Why we need more churches

September 3, 2019

Do we really need more churches?

As one who leads church planting efforts for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC), you would expect my answer to unequivocally be “Yes and amen!” But I also realize that I live in “church-planting world.”

Daily, I find myself talking and dreaming with people who see church planting as an integral part of Jesus’ parting instructions to His soon-to-be birthed church found in Matthew 28:19-20: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Approximately 4,300 churches affiliate with the BSCNC. Why could we possibly need any more?

The harvest is ripe and diverse
Recent statistics say that 70 percent of Americans have no true commitment to the church. In John 4:35 Jesus said, “You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest.” With more than 5.8 million people in North Carolina who do not know Jesus Christ, it is He who tells us that His fields are ready.

Not only is the harvest ripe, North Carolina’s harvest fields are diverse. With more than 300 languages spoken in our state, it appears as though the harvest is coming to us. It takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people. This is especially true when people speak a different language. But even when the same language is spoken, there are incredible differences.

At the beginning of the modern church planting movement, missiologist C. Peter Wagner wrote in his book Strategies for Church Growth that “Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.” Why? What is so evangelistically effective about new churches?

New churches show an evangelistic intentionality to reach unchurched people and statistics show that they do it pretty effectively.

New churches reach unchurched people
We live in an unseeded generation. What is an unseeded generation? In past generations, families, schools and societies regarded the Bible as an important part of raising children. That day has all but passed. Even here in what has been traditionally known as the Bible Belt it is not uncommon to meet people who have had no biblical foundation in their formative years. The Bible Belt is rapidly becoming less churched than previous generations.

Enter new church plants. New churches show an evangelistic intentionality to reach unchurched people and statistics show that they do it pretty effectively. While older congregations offer many things like programs, long-standing stability and permanent facilities that new churches often do not, newer congregations that are filled with formerly unchurched people often have a greater mandate to attract and invite their nonbelieving friends into their gatherings. And statistics show that they are effective at this as well.

There have been many studies to see if the age of a church has an impact on how effective it is in reaching new people with the gospel. One study highlighted in the book Viral Churches revealed that established Southern Baptist churches baptized 3.4 people per 100 resident members, while new churches baptized 11.7.

This doesn’t mean established churches do not reach lost people. They do. But many new churches raise up leaders from the formerly unchurched, and those leaders have insight into reaching those who are as they used to be.

A sobering reminder
Here is a fact that we all need to let soak in: church attendance is in decline. We don’t need new churches because they are a newer, better version of our existing churches. They are not.

On the contrary, we need new expressions of the body of Christ that are intentionally focused on reaching the unreached in our cities and towns across North Carolina. If we are going to reach people who do not currently attend church, it is imperative that we do what will be most effective to help them experience the life-changing salvation of Jesus Christ.


by Mike Pittman  
Church Planting  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Board affirms Unzicker as EDT nominee

Todd Unzicker, chief of staff at The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, has been nominated by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) board of directors to become the next executive director-treasurer of the state convention. The board voted to approve Unzicker’s...

4 kinds of pastors whose churches need revitalizing

Revitalization is one of those things pastors Google when no one else is looking. As I travel across the state, I meet pastors who minister in a variety of contexts — rural, urban, small, large, plants and even replants. Some of these pastors know their church is in need of...

5 ways pastors should respond to setbacks in ministry

Things don’t always turn out the way we desire. Oftentimes, we find ourselves asking questions about why something happened, or why we didn’t see it coming. We wonder why God allowed it or have difficulty seeing how God’s plan is being accomplished through it. Phrases such as...

How families can adopt a family discipleship plan

Many parents have made 2021 the year of discipleship for their family. They have taken the challenge and implemented the “Family Discipleship Plan” in their homes. Moms and dads have made this a priority because they know they have been given the wonderful privilege of being the...

Why leading your child to Christ is a process, not just a prayer

I remember praying a prayer at age 5. As a Cubby in the Awana program at our church, I was slightly intimidated by the leader who took me into the darkened chapel and asked me if I wanted to go to heaven to be with Jesus. I didn’t know what that meant. I may have asked a few...

3 steps to being missional in your community

The COVID-19 pandemic, along with heightened racial and political tensions, have sparked massive conflicts throughout our state and nation in the last year and a half. However, in the midst of the chaos, families have a unique opportunity to be missional in their homes and...

God’s presence provides comfort in times of transition

“It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions!” These words by the late William Bridges, who was a leading authority on organizational leadership, have been ringing in my mind throughout the last year. When our country went into lockdown due to the pandemic, it was an...

Students: An untapped resource for serving in your church

I’ve heard it said that students are the church of tomorrow, but I really struggle with that — I believe students are the church of today and the future church leaders of tomorrow. Students need adults who love Jesus, love them and take the time to disciple them. They need...

1 Comment

  1. Brian Norris

    See you there.
    The harvest is here & now. Praying for focused, yielded, & bold laborers.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!