In this entry, I’d like to offer up some thoughts about why churches choose NOT to plant. And away we go…
Why Churches Choose Not to Plant:
- A lack of understanding of the nature of the Church
- Ignorance of planting even being an option (even the best option in many cases!)
- Selfish reasons
- A lack of leadership from denominational or church leaders
- Assumptions about the life of their church
- Failure to understand and connect with their community
- Desire for achievement, recognition, or status
- Lack of leadership development
Let me attempt to address the first few reasons in this entry, and I’ll come back to the others in the near future…
A lack of understanding of the nature of the Church
I can really only speak with authority to churches in the States, and even then to churches in the South; however, it is my firm belief that the majority of local church members in our country view the “church” as being their own, local, independent church. They think very little of the fact that they are joined by faith to the saints established in Christ across our world. They suffer from acute myopia when it comes to viewing the church. All they can see is their AWANA program that starts at 5:00 on Sunday or their Mass on Saturday at 6:00. They do not see the richness, depth, and breadth of the Church, nor do they feel any kind of connection with God’s people around the world.
Because of this finite, locale-bound view of the “church,” most fail to see understand that the best way to reach more people for Christ is NOT to build a bigger church but to start new ones.
They fail to understand that the church is NOT an organization that is intended to grow larger but a people that are intended to influence others for their King. When you view the church as an organization or institution, it only makes “sense” that you need a bigger building when you’re cramped in your existing one, or when your existing one no longer is convenient or useful. However, if you see the church as a people intended to influence others toward Christ, buildings are less important than gatherings. And if you want to reach more people, you simply focus on having more “gatherings.”
The church has always been a living, breathing entity. It is the body of Christ.
An excellent online resource for reading about the nature, purpose, and view of the church is found at www.chrisitanity.co.
Ignorance of planting even being an option
It’s sad that in our Americanized culture that we simply default to wanting/needing a new facility rather than examining the strategic and joyful opportunities in actually reaching more people through new congregations. It’s not that churches fail to start new churches; it’s that they fail to even realize they ought to.
Study after study has been done to prove that new churches reach more people than established ones. The missionary Journeys of the New Testament demonstrate that the apostles did not feel that they should just focus on growing the existing churches into mega-churches, complete with gyms, coffee shops, etc. Even sociology and anthropology teach us that new groups will grow faster than older, established ones.
Our ignorance about the powerful effects and opportunities for making new disciples through new church starts reveals that we have somewhere defaulted into believing that church is for us… and only “us.” Not for them. If “they” want to come, then “they” need to come where “we” are… Heaven forbid that we start new gatherings where they are.
Husbands and wives have children… So do churches. Let’s not be ignorant about our biology as a church.
More to come… But give me your thoughts in the meantime…