Starting New Churches: Is Our Focus Misplaced?

January 28, 2012

Fake church sign: Do new churches really reach post-Christians?

It all started simply enough:
Andrew Jones wrote a Leadership Journal post, 9 Reasons NOT to Plant a Church in 2012.
Dave Jacobs replied with My Patellar Reflex to Andrew Jones’ “9 reasons NOT to plant churches.”
Their exchange about the value of starting new churches kicked my thoughts into motion.

I was going to post a comment on Dave’s blog, but it got too long. So I started to write a post here. But it got too long, as well! (I’m working on taming the length of my posts.) So I thought, “OK, I’ll make it a two-parter.” I wrote part two. But I still hadn’t finished what I want to say.

God is stirring, and I’m starting to bubble

Evidently, God is stirring me again. It’s not just coming from my blogging friends; they were just an important kick. I feel like I’m entering a new season:

So I’ll share what’s starting to bubble through a short series:

  1. New Churches, Global Movements and the U.S.A.
  2. New Churches Stuck in a Christendom Box
  3. New Churches & Evangelism: All Backwards?

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

12 responses to Starting New Churches: Is Our Focus Misplaced?

  1. Jesus said go and make disciples… IF, we do that and teach what Jesus commanded the result will be disciples who gather in ekklesias who make disciples… repeat… To focus on making churches is like building a house without driving nails… One depends upon the other but unfortunately can be counterfeited by propping boards up to look like a house but the essentials have not been put in place. If it is counterfeited then the whole thing will collapse. I think we are collapsing, or will if real persecution ever hits US soil. Keep preaching it cult leader!

    • I wondered how long it would be before this series got a comment from you, Guy! I haven’t even started yet. 🙂
      I think I’m joining your cult, actually.

  2. Hi Jon. Looking forward to the upcoming series. I read Andrew’s post and was surprised when I found myself agreeing with most of his points. I guess by God’s grace I have been sheltered from “disillusionment with the church planting movement, even after it has purged itself of its 80’s church growth pragmatism”, because I had no idea planting was even going on then. Currently, I find myself thirsty for a community more like Soma in Tacoma.

    I’d be interested in your thoughts on Buzzard’s similarly-themed post:

    http://www.buzzardblog.com/2011/03/24/top-10-reasons-not-to-join-a-church-plant/

    • Joe, there’s a lot I like about the up-frontness of this guy’s list (and a couple of things that make me raise an eyebrow, but it’s just a short, punchy list and I wasn’t there to hear him expound it). I certainly don’t want to rain on his parade, because I admire anyone who’s trying anything. I’ll explain later what I see as a surprising correlation between church planting and evangelism. But fundamentally, this is my starting point: the unchurched aren’t looking for a church.

  3. Tent making has its role to play in ‘making disciples’

  4. “But fundamentally, this is my starting point: the unchurched aren’t looking for a church.”

    If the aint looking for a church, please what are they looking for.

    • There are generational differences in what the unchurched are looking for:
      • What is true?
      • What is real?
      • What is beautiful?

      Depending on the generation, they are more likely to favor one question over the others.

      People are less and less likely to look to the church for answers to these questions. In part, it’s because the church has tended to focus on answering the first question only, and neglected the others.

      But the ultimate answer to each question is the same: Jesus.

  5. Forest Ray (the D&D preacher) September 1, 2012 at 2:09 am

    Strangely or maybe not so strangely I am seeing more of the churches in my area moving away from the “Let’s plant a bunch of churches and see how many survive” to a “Let’s build relationships and as we are going make disciples” approach to sharing Jesus. I like the later approach myself.

    • Forest, that’s really good news! Maybe, just maybe, all the emphasis on being missional hasn’t just watered it down to a buzzword, but is making it a real thing!

      I like your moniker, “the D&D preacher” 🙂

  6. Forest Ray (the D&D preacher) September 2, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    A little boy at church came up with that for Me a couple weeks ago.A visiting Pastor asked what kind of preacher was I for teaching that game? and the boy said “He is a D&D preacher” it stuck.