I wanted to post some important ideas related to the new church that we are launching in Edmond / OKC, Oklahoma. God is doing some incredibly exciting things with Redemption Church, and I can’t wait to see what God does in the years ahead. Some posts are more personal in nature, but this one is intended to give you some of our reasoning behind starting a new church. I hope it gives you some understanding of how important church planting is to the mission of God. Every church was once a church plant, and I’m convinced that every biblical church should be involved in planting new churches.
Much of the information in this post is summarized and modified from Tim Keller’s influential article, “Why Plant Churches?“, which I highly recommend. The article significantly shaped my thinking about church planting.
A Personal Passion: With about 20 years in ministry, I’ve fallen in love with the excitement, the possibility, and the challenge of starting a new church. As important as that is for me personally, it is more important that I’ve become convinced that the continual planting of new churches is the way that the kingdom of God will grow its influence in our world. The church thrives when she is a multiplying organization. Disciples making disciples and churches planting churches is not only the best way forward–it is the only way forward.
A Biblical Mandate: We are responding to the biblical mandate to plant new churches. When Jesus sent his followers into the world to “make disciples” and “baptize” and “teach,” he was essentially calling them to evangelize, incorporate new believers into churches, and help them grow as authentic disciples of Jesus.
A Common Objection: Well, I’m sure that made sense in the church’s beginning years, but why do we need to plant a new church today in a place where lots of churches exist already?
Top Ten Reasons to Plant New Churches
- New churches are the best way to reach the unchurched. Study after study reveals that the average new church gains 60-80% of its members from unchurched people. Churches that have existed 10-15 years or more gain 80-90% from people who transfer from one congregation to another.
- New churches are the best way to reach new generations. Younger generations are disproportionately found in new churches, primarily because older congregations settle into routines that suit their existing members.
- New churches are the best way to reach new residents. In a new church, new residents are on equal footing with people who have been around a long time.
- New churches are the best way to reach new socio-cultural groups in an area. New churches are much more nimble and able to make cultural adjustments that existing churches would take years to make.
- New churches are the best way to reach the dechurched (those that once attended church, but no longer have any interest in church). Because they often feel “outside the box” and incorporate new styles, new churches tend to break down barriers for people who have been previously turned off by church.
- New churches are the best way to bring new ideas that renew the entire Body of Christ. These ideas help to breathe new life into existing churches and bring about renewal throughout the area.
- New churches are the best way to raise creative, strong leaders for the kingdom. New churches value pioneers, creatives, and innovation, and they create space for new leaders to emerge and bless a city.
- New churches remind us to build Jesus’ Kingdom and not our own kingdoms. Churches tend to institutionalize and can become focused on maintaining their own ministries. Church planting renews our heart for the lost and for the mission of building God’s Kingdom.
- New churches are the best way to challenge existing churches. Seeing a new church engaged in gospel mission may push an existing church to self-examination so that it changes its heart and improves its ministry.
- New churches breathe new life and people into existing churches. Some who start out in a new church will discover they are more comfortable in an existing congregation.
[Summarized and modified from Tim Keller, “Why Plant Churches?” at redeemer.com]
I’d love to hear your thoughts. What surprises you as you read this post? What most resonates with you? Would you be interesting in helping to plant a church? Leave a comment below.