Another great guest post in the Rookie Pastor Paternity Leave series.
In August I joined The Crossing South Tulsa, a one year old church, to serve as Community Pastor. Over the past few months as I have prepared to transition from a church of 200 years history to a church of one year of history, I have learned a lot about the importance of church planting.
Church planting is not about replacing existing churches, but continuing the work that has already started.
I grew up in an environment that was very unfamiliar with the idea of church planting. The town I grew up in has slowly decreased in size during my entire life and the past three years I have served in a community of 2,000 people. Church planting in these areas is possible, sometimes necessary, but definitely less common. This unfamiliarity with church planting brings about questions and discomfort for some. We have had to opportunity to educate some about the need for church planting that were somewhat hesitant about starting new churches.
Some view church plants more as a split or a disgruntled minister that wants his own church. The truth is, church planters have not all gone rogue against the church and or have a “new” or “better” way to do church. Instead, church planters see a need and a way to reach an area or a group of people that is not being reached. They are following the command to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
Church planting is necessary in America.
I am moving to Tulsa, OK a very “churched” part of the country, some would even call it the buckle of the Bible belt. But even in an environment like Oklahoma, there is a great need for the Gospel. It is estimated that only 20% of Americans are in church on Sunday mornings (and I don’t think the other 80% are going to Sunday night service).
In 1900 there were 28 churches per 10,000 people. In 2000 that number was 12. Today it is closer to 10 churches per 10,000 people. Like with all stats, factors need to be considered like improved travel and the birth of the mega church, but there is still a disparity between what once was and what is today. In fact, just to keep up with the population growth in our country and maintain this ratio we need to be opening 3,300 churches every year.
Today America is the 3rd largest mission field in the world.
Church planting is effective.
Why plant churches? Why take the risk, the stress and the possible failure? To have an impact for the Kingdom. There is an effectiveness that comes with starting from scratch. New churches have improved focus and intentionality. They have not gotten distracted or drifted from their purpose. They are fulfilling the commitment to reach those that are far from God.
What is your perception of church plants, are they helpful or harmful?
Have you personally been a part of a church plant? What was (is) your experience?
Ryne is the Community Pastor for The Crossing in Tulsa. Married to Kate. Read books on Kindle. Watch TV on my computer. Drink coffee, sometimes. Amateur griller and gardener. Lifelong learner. I’d like to travel more. Part of The Kingdom.