It used to be the case that when you talked to church leaders about church planting, eyes would glaze over, and conversation topics would awkwardly shift. It’s exciting to me that we live in a time when that is changing. Organizations like NewThing, Stadia, Passion For Planting, Orchard Group, and others demonstrate that more and more churches are passionate about planting even more churches across the globe.
Whether you lead a congregation of 50, 500, or 5000 your engagement in church planting is critical to the mission that Jesus gave us to be and make disciples. Multiplication is a charge for each one of us, regardless of budgets or head counts.
Here are 5 reasons why church planting should matter to you:
New Churches Best Reach The Unchurched
My friend and fellow church-planter, Patrick O’Connell, said it well when he wrote, “In all the places where Christianity is thriving, church planting is a priority.”
New churches gain 60-80% from people who are not attending any church whatsoever and baptize 75% more people than churches that are older than 10 years. If we really care about the mission of the Gospel to transform lives, we ought to pay attention to these metrics.
Living Things Grow & Reproduce
Your church, however big or small it may be, is meant to be a living thing. Living things grow. Living things reproduce. Church planting is not one of the things a church does, it’s something that is part of the identity of a living church.
When we stop growing and multiplying, we have stopped reaching more people for the Gospel.
The Need For More Churches Is Real
Recent data from the UN reports that it took thousands of years for the world population to grow to 1 billion, but in the just the last 200 years it grew sevenfold. Today the global population stands at around 7.5 billion. We are not planting nearly enough churches to keep up with this level of growth!
In addition to population boom, the United States is experiencing an overall decline in church attendance. According to Barna Research:
- 48% of all American Adults are considered “post-Christian”
- In just two years, the percentage of Americans who qualify as post-Christian rose from 37% in 2013 to 44% in 2015.
- Overall church attendance dropped from 43% in 2004 to 36% in 2014.
The need for Gospel-preaching, people-loving, outreach-focused churches is real. We’ve got work to do!
Church Planting Keeps Us Humble and Dependent On God
As a leader, there may be times when you feel tempted to make stability the goal: stable budget, stable management. Sometimes you just want to feel like you’ve got a handle on things. But the truth is that if you are not constantly looking to God to come through, your dreams aren’t big enough.
An even greater goal than stability is living a life full of God-sized dreams.
Church planting is not comfortable; it challenges us to pray big prayers, take big risks, and depend on God with everything we’ve got. When we are focused on who God is, and the “bigness” of the mission at hand, we are humbled. None of us knows all the answers, but we know the One who does, and I’m sure we can all agree that lives being transformed by the Gospel of Jesus is worth every prayer, minute, and dollar invested in planting more churches.
Here vs. There, and the Economy of God
Two years ago at 2|42, we had a sharp, talented, high-character guy named Travis Whittaker as a leadership resident on staff. Travis came to me four times during his 18 month residency evaluating if he wanted to plant a 2|42 campus, or go out and plant a brand new church.
Travis felt called by God to plant a church in his hometown, just 15 minutes down the road from 2|42. I was uncomfortable: what if he took our people? What if he took big givers? I wanted to focus on “here,” but it became clear to me over time that God’s next step for Travis was to launch Mile City Church “there.” So, our staff followed God right alongside of Travis. We gave him opportunities to teach and talk about his church from the 2|42 stage, and we gave Travis $100,000 to get started.
Mile City Church launched two years ago, and just launched their second campus a few weeks ago. I had been worried that by investing in a church plant right down the road 2|42 would be negatively impacted. But since Mile City launched, we have actually grown by 1500 people!
Churches helping other churches plant more churches is a winning game plan for all of us. We don’t have to be afraid of investing in kingdom growth. We must not be so focused on our own castles that we lose sight of the Kingdom. When we focus on “there,” the “here” will take care of itself.
Jesus commanded each of His disciples to go and make more disciples. Our mission is the same, and church planting is the vehicle. Each one of us has a place at the church planting table, no matter the size or budget of the church we lead. Let’s trust God for bigger things, and let’s move forward with a multiplication mindset; the need is real, and the charge is ours.
The Best Is Yet To Come,