Ok, here's the deal. I recently received an informal invitation at our church address to go to a 1 DAY CHURCH PLANTING CONFERENCE. My issue with what we call "church planting" is that it is all about establishing a new church in an area that already has a Gospel witness. Can we really call that church planting? Or is it just a multisite endeavor a few miles away from the host church for those too lazy to drive another 10 miles? For instance I know that there is a large church a few miles south of where we are that wants to plant a church a few miles north of where we are. Within just a couple mile radius of our church there are 6 or 7 other churches.
I understand if the current church is not doing anything to reach the community something must be done. Well in all honesty it's not the churches problem it's the believers problem who attend those churches. They are just attending church and not being the church. From their book ON THE VERGE by Alan Hirsch and Dave Ferguson (which I highly recommend to any church leader) they say that most Western churches are fighting for the same 40% of people while the 60% that don't have anything to do with church still go unreached. (follow @OnTheVergeBook on twitter)
So is planting a "new" church the answer?
I say plant the Gospel and watch the church grow. If you want to see a neighborhood changed for the glory of Christ instead of putting money towards a facility; facilitate the Gospel spreading in that neighborhood then see the church flourish.
Now I know what I may say right here may sound disconcerting towards church planting but that is not my heart or intention. I just feel that there are many people who want to set up THEIR kingdom, THEIR way, and be the next big preacher.
But the reality is that we don't need more churches we need better Christians who take the mission of Christ seriously.
Let me put it this way:
There are over 16,000 nations (people groups) in the world today and over 6,600 of those are still considered unreached with the Gospel (unreached means that less than 2% of the people group are considered Christians).
About 90% of all missionary work and missions giving goes to parts of the world that already have access to the Gospel.
An estimated 6.7 billion people live in the world today. 2.7 billion live in an unreached people group.
There are 632 unengaged unreached people groups (different from just an unreached people group) with populations over 50,000; together numbering over 366,000,000 souls that are still beyond the reach of the Gospel. The 632 are perhaps the neediest of the needy as they are unengaged, which means that no church, no mission agency, no one has yet taken responsibility to tell them about Jesus Christ. (this information was gathered from Global Frontier Missions)
So before you follow the hype of planting another church on a street corner in America down the street from another church tell me how you feel about those 2.7 billion people around the world who live without an adequate witness?
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? - Romans 10:14