By Peter Meier | November 1, 2018
The question is not new. It’s asked many times, by people who love the Lord and who love their church. It’s asked sometimes because the questioner really wants to know. Sometimes it’s asked by someone who is looking for more information. Sometimes, like many other questions, it’s asked by someone who asks questions to avoid getting to the task. No matter why it’s asked, you need to be ready with the answers. In this post and the next, I’ll share eight good reasons to start new faith communities
1. Starting new is the best way to reach new people with the Gospel. The facts are that new reaches new. The most effective means of evangelism is starting new churches or faith communities. Many studies have been done which verify that. You can get a list of them here. Consider these reasons why this is true:
a. New starts are more effective because they tend to focus on reaching new people, whereas existing churches tend to focus primarily on the needs and desires of their current members.
b. New starts more easily adopt approaches which connect with the people in their target group or community. Those approaches include worship styles, dress, vocabulary, and more. Existing churches welcome people, but expect them to adapt to the styles which are acceptable to the already-attending and participating members.
c. In addition, the vision of new faith communities is most frequently shaped by the mission of God – to reclaim and reconcile the lost. Existing churches may acknowledge that mission, but often their actions depict a vision that is focused inward.
d. In their book, Church Planting Landmines, Tom Nebel and Gary Rohrmayer give these amazing statistics: In churches, from brand new to three years of age, it takes three average attending members to reach one new person for Christ. In churches three years to 10 years of age, it takes seven members to reach one new person. But in churches over 10 years of age, it takes an average of 89 attendees to reach one new person for Christ. Think about it, and see if you don’t agree that the three reasons listed above indicate why this is true.
You may read my earlier post on this topic by clicking here.
2. Increased Spiritual Passion in the Sending Church. Churches that send members to start new faith communities find that their own spiritual passion is kindled. They tend to see a greater focus on reaching lost people. They see God’s blessing as they reflect His sending and generous character. They learn to live with a more complete dependence on God and His providence for their own needs.
3. Sending is a joyful experience! We experience that joy in our families as we see our own children grow and establish new families. When a congregation blesses and sends members or leaders to start a new faith community, they do make sacrifices, but they rejoice to see their sacrificial giving and sending result in new disciples in new places. Because God’s own nature is sending and generous, we are filled with joy when we reflect that image. I belong to a church that I had a part in starting new nearly 25 years ago. When I see new believers and new members added regularly, and new babies baptized, you can be sure my heart rejoices!
4. Leadership Development. Have you ever given blood? Besides the joy of helping others with this gift, your body doesn’t really suffer from the process. God made your body to make more blood to replace what you gave. In the same way, when we send leaders to start new faith communities an immediate loss may be felt. However, we find joy in helping the new start with these special people-gifts, and even better, we find in every situation, that God raises up new leaders in our own church or faith community. As leaders are sent, new openings are created which are filled by those who otherwise wouldn’t have that opportunity. New people are encouraged to use their gifts of leadership and service, rather than depend on others to do the ministry. As congregations plan and send leaders to serve new faith communities, they produce a culture of developing and deploying leaders in both the existing church and in new faith communities.
Next time, I’ll share four more great reasons why starting new is not only a good idea, but is the most effective way of making new disciples.
These reasons are identified and discussed as part of our Churches Planting Churches training, which is developed and presented in partnership with Dynamic Church Planting International. The Center partners with DCPI in their God-given goal to start 5 million new faith communities globally to reach the world for Christ.
Mission Moments is the e-newsletter sent by the Center for U.S. Missions to bring information and encouragement to all who desire to share God's great love in Jesus Christ with others. Permission is given to copy this article for distribution within your congregation or organization. Please credit the author and the Center for United States Missions. For more information contact the Center at (952)-221-0362, or visit our website: www.c4usm.org
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