Myth: We don’t need any more churches in North America
Reality: While we have made much progress over the last two decades by starting thousands of new churches across North America, three facts are sobering: 1) The number of church starts parallels the number of church closures. 2) The rate of population growth in North America exceeds the rate of growth of local churches. 3) New churches are needed to diversify the church so it can reach the exploding numbers of people from every tribe and nation who are living here.
Myth: The existing churches can fulfill the Great Commission
Reality: New churches baptize new Christians at a rate that far exceeds the efforts of established churches. We need them as we seek to make disciples who make disciples. Recent research shows that there are 3.4 adult baptisms per 100 members in an established church, versus 11.7 adult baptisms per 100 members in a new church. We need every church to refocus on making new disciples of Jesus! New churches help to lead the way in this effort.
Myth: Closing a dying church and replacing it with a new church is a failure
Reality: Over the next decade, thousands of churches in North America will come to the end of their natural lifecycle. This is not a failure of the Gospel, the people who make up those churches, or God’s plan. We need to embrace the natural lifecycle of the local church and move our efforts and resources toward new life and a lasting legacy. Closing a church and leveraging its resources to start a new one may be one of the most faithful decisions a church could ever make. The Gospel is about death and resurrection!
Myth: Church planting will hurt existing churches (all the young families with leave, it will become a drain on our resources)
Reality: Church planting, when done for the right motives and out of abundant congregational health, actually revitalizes the existing churches all around it. The research of Dr. Jeff Farmer found that churches that planted new churches were healthier than those that did not. This is hard for us to grasp but it is consistent with the principle of sowing and reaping that the bible talks about. “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6.