Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Lack of Resources For A Church Planting Movement In North America

Peter Wagner in his book CHURCH PLANTING FOR A GREATER HARVEST said that Church Planting is the single best evangelism strategy available to us. More people come to faith in Christ and grow in their faith through the planting of new churches than any other means. Armed with that information denominations and churches have made an intentional priority for new churches to get started. The North American church has become very sophisticated and professional in their church planting endeavors. Seminaries offer not only church planting classes but majors in church planting. Denominations require church planting assessments before potential church planters can be funded. Denominational leaders require church planters to attend church planting camps and/or training seminars to make sure that their is a viable strategy in place. With all this sophistication one would think that North America would be in the middle of one of the fastest growing church planting movements in the world. However, that is just not the case. Instead of a church planting movement that is over taking the general population of North America the North American church is in decline with the largest growing religious identification group being: 'NO RELIGIOUS PREFERENCE AT ALL". While the Christian church has declined the No Religious Preference Group has nearly doubled. Why? Why hasn't a CPM taken place in North America?

The answer to that question is simply this: THERE IS NOT ENOUGH RESOURCES TO START THE KIND OF CHURCH WE'VE BEEN TRYING TO START over the past 30 years. There's not enough FINANCIAL RESOURCES and not enough PERSONNEL RESOURCES. The kind of churches we've been trying to start with a full time paid pastor, in many cases staff, buildings, worship equipment, Bible study material etc... cost a whole lot of money. As a matter of fact it cost more money than we have available if we are to start the number of churches needed to impact North America. THERE'S JUST NOT ENOUGH MONEY!!

The second resource that we don't have enough of is PERSONNEL. To start the kind of churches we've been trying to start requires leadership that is skilled in administration, counseling, business, personnel and the list goes on. I jokingly but also seriously say, "That in order to be a church planter in North America you better have a Masters in Business Administration." And actually that's not very far from reality. But the sad part is that there's not enough people with that skill set to be church planters for us to start the number of churches needed in North America.

So what's the solution? The solution is to stop putting such an emphasis on starting Corporate Style Churches and start putting the major emphasis on RAISING UP, TRAINING UP and UNLEASHING ORDINARY PEOPLE AS CHURCH PLANTERS. North America is sick and tired of Organized Religion! Instead of these Corporate Churches with their big financial budgets and CEO leaders we need to start churches that resemble more of a family unit and led by spiritual parents. This kind of church won't don't cost much at all to start. There would be no need to pay salaries the church planters would have secular jobs and the money that is brought in can be used for evangelism and ministry. A few of these ordinary people may be sitting in the pews of our churches but most of them will be raised up from the harvest.

If the North American Church is going to be serious about reaching our mission field and seeing a church planting movement then we must become serious about developing this new church structure and using all of the people of God to start them.