“It seems like there are already so many churches in America.
Why do we need to plant new ones?”
Good question! Attendance at most existing churches is on the decline. Why wouldn’t we just encourage them to be more active in reaching out to the unchurched?
Fortunately, it’s not an either/or answer. It’s both/and.
Established churches absolutely should continue to make every effort to make disciples of Jesus among all peoples. We at Kairos are dedicated to equipping churches to do this more effectively (more on that soon in an upcoming email).
But making every effort also means that established churches should plant new churches for new people.
1. New churches are most effective at reaching younger generations.
Typically, the older a congregation is, the more ingrained their traditions are in critical areas like worship styles, preaching, leadership, emotional responsiveness, and receptivity to outsiders. This can present a daunting barrier to those who aren’t used to the way things are done.
Planting new churches allows for the possibility of developing new church cultures that are just as Biblical as the older ones, but feel more accessible to younger unchurched people.
2. New residents are almost always drawn more to new congregations.
About 13% of Americans move annually. That means that all of these people are “new” to their location. Research consistently indicates that the most effective way to reach these people for Christ is by planting new churches.
Older churches gain 80–90% of their new members in the form of transfers from other congregations. New churches, on the other hand, gain 60–80% of their new members among people with no church affiliation.
3. New ethnic and cultural groups in a community are much more likely to seek out newer churches.
The United States has the largest immigrant population in the world. Over a million people come into the US through this process each year.
If we wait for these new people groups to become assimilated into the local culture and then try to bring them in through the door of established churches, it will take several years to begin to reach them.
New congregations can be initiated with the view of being intentionally multiethnic from the very start.
First century believers recognized that we should never put barriers in the way of people coming to Christ. Their approach was that “we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God” (Acts 15:19).
If our passion is truly for the kingdom of God and not just our part of it, we must develop a culture of continually planting new churches for new people.
Will you join us?