Saturday, June 17, 2006

Some thoughts about new churches

One of the things I hear continually from "moderate" or progressive Baptists is that our future lies in starting new churches. If this is so, why aren't more of us investing ourselves in this effort? I can think of at least five possibilities for new church starts just in the middle Tennessee area, but there is little or no interest in supporting such efforts.

There is all kind of informatin available to testify to the value of starting new churches. New churches reach unchurched (and dechurched) people, identify new leaders, and allow the freedom to try new methods of worship, Christian nurture, and outreach.

The group that I work with is trying to find ways to start churches with very little money and with part-time, bi-vocational, or volunteer staff. I came to the conclusion last year that I could not really gripe about the lack of interest in new church starts unless I tried to do it myself. I am pleased that a good group of leaders from the church that I attend (First Baptist, Murfreesboro) have joined in the effort to start a new church in a growing area of our county. I have already experienced some of the frustrations of a church planter--limited resources, discouraged participants, etc. But I am also seeing people who are members of the same (sponsoring) church come to know each other for the first time. I am also seeing new leaders emerge. Our goal is to create community before we start a congregation. That may take some time, but we have started the journey.

Any ideas about the lack of interest in new church starts? Help me here!

2 comments:

Dr. Danny Chisholm said...

Ircel,

Welcome to the strange new world of bloggers. Talk to you later.

Danny

baptistlikeme said...

Regarding the lack of interest in starting new churches, I think some of it may stem from simple territorialism. One model of church planting calls for healthy, growing congregations to send planting teams out into the community. This may scare some pastors who are afraid about dwindling numbers in their own home congregations. It might make others jealous. At the same time, I think there are many pastors out there who understand that healthy congregations should be multiplying. Healthy congregations are planting congregations.