Considering what we know about church planting and how it impacts our communities, being on the front line of church planting can be an exciting endeavor. Starting a new Christian fellowship that is naturally oriented towards outreach and evangelism is a great privilege. Steven M. Pike has some challenging thoughts for existing churches and how they should be involved in church planting:
We may profess to have warm hearts, but our behavior has been tepid at best. Since 1990, American church leaders have been bombarded with an axiom that originated in a C. Peter Wagner book:
“Church planting is the best methodology of evangelism under the sun.”
Most leaders are aware of this phrase, but our collective behavior indicates that we do not believe it is true. The church that intentionally gives people time and finances to plant new churches is the rare exception, not the rule. The prevailing and most celebrated model of church growth and evangelism is the growing megachurch. Little or no recognition is given to churches that reach the lost by planting churches.”
There are crusades, outreach programs, video projects, and other methods that are effective, but nothing has a greater evangelistic impact on a community than planting a church. The newness and excitement draws people to hear the gospel. People are saved and unlike many of the other methods, they are drawn into a fellowship to be discipled.
The United States – A mission field
During the last decade, more people in the United States have become churchless than live in Australia or Canada. The number of adults who are unchurched has increased by 30%. When asked whether these people know a churchgoer, they replied that they did and had decided their time was better spent doing other things. We must establish new churches that change the perception and tide of opinion – while at the same time are unwaveringly committed to teaching the truth of Scripture and the need for a Savior.