Skip to comments.More Churches Opening Than Closing Despite Lack of Support
Posted on 04/22/2010 8:38:16 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
ORLANDO, Fla. A newly released LifeWay Research survey of 1,004 Protestant pastors found only 3 percent of their churches served as the primary sponsor of a church plant (new congregation) during the previous 12 months, and only 14 percent gave financial support in partnership with other churches to help start new congregations.
However, a second study completed in partnership with Leadership Network revealed more churches open than close yearly. Only in recent years has the annual number of new churches in the United States outpaced the annual number of churches closing their doors.
Twenty-eight percent of the congregations participated in some way, financial or otherwise, in church plants, LifeWay Research President Ed Stetzer said today during the Exponential Conference, a church-planting seminar in Orlando, Fla. Among that 28 percent, roughly half partnered with other congregations in supporting the new church financially, while 12 percent took direct financial responsibility as primary sponsor of the new church.
Although we see more church planting involvement, we need to see a much higher number of churches starting churches, Stetzer said. It is widely acknowledged that church planting is the most effective form of evangelism. It should be of great concern that only 28 percent of our North American churches helped start new congregations at all, including only 12 percent of those who took primary responsibility.
For too long, churches have assumed that mission involvement and church planting is someone elses responsibility, Stetzer continued. The pay, pray and get out of the way mentality causes churches to pay someone else to do what God has called them to do and that may be part of why so many have become cul-de-sacs on the Great Commission highway.
Far more churches reported participating in missions than church planting, Stetzer noted. A full 85 percent of the pastors said their congregations prayed as a group for missionaries at least once a month during the previous year, and 74 percent said their congregations focused that prayer on a specific mission field or people group. Fifty percent said their congregations conducted one or more short-term mission projects during the past year, and 20 percent reported their churches sent out missionaries who served 10 weeks or longer.
Were glad to see these numbers; prayer is where a heart for missions and church planting begins, Stetzer said. If Gods people are praying, they eventually will hear Him telling them to get their hands working directly in the fields that are white unto harvest, but we have to help our people transition from short-term hands-on involvement to longer-term investment of their lives.
Some of the other survey results, however, do represent a cause for concern, Stetzer added.
Among all Protestant churches surveyed, 5 percent provided one-time direct financial support, such as a cash gift, for a church plant, and 4 percent provided tangible support, such as equipment or rent-free meeting space, Stetzer said.
Although most churches are not currently involved in church planting, there is evidence increases in the number of church plants and the response to church planting events to suggest a growing interest and involvement in church planting. According to new research reported in the recently released book Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers by Stetzer and Warren Bird, all types of church leaders can become movement makers.
Citing several of the practical examples in Viral Churches, Stetzer challenged attendees at the Exponential Conference to adopt future church planters as short-term interns; co-sponsor a new church by loaning people and resources; and provide coaching, whether directly or indirectly, for the leaders of recently launched churches.
For more news and information from LifeWay Christian Resources, visit the LifeWay newsroom at LifeWay.com/news. LifeWay Research Scott McConnell
Ok, you may find this weird, especially in Seattle, but My wife and I started going to a new church a couple months ago that has mushroomed from no members to over a thousand. It is a plant from a north-end church that wend from none to over five thousand in just a few years.
And It looks pretty much like most of these people are not just transplants from other churches. The place is radically different. One week the pastor was wearing a T-Shirt that said “God loves porn stars”. It may not be what you think. They were doing a partnership with xxxchurch.com that week.
So far we really like what we are hearing, regarding it’s correlation to what the bible teaches, not to mention its apparent impact on people’s lives. There seems to be a revival going on in Seattle right now.
How nice to hear.
Perhaps people are hungry now for something that teaches them self respect and confidence rather than just self love.
My wife and I have been part of three church plants and it can be the most fulfilling service to be part of and most frustrating at the same time. If you take the analogy further that Christ uses of He as the groom and the Church as the bridegroom, a healthy “union” should produce offspring (new churches). Why then, such a low level of support from existing churches?
One week the pastor was wearing a T-Shirt that said God loves porn stars.
Well, to be frank, I think a lot of them are there for the same reason revivals tend to happen in the first place. That is, they know something’s wrong with the world and their life (exacerbated by current events) and they are looking for answers. Whether they actually become Christians depends on them, God, and what goes on in the church once they show up.
Unfortunately, many people choose a mosque or Buddhist temple rather than a church, but you just do what you can.
Think of it in the context of the woman at the well or the woman accused of adultery and you’ll get the gist of where he was headed.
Catholic Churches have been closing for decades (and many only remain open thanks to financial support from those who fled their parishes decades ago) and American society has been growing more secularized (and would become more so if we didn’t let in religious Third World immigrants to fill the pews). The nature of American protestantism has trended toward separatism rather than consolidation anyway, so these findings don’t surprise me.