WHY START NEW CHURCHES?
… It is an often-asked question. “Why start new churches when so many of our existing churches are struggling?” “Don’t we have enough churches now?” “Why don’t we spend the money to make our older churches more effective?”
Every WEEK, The United Methodist Church loses 1500 members! It’s not just United Methodism… even when our country’s population is exploding, NOT ONE COUNTY in the entire USA reports more Christians now than 10 years ago! Research shows the most effective way of reaching new people, young people, more people, more diverse people, and un-churched people is through starting new churches!
Lyle Schaller, in his book, “Forty-four Questions for Church Planters,” (pages 27-36) suggests crucial reasons to start new churches:
Living out The Great Commission (Matthew 28: 18-20);
- We cannot rely on long-established congregations to reach all the new generations of people;
- A different style of worship and ministry can be more effective in reaching people outside the church than the style that attracts already committed Christians;
- New churches reach those venturesome personalities who enjoy helping pioneer the new;
- New churches are focused on evangelism and mission, while long-established congregations are often overly concerned with institutional survival goals;
- The presence of two or more congregations with the same denominational affiliation usually results in a higher level of congregational health and vitality than if one congregation has a denominational monopoly in that community;
- No one congregation possesses the skills and can muster the resources necessary to reach, attract, serve, and be responsive to the needs of every resident;
- Existing churches have a harder time reaching people who have moved out to suburbs on the edge of town;
- If we don’t do it, someone else will.
- Not convinced yet? Still wondering why we need you to help us start at least three new churches each year?
Recently I preached at one of our new church start-ups, Faith UMC in Corinth. At the end of the morning, a young woman came up to me, excited and emotional. “I’m a school teacher in the area,” she said. But I didn’t have any spiritual walk or church relationship until my husband and I started attending here.” She paused, her eyes teared up, and then she said with understandable joy, “I was the first person baptized in this church!” And then she added, “But there’s been lots more.”
That’s why we start new churches … to bring new people to Christ.