Why Church Planting
With about 350,000 evangelical churches in North America, some might say that we have enough. But consider these facts:
- For every new church that opens, four close.
- 19.4 % decline in church attendance in the past decade alone
- Only 28% of people ages 23-37 attend church, as opposed to 43%-52% for older generations.
- Only one county in America has a greater church population than it did ten years ago.
- 15,000 people per month convert to Islam in the U.S.
- 290 million people in the US. 65% or 188 million have no vital church connection.
- If we were to start new churches of 1000 people each, we would need almost 200,000 new churches in the United States to win all these people.
- According to Billy Graham, about 75% of all those who consider themselves Christians and regularly go to church are really not Christians. So we need to win not only all of those “outside” the church but also many of those “inside” the church.
- The U.S. has the 4th largest population of unreached people in the world, after India, China, and Malaysia.
- The U.S. is 14th on the list of nations RECEIVING missionaries from other countries.
- 85 % of all churches in America are either plateaued or are
declining (Win Arn, Church Growth Expert; found in Aubrey Malphurs, Planting
Growing Churches. Page 13.)
- Of the 85% that are growing, 14% are doing so by transfer from other churches. (Malphurs, page 32) Even with all those churches out there, 65% of North American’s (~200 million people) have no church affiliation and do not
consider themselves Christians.
That means that only 1 out of 100 of the churches that claim to be “evangelical” are actually winning non-Christians to Christ. We desperately need more “Great Commission” churches.
The Single-most Effective Evangelistic Methodology.
As good stewards we must ask ourselves how we will spend our limited resources. Do we reenergize existing churches or work on starting new ones? The answer might be found in the following quote from Peter Wagner, a leading expert in church renewal:
I begin this book with a categorical statement that will seem bold and brash to some at first sight, even though it has been well substantiated by research over the past two or three decades: The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches. (Wagner, “Church Planting For a Greater Harvest,” Page 7.)
Those who have tried both will attest to the fact that it takes much more energy to bring new life into an existing church than to start a new one. As Audrey Malphurs puts it, “It is easier to have a baby than to raise the
Christian Schwarz in Natural Church Development surveyed over 1,000 churches from 32 countries and 6 continents. He discovered that new churches of 100 were 16 times more effective in winning new converts to Christ than megachurches.
Clearly, we need more churches that are passionate and effective in winning the lost to Christ.