it. Following is an excellent chart by Tony Morgan that clearly illustrates healthy vs. unhealthy events. Sometimes an event becomes a tradition and we lose focus of its significance. Carefully consider the chart and decide if your church event fit into the unhealthy column. If so, it is time to either revise it or drop it altogether.
Four Marks of Vital Churches
Old Model Church Vs. New Model Church