I’ve recently been thinking about church planting and will present three posts on the topic. I hope this will interest and provoke you, especially if you have not considered or experienced life in a new church.
Do We Need More Churches?
Based on the National Church Life Surveys, Sydney Anglican bishop Al Stewart recently noted these statistics:
Protestant churches in Australia declined by 6%
Australian church attendance declined by 3%
In 1991 – one church for every 1561 people in Australia
In 2006 (estimated) – one church for every 2054 people
NCLS figures – from Steve Addison – Church Resources
With Australia’s increasing population and declining church attendance, the need to plant more churches is more urgent than ever! So:
Who’s Planting Churches?
The National Church Life Survey data has shed some light on the status of Protestant church planting in Australia. You can download the 2003 report here. This chart formatted by Steve Addison shows the size of a denomination (green) relative to others. The relative percentage of church plants undertaken by a denomination is in blue.
How Effective Is Church Planting?
The NCLS report on church planting also concluded, for example:
Church plants are more effective in reaching newcomers
In the church plants surveyed, 16% of attenders were newcomers to church life in comparison to 10% of attenders in established churches.
Church plants are more effective than other forms of outreach
Steve Addison: “…church plants have higher percentages of newcomers than churches engaged in street evangelism, churches conducting services for the unchurched (eg ‘seeker services’), churches conducting mission activities at schools or churches offering social services such as training or support programs.”
Church planting does not weaken a healthy “parent” church
The NCLS survey indicates that healthy mother churches continue to grow after the expenses of planting a daughter church. This conclusion was supported by research conducted by Natural Church Development in Spain.
“What does this have to do with me?”
We will look at the implications of and opportunities for church planting in later posts. But ask yourself this: what do you appreciate about your church? Have you wished that others could benefit from church as you have? If you love your church, then you have more in common with church planting than you realize. Who knows — you might even help to plant a new church!