Welcome to Season 1 Episode 26 of the Your Church Matters podcast. In this week’s episode I addressed a listener question from Karl: “Why another church, especially when there are churches in the area that are searching for a pastor or do not have a permanent pastor?”
Great question! In fact it is such a great question that it is supercharged and loaded with at least 3 issues that I am choosing to address in 3 separate episodes. Here are the issues I have identified in the question and my plan to respond to them:
1. Why start new churches? – Today’s episode.
2. The issue of pastorless churches – August 6 episode
3. The issue of churchless pastors – September 2 episode
Today’s Issue: Why Start New Churches?
1. It is Biblical – The book of Acts could almost be read as a brief history of the spread of the gospel through planting new churches.
2. It is practical – Every established church has a spiritual DNA and systems that have developed that determine how they function as a church. The longer the church has existed, the greater the tendency to focus on systems and structures that maintain the current functions and serve the current membership. New churches tend to have smaller, simpler, streamlined systems and structures that can deliberately focus on reaching those who have not yet been reached.
Even established churches that are outwardly focused and consistently growing will face issues of space (how many people can we fit into our current facilities) and ministry effectiveness (how many people can we effectively minister to and disciple with our current structures and systems). So, they must consider the question of whether it is more effective to enlarge facilities or start something new (a new church in a new location, a new church on site, a new service to reach a different demographic, a satellite campus, etc)
3. It is effective – One resource I read cited research that said as many as 60% of those reached by new churches were people who were previously unchurched (had no connection with any church). The fact of the matter is that no church is a good fit for everyone. A new church done right deliberately seeks to reach people who have not yet found their way to Jesus and their place in His family.
4. It is kingdom-focused – Deciding to be part of starting a new church can actually energize and refocus an established church as they move from trying to figure out how to get people to come join us to trying to take the Good News to where the people are. And when church starting partnerships are made up of several churches who don’t individually have the resources to start a new church, the kingdom focus and energy are multiplied. There is something amazing about the synergy of being part of something that is bigger than us and for which we can’t take the credit.
There are some reasons NOT to start a new church:
1. Because we are the only ones who are right.
2. Because we are upset with our existing church or denomination.
3. Because we want to make our own rules.
4. Because we are bored with our current ministry.
1. Determine if God is leading you toward a new church start.
2. Identify your partners.
3. Pray, pray, pray.
To comment on this episode or leave a question for a future episode:
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4. Direct tweet @drgerrylewis
*Special thanks to Keith Cooper (Guitar Music)