“Do we really need another one?” I asked with an annoying tone. I must have been bothered by it, because I asked my passenger Dakota her thoughts on the subject. Dakota is my Golden Retriever, and from what I could tell she was all for it, as long as they gave away tennis balls to all visitors.
In my town, it would seem there is a new church starting every couple of weeks. I understand the idea behind planting a new church. It is suppose to be the most effective form of evangelism known to mankind. At least that is what I was told in seminary, and it would seem our young leaders are being indoctrinated with the same idea. But is it true?
I think the greatest form of evangelism is one on one. More people are still introduced to God and Jesus Christ via interaction with people outside the congregational walls. Period.
Church planting certainly has its place. Is it possible to over plant the church? Can there be too many churches in a city? If you are considering planting a church where the church already exists in abundance, it would be wise of you to thoughtfully and unselfishly pondered that question. I think the answer is a resounding YES! Take a look at Colorado Springs, CO. Do you think it needs one more evangelical congregation? The red dots are churches.
Over church planting in a city can cause a stumbling block for evangelism. So many different churches can lead non-christians to believe that even Christians can’t figure this stuff about ultimate issues out. I can imagine the questions that arise in the mind of the non-Christians: “Why are there so many churches if the claims of Christianity are true? Isn’t the fact that there are so many different churches PROOF that Christianity is false? Why are they starting another one? Why do they all believe different things? If they can’t agree on what the truth is, maybe they are all just a bunch of misguided, well-meaning people who I should not take seriously.”
We won’t even talk about how one more church plant will dilute the scarce resources of leaders, servants, and dinero.
I applaud you for wanting to step out in faith and make a real difference in people’s lives. Still, I want to issue a challenge to if you are thinking about planting a church. If God is calling you to a particular area that is church saturated, perhaps it is NOT to plant your own church. Perhaps you are being called to come alongside someone else. Here’s an idea: If God has called you to come to a city where there are hundreds of churches, why not find a job like Paul did and the rest of us do. Why not volunteer to help another local church like the rest of us? Why start something new?
Be honest with yourself, isn’t what you are thinking about starting exactly the same thing as the last 35 guys who came here to start something? Does God really need 36 congregations that are essentially the same thing? Perhaps it would honor God more and make a bigger impact on the community if you went and helpedp the last guy God sent here. They don’t have enough money to pay you, but they need your help. Just a thought.
Want to be challenged more or get more upset? Read our post “Would The Apostle Paul Plant a Seeker-Sensitive Purpose Driven Church?
Check out the result of 4 different polls and the challenging conclusions arrived at in our post It’s Official: People Don’t Want To Sing So Much On Sundays.