Over the past ten to fifteen years, planting churches has become increasingly in vogue. With the rise of edgy, hipster churches like the Village Church, Sojourn Community Church, and others, it seems like every 20-something and 30-something Christian leader wants to plant a church. While all of the churches listed above are great churches doing great ministry, it isn’t the success of a handful of some church plants that (should) motivate the planting of other churches.
Why Plant Churches?
We’ve begun our Church Planting Coaching Program called Blueprint based on the reality is that there is a desperate need for new churches to be planted all across the United States. Consider the following statistics:
- There are 120 million non-churched people in America, making America one of the top five largest “unchurched” nations in the world.
- The number of unchurched in the U.S. has doubled from 1991-2004.
- Each year, 3,500-4,000 churches close their doors forever, while only 1,500 new churches are started.
- 80-85% of American churches are on the downside of their life cycle.
- In 2004, the latest year available, there are only 11 churches for every 10,000 Americans.
- From 1900-2000, the number of churches in the U.S. rose by 50% while the nation’s population nearly quadrupled.
These statistics* reveal a harsh reality that most of us have known for years (but have perhaps suppressed). The American church is in decline, and is in desperate need of new life and revitalization if there is any hope for the advancement of the Gospel in this nation. However, critics of church planting generally submit one or more of the following objections:
- Church planting is too expensive.
- Christian leaders should focus solely on revitalizing older churches instead of planting new ones.
- There are already too many churches in a particular area.
- Mega-churches should pick up the slack from dying churches.
How should we respond to these objections? Stay tuned for the second part of the article to address, rebute, and explain these issues further.
* NOTE: The statistics from this book are from Planting Missional Churches by Ed Stetzer.
*NOTE: An earlier version of this post included a reference to Mars Hill which has been removed as it no longer exists as an organization.
New to church planting? The Malphurs Group offers a Church Planting Coaching Program for those beginning the church planting process. Click here for more information.