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

Think like a missionary

How can I think like a missionary?Missionaries live with a deep love and compassion for those who are far from God. They are burdened for those who are lost — those who are like sheep without a shepherd. They live by the words of Jesus when He said, “I have other sheep that are...

Why crisis & unrest should point us to prayerful hope in Christ

If ever there was a time when believers and churches needed to focus on God’s great hope in Jesus, it is now. The COVID-19 pandemic — along with all the racial, social, political, economic and spiritual unrest that has gripped our nation — has, in many ways, cast a cloud of...

Saved from war, man from Congo planting church in Raleigh

Rufus Muhirwe is tall, thin and soft-spoken. Look at this gentle man and you would never guess the years-long nightmare he endured before coming to Raleigh, N.C. He found that God was with him through those years. And the fact that Muhirwe is planting a new church is a testimony...

How families can mentor families to make disciples at home

There is an old saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” What if we took this same approach in discipling our families. No doubt, you have families in your church who are doing a phenomenal job discipling their...

Don’t miss the blessing of leading your child to Christ

Most churches stress the importance of passing the gospel on to future generations. We often refer to the family as a primary mission field. To emphasize this reality, we point to passages such as Deuteronomy 6:6-7a, which says, “These words that I am giving you today are to be in...

4 women’s ministry events for you and your church

“Pivot” is a new buzzword brought about by COVID-19, and it’s something every organization and ministry has had to do amid the global pandemic. The coronavirus has forced the cancellation, postponement, rescheduling or shifting of numerous events and conferences, and the impact...

NCMO helps demonstrate Christ’s love in word, deed

The year 2020 has been a year like no other in our lifetime. Events of this year have left many people hurting in numerous ways. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we should be compelled by the love He demonstrated for us through His death on the cross to love others, serve...

Baptists on Mission dedicates Charity Rebuild Center

Two years ago Hurricane Florence struck North Carolina with devastating force. Today Baptists on Mission (NCBM) dedicated its Charity Rebuild Center, a disaster relief ministry hub near Rose Hill, N.C. Since its founding in 2019, the site has been home base for volunteer teams as...

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!