Over the past decade, there has been a steady increase in the number of church plants in the United States. We are not, however, pacing with the population increase. One would think that with all the books, seminars, and available coaching, the amount of church plants would be considerably more.
In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about the declining state of the American church. It’s no secret that fewer people are attending church and that many churches are struggling to keep their doors open. This is especially true in rural areas, where churches are often the last to close. But why? Why aren’t more churches being planted in the USA?
Here are a few reasons for fewer church planting efforts:
Declining Religious Affiliation:
Over the past few decades, there has been a decline in religious affiliation and church attendance in the United States. Many Americans have become skeptical of organized religion altogether. This may also equate to fewer people who are interested in starting new churches. Potential Church planters with a cynical slant act as if they see ‘the writing on the wall” that says the Church, in general, is dying, and therefore any other option career-wise is the better option.
This is a very pessimistic way of viewing the future of the church. This mindset is based on statistics that have an ebb and flow and definitely NOT based on faith or in the command to Go and make disciples.
Lack of Finances and Resources:
Planting a new church can be expensive, and not everyone has the financial resources to do so. This may be a barrier for some individuals or organizations who would otherwise be interested in starting new churches. With fewer people attending church, there are fewer contributions to support a new congregation. This can make it difficult for new churches to acquire the resources they need to sustain themselves.
While this seems to be a very practical way to look at things, it does not consider the God factor. We seem to think along the lines of natural streams of income and resources. We serve a supernatural God that can do anything! If we are called to plant a church, shouldn’t we trust the One who called us? This is a true heart-check moment. Are you called? Can you trust Him to supply all your needs? Does the church belong to Him or you?
There are many demands on people’s time and attention, and planting a new church or even being on a church plant team, may not be a priority for everyone. Some people may prefer to focus on other areas of their lives, such as their careers or family. Others may have different priorities when it comes to their faith and how they choose to practice it.
Competing priorities can pose significant challenges for church planting efforts. These challenges can be addressed by building strong partnerships and coalitions with other organizations and building relationships within the communities where churches are being planted.
People want to be involved with churches that are making a difference and not just having inward-focused Sunday services and activities for the members. Share the mission, vision, and the “why” your church is unique at every opportunity. People will make time for the things they prioritize. Being a part of the Great Commission while living out the Great Commandment sounds like compelling reasons to me.
We Can Make Progress or Excuses
Whatever the reasons may be, it’s clear that something needs to be done to revive the American church. Planting new churches is one way to do that, but it’s not going to be easy.
We need prayer, we need support, and we need God’s help if we’re going to see any real change. What if the Body of Christ worked as a body to plant churches where there are none? What if we helped one another with resources? Imagine if churches with an abundance of finances, partnered with church planters who are willing to put everything on the line to reach those who are far from Christ.
Jesus came to earth with a mission to seek and save the lost. He established the church to carry out this mission He started. This inspiring and practical manual is based on the premise that planting churches is the single most effective way of fulfilling the Great Commission.