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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

FREE Church Planting Resources

Free is good. So is church planting.

I'm really sick of supposedly smart people saying dumb stuff like, "We have enough churches already, why should we plant more?" and say it with a really sneering or annoyed vibe.

Beyond the stats that might suggest that our churches per capita is at a low point in history, the bottom line is: Quality. We really don't have enough healthy, vibrant, orthodox churches.

We have so many churches that should be closed because they are toxic. Not only are they not expanding the Kingdom of God, they are in fact doing damage by turning people off to Jesus because their church belligerant behavior. And a lot of them have these god-awful buildings built in the sixties and seventies that should be razed when the congregation is closed. The landscape could be prettier too with closing these churches.

And we have plenty of churches that are honest to goodness heretics. There are the obvious factions within the mainline offenders but there are evangelical ones also like oneness churches or other self-help or prosperity gospel churches that don't preach repentance from sin and salvation through Jesus Christ.

We need new churches and lots of them. Not just a few but tens of thousands of them. Literally we need to pollute the landscape with them.

Several months back, St. Brad of Abet posted an interesting article about a church planting effort in NYC. The article is listed at the A/G News Site. The A/G Church is part of a group that wants to plant 700 churches in NYC in the next decade. The article calls it an "ambitious plan". I say that's still small thinking. Why do we believe God can do so little?

That's 70 churches a year for a decade. What if those churches averaged 1000 people in attendance and at the end we had 700,000 people in those churches. Sure that's a lot. But as the article states, "While the city's five boroughs claim 8.1 million residents, an estimated 22 million people live within 50 miles of Times Square." That's still only 3% of 22 mil and the population will likely have grown by then. Is that all God can do? Maybe it's all he can do with lazy butts like ours.

On the one hand it's great that we are thinking so "ambitiously" but on the other hand, Barna's prophetic book of the Frog In The Kettle has come true. We've been are boiling to death and don't see it. We really are blind to how ineffective the church has become and how church attendance has plummeted.

What if Dave Olsen's stats are true that only 16-18% of the population is in church on Sunday morning? As Dave quipped, "You don't see any serious traffic problems on Sunday morning do you?" No Dave, we don't. That ought to scare the pants off us right there.

If your denomination's judicatory, or even the current church you attend, doesn't have church planting as one of it's top priorities shame on them! Demand a change in priorities or a change in leadership if that is the case.

We need new quality churches people! I'm not sure how this is going to happen but over the next 5 years I want to be directly supportive of and/or the inspiration or impetus behind 5 churches being born. I'm not suggesting I'm going to pastor any or all of them — of course, there are plenty of people who would suggest I not pastor sheep let alone churches! They may be right. But I feel called to somehow be directly involved in seeing new churches come to life.

One other church planting resource: St. Brad of Abet has a Resource List at his site including
Getting Started: A Church Planting Handbook for Laypeople by Brad Boydston.

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