Need a reminder of the benefits of starting a new church? Stay inspired with this encouraging infographic.
With an estimated 350,000 churches in America, do you ever wonder why denominations and churches are investing time and money into starting new churches?
Aren’t there plenty already in existence?
While it’s true there are churches on many corners in our country, there’s more to the story.
IDENTIFYING THE NEED TO START NEW CHURCHES
According to a Lifeway Study, the trend is clear: far fewer churches are opening compared to the amount that has closed their doors. For example, in 2019, approximately 3,000 Protestant churches were started in the U.S., but 4,500 Protestant churches closed.
We need to plant more churches to bridge that gap.
But that’s not the only reason to start new churches. What about fulfilling The Great Commission?
“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:16-20)
It’s clear that we are instructed to GO and make disciples. While some have taken that to mean simply evangelizing, scholars like Tim Keller point out that’s not the case. Years ago, he stated:
“Virtually all of the great evangelistic challenges of the New Testament are basically calls to plant churches, not simply to share the faith. The Great Commission (Matt. 28:18–20) is a call not just to “make disciples” but to baptize. In Acts and elsewhere, it is clear that baptism means incorporation into a worshiping community with accountability and boundaries (cf. Acts 2:41–47). The only way to be truly sure you are increasing the number of Christians in a town is to increase the number of churches.”
In addition, notice there’s no qualifying statement here – we are simply to go and make disciples. Jesus doesn’t tell us to stop when we reach 300,000 or when we’ve run out of places to construct buildings. He simply gives us a mandate.
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NEW CHURCHES MAKE GOOD SENSE
Thankfully, in the past few decades, starting new churches has become more attainable and feasible. This is the result of a combination of factors, including –
- Believers catching the vision of the importance of the local church
- Dissatisfaction with the ways of the older church model
- Can be more affordable than maintaining existing facilities
And let’s not forget the innovative creativity of those first churches who began in a portable setting, meeting in schools and community centers. They paved the way for boundless opportunities to start new churches!
While starting new certainly doesn’t solve every struggle the Church faces today, there are plenty of benefits. Church planting is tremendously labor-intensive, so these encouraging reminders can become a motivation to pastors and church planting teams.
5 Benefits of Starting a New Church
1. More affordable than renovating
Some churches are started out of practicality. With aging architecture, many churches find that starting a new church by renting a facility and purchasing portable equipment is far more affordable than renovating an existing building or purchasing brand new.
2. New churches are committed to growth
The folks who lead and attend a new church have growth in their bones. Here’s what we mean: Consider a church full of people who’ve attended for generations and raised their kids in that faith community. They want to see people come to faith but they also grieve that old, small church of decades ago.
Compare that to a handful of families who caught the vision to start a new church. Unlike an older congregation that might be focusing on other endeavors and forgotten about the mandate of growth, church plants know that growth is the strategy. There’s no surprise when the parking lot is overfull and the kidsmin rooms are bursting at the seams – everyone involved knew this was the hope, prayer, and plan.Church plants have growth in their bones. There’s little lamenting when the parking lot is overfull and the kidsmin rooms are bursting at the seams. Everyone involved knew growth was the hope, prayer, and plan. Click To Tweet
3. Strong reputation for reaching unchurched
With little to no reputation and zero history, a church plant can start with the ultimate clean slate. It can be designed to reach a variety of socioeconomic groups and have success in doing so.
The “all are welcome” atmosphere is welcoming and inviting and typically attracts unchurched individuals faster than existing churches.
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4. It’s an act of obedience
Like we discussed above, “going” and making disciples are our instructions as believers. If an area doesn’t have a visible church building welcoming visitors, it’s an indication that someone hasn’t yet answered the call.
Dave Early in an article at Church Plants said it well:
“Any Great Commission initiative that does not result in the forming of new churches misses the mark.”
5. Creates a culture of community
New churches go through a season (or lifetime!) of portability and flexibility, which means gathering teams of volunteers and training up leaders to carry out the mission.
When you consider starting a children’s ministry from scratch or creating an environment that appeals to all ages, the burden is heavy. Thankfully, it’s a weight that is shared and out of it is born a culture of service and community.
The individuals who are choosing to serve and worship at a new church are on the ground level celebrating a culture of service to the mission, to one another, and to the transformation that comes along with it.
We like the way Pastor Tim Gephart of Reunion Campus at Plainfield Christian Church compared his new church’s physical transformation to the redemption of believers:
“The campus starts as a middle school and becomes the gathering place for a community of believers. There’s something beautiful about watching a building be transformed by a group of people who have themselves been transformed by the love of a Savior.”
People who’ve been in the trenches starting new churches can talk extensively about the benefits of being portable and the need that creates for recruiting and honoring volunteers.
ENCOURAGEMENT FOR CHURCH PLANTING TEAMS
Many leaders and pastors have put their thoughts to pen and shared their understanding of church planting to be a natural and expected part of the faith. We’ve collected a handful of them and created an infographic with their quotes about the importance of planting churches.
If you know a church planter or someone on a church planting team, send them this link and they can view and print the poster for free. Church planting isn’t for the faint of heart and this encouraging gesture will make a big impact.