Monday, November 14, 2011

New Church Development Meeting

I am in a meeting w the Bishop, Superintendents and pastors who will help lead a movement to plant new churches.

The Superintendent leading the charge to plant churches is Paul Brunstetter. He gave us some statistics to think about.

77% of Americans do not have a consistent relationship w a local church.

When 5000 churchgoers were asked what is the main purpose, 88% answered "to serve the congregation." we will not reach out until that number is as close to zero as we can get!

In 1900, there were 27 churches per 10,000 ppl. In 1996, there were 11 per 10,000. The scary piece of this statistic is that the avg church size is THE SAME as it was in 1900. So mega churches have not evangelized the culture.

For United Methodists, to compare today to 1968, we have:
80% of the churches we had

78% of attendance we had

57% of ppl making a profession of faith for the first time

44% of the youth and children we had

We need to plant 1% of the total number of churches we have to maintain. 2-3% to grow. That means we must plant 8 UM churches in KY each year just to survive. 16-24 to grow!

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  1. How will planting more churches out of the same system help us grow? Instead of rushing off to plant more churches, why not think about and change the way we got into this predicament in the first place?

  2. So let's plant 8 in 2012. At least. When the Methodists spread across N. America, what did it take to plant a church? My guess is that they didn't need a full-time pastor, a full-time pastor's salary, and a building to make it work. Perhaps our expectations of what a church "needs" are preventing us from planting enough.

  3. Allen, a partial answer would be that one of our deep problems is that we quit planting churches!

    On the other hand, I have to say, I wonder about the same thing. When I go to meetings and realize that some of the things we are talking about are "processes" that seem to be independent of God... I guess the way I have heard this problem posed is : can your church do what it is doing if Jesus never lived?

  4. Yes! Perhaps you've hit the deeper issue, Aaron. Are we looking at church-planting as the next shot at institutional preservation, or as the best means of spreading Scriptural holiness across the land?

    If church planting is done from a social or business model, it will likely fail just as much as the other social-club/mega-church/self-help/entertainment-with-just-a-bit-of-Jesus models. If church planting is done how it was in the early Methodist movement -- from a theological model that calls people to repentance, faith, and holiness -- then it can be a revival.

  5. Allen helped us get there. We can't just do what we do to preserve what we are...we need to plant churches because we are concerned about the institution or are we driven by a heartbreak over lost people?

    And to go to your earlier comment, it seems to me that we are seeing that indeed, we can and must do this with lay people and lay pastors. not only because of financial concerns, but also because they seem to be more on fire for evangelism than our pastors!