This is bound to be a somewhat sensitive subject for my locale. We have two churches (at least) in our area that are currently pursuing the sale of their existing property to build new facilities elsewhere. We also have other churches who are currently involved in building projects as well. At the outset, let me say that I am not trying to criticize or deride any of our sister churches in our area by my comments. This entry is simply to shed more light on the subject of church growth and health. Many who will read this are not aware that there are other options than building when a church begins to grow.
I think this will end up being a multi-part entry, so stay tuned for more additions to it…
When you talk about whether to building vs. planting, you must first identify the reasons for building. Traditionally, most churches never think of planting a new church. Rather, they first consider the option of increasing their current facilities, or building new facilities to replace outdated ones. There are many emotional issues at stake as well.
Identifying the Reasons that Most Churches Build
Here are some of the most common:
- The church is growing and space is needed.
- The current location of the church is undesirable.
- The belief that new facilities would create more momentum and help with additional church growth.
- The church wishes to create new ministry opportunities.
- Current facilities are inadequate for ministry needs.
Unfortunately, I believe that many churches are led to build by enthusiastic church leaders and members who think that the only option for their growing church is for it to become continually bigger. In this ebbing age of mega-churches, it is a rare pastor or leader who can put the brakes on ego, appearance of achievement, and reputatiion to deeply examine the why’s of building.
Few people realize that planting new churches has always been more effective than adding on, or building new facilities for an existing church. Consider these points, drawn from Dawn Ministries:
- New churches grow faster than old ones.
- Church planting can give new life and vitality to your church
- More types of churches are needed
- Church planting develops new leadership
- Church planting is the best method of evangelism in a nation
- New churches can stimulate existing churches.
- Church planting will bring a new awareness and compassion for the lost.
- Church planting often re-emphasizes the principle of sowing and reaping.
- Church planting will bring a world vision to your church.
Obviously, there are many good reasons to consider planting a new church and investing your church’s resources into a new plant. In my next entry, I hope to examine why churches have NOT considered church planting as a viable option to extend and build the kingdom of Christ. I’d be interested in your input at this point!
There are some excellent resources available online for church members and leaders to consider. Here are a few of them:
- New Churches
- Church Planting Village
- Evangelical Free Church of America’s Planting Page
- YWAM’s Church Planting Page
Floyd McClung, the International Executive Director of YWAM (Youth With A Mission) says,
“It is not enough to do evangelism or to plant a single congregation. We have not done our job unless a movement of fully indigenous, mission-minded, multiplying churches is planted in a people group. Then they can evangelize their own people, city or nation.”