Why Church Planting?
The mission of church is found in Matthew 28:19‐20 which says,
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded.”
The church then is a gathering of redeemed individual’s who are corporately sent out by the Son with the guidance and assistance of the Holy Spirit, to redeem and save the lost and the world. If the mission of the church is to make disciples, we need to ask, how are we doing in fulfilling this mission?
Here are a few facts:
80-85% of the churches in this country are dying. That means every year these churches lose more members than they gain or maintain.
In America, 3,500-4,000 churches shut down every year.
In Fayetteville, AR specifically, just 18% of the population attend a church service consistently and only 36% of the population identify themselves as evangelical Christians.
When it comes to reaching the lost and making disciples, it appears the influence of the church in America has been on the decline. However, there is hope. Studies have shown that a new church gains 60-80% of its members from people who are not attending any worshipping body. While churches that are 10 years old or older, 80-90% of its members transfer from other congregations. So if you look at the averages, church plants will bring in six to eight times more new converts than an older congregations. Therefore church planting needs to be a vital part of global and local church strategy.
Tim Keller says this about church planting:
“The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for 1) the numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city and 2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else – not crusades, outreach programs, para-church ministries, growing mega-churches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes – will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting. This is an eyebrow raising statement. But to those who have done any study at all, it is not even controversial.”
According to Keller, the best way to evangelize the lost and to keep existing churches from dying is the continual planting of new churches. The mission of church planting mirrors the mission of the church. The goal is simply to reach people who are far from Christ and to declare the gospel that renews and redeems all things.
Objections to Church Planting
In spite of the growing necessity of church planting in this country, there are still some critics who bring some objections. We will address just a few of these.
Aren’t there already enough churches in Fayetteville?:
This is a common objection, and its understandable why this question would be raised. One can just drive College and Dickson St. and see several churches across the street from one another. However, studies show that the more churches that are in area, the greater percentage of the population attends church. Tim Keller notes “studies have shown that if there is one church per ten thousand residents, approximately 1 percent of the population will be churchgoers. If this ratio goes to one church per one thousand residents, some 15 to 20 percent of the city’s population goes to church. If the number goes to one per five hundred residents, the number may approach 40 percent or more.” Currently there are over one hundred churches in Fayetteville. The truth is that we need one hundred more in order to reach the city for Christ.
Why start new churches instead of revitalizing dying churches?:
Church revitalization needs to be an important mission and we are big supporters of it. However, studies show that new church plants actually assist and help dying churches to reestablish themselves in the community. There are four key ways that church plants assist establish churches. 1. New churches bring new ideas to the community that establishing churches can learn from, team with the new churches, and adopt for themselves. 2. New churches raise up new, creative Christian leaders for the city. 3. New churches challenge existing churches to self-‐examination, which solidifies their mission, vision and identity. 4. New churches can be an evangelistic feeder system for a whole community. These church plants often make new converts who end up attending older churches.
Isn’t the city of Fayetteville already reached?:
This objection understands that not everyone within the city is saved, however, thinks that the gospel has reached its limits in expansion. The stats, though, paint a different picture. As we already mentioned, only 18% of the population in Fayetteville attend a religious service weekly, however, 36% identify themselves as evangelical Christians. The city is far from reached and there are communities and neighborhoods in which the gospel has not reached.
The Hill Church is convinced that the best way to reach the city of Fayetteville is to continually be planting new churches. We are a church on mission to declare the gospel of Jesus Christ for the good of the city. We hope that you will partner with us in this endeavor.