A Church for West St. Tammany
Connecting people to Christ & His mission â€Š
Lane Corley, Church Planter/Pastor 28156 Hwy. 22 Ponchatoula, LA 70454 985.373.2748 email@example.com
Table of Contents
A Personal Note
About the Area
About Church Planting
A Personal Note
Dear Friend, In 2001, God called our family to Covington, Louisiana, to plant a new church in central St. Tammany Parish. We began with four people in a home Bible study, grew to 75 in an unairconditioned fire station, moved to a former café/truck stop, and seven years later, Hope Church of Waldheim gathers for worship each Sunday in its own building on 16-acres of land, and is faithfully reaching out to its community. Through church planting many lives have been changed and now a healthy church exists where seven years ago there was none. Now God has called our family to reach out to a neighboring community through starting another new church. It is a joy and privilege for us to partner with Bedico Baptist Church, the North Shore Baptist Associations, Louisiana Baptist Convention, and the North American Mission Board to plant a church for West St. Tammany Parish. Why do we need a new church in West St. Tammany Parish? St. Tammany Parish continues to be one of the fastest growing Parishes in the state of Louisiana. Currently there are 264,000 residents. West St. Tammany Parish has grown 55% since 2000. Over 100,000 people are unchurched in St. Tammany Parish. Our heart is for this church to be a bridge that connects many people to Jesus Christ and His mission to the world. As you look over this information, I ask you to prayerfully consider your role in reaching people in St. Tammany Parish for Christ. If you would like to be a part of this work in any way please contact me at (985) 373-2748, or by e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. God Bless! Lane & Heather Corley To plant something that lasts for a season, plant a flower. To plant something that lasts for a lifetime, plant a tree. To plant something that lasts for eternity, plant a church.
About the Area St. Tammany Parish
St. Tammany Parish is located thirty minutes north of New Orleans on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain. It has been one of the fastest growing areas in the state of Louisiana for many years, but after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, population swelled from 220,000 to 270,000 - what would have been considered five years of normal growth. For many years St. Tammany has been considered a bedroom community of New Orleans, but now it is being recognized as an opportune place for business development while continuing to offer quality of life that is perfect for raising a family. The target area for this new church is from the Tchefuncte River to the Parish Line in West St. Tammany, which includes the communities of Madisonville and Goodbee. This area has grown 55% over the last five years and commercial development continues at a fast pace even with our current economic slow down. St. Tammany Parish is an attractive and desirable location with something to offer almost everyone Quality education and low unemployment, urban neighborhoods and rural countrysides, sportsman’s paradises and artists galleries, historic villages and corporate growth, a slower pace and a swelling population.
The need for New Churches
Along with the growth in population, there are other key indicators that point us to the need for a new church in the region. While St. Tammany enjoys one of the lowest overall crime rates in the state of Louisiana, following Hurricane Katrina, instances of drug and alcohol addiction, domestic disturbances, and suicide are on the rise. Volunteers of America reports that the suicide rate in the Parish has increased at least 48% in the last three years. Parish officials report that in 2007, domestic disturbance calls doubled and suicide completions increased 257% in West St. Tammany. We need more churches focused on transforming the community through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sources for this article: - 2008 Community Guide presented by the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce - Report on the Mental Health Crisis in St. Tammany Parish, Prepared by Volunteers of America, May 16, 2008. - St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation, www.stedf.org
About the Area After a detailed demographic study on a five-mile radius in the communities of Madisonville and Goodbee in West St. Tammany Parish (Intersection of Hwy. 1077 and Hwy. 1085), the following information was obtained.
Population Growth Year 2000 Population
5-Mile Radius 16,966
10-Mile Radius 75,107
Age Breakdown <5 yrs 5-9 10-14 15-19 20-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65-74 75-84 85+
1,784 1,829 1,930 1,766 1,310 2,965 3,794 4,331 3,460 1,006 1,006 452
6.8% 7.0% 7.3% 6.7% 5.0% 11.3% 14.4% 16.5% 13.1% 3.8% 3.8% 1.7%
Household Income <$15,000 $15,000-$24,999 $25,000-$34,999 $35,000-$49,999 $50,000-$74,999 $75,000-$99,999 $100,000-$149,999 $150,000-$199,000 $200,000+
1,177 1,060 1,061 1,289 1,937 1,422 1,259 387 496
Per Capita Income Median Household Income
15-Mile Radius 108,386
11.7% 10.5% 10.5% 12.8% 19.2% 14.1% 12.5% 3.8% 4.9% $28,784 $55,125
Our Mission Our Mission: Why do we exist? Every Church is driven by something:
Tradition – “We always (or never) have done it this way before.” Personalities – A Certain person or family in the church. Finances – “How much will it cost?” Buildings – The Tail can wag the dog. Programs – Just keeping people busy. Events – Just keeping people entertained. Popularity – “Whatever it takes to make people like us.”
These things can be healthy for a church. However, it is important that these things are not allowed to become the driving force of the church. For the Driving force we turn to a Biblical Mission Statement that reflects the heart of God for St. Tammany Parish and the world.
“The Bridge Church exists to connect people to Jesus Christ and His mission of loving God, loving people, and taking the Gospel to the World.” Jesus Christ came to connect us to God “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God…” 1 Peter 3:18
Jesus Christ desires that we be connected to His mission “Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart…soul…and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:36-40 “Jesus said, ‘Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20 Also see John 15:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20
Our Vision Our Vision: What will it look like?
Building a body of believers who are connected to Christ and His mission of loving God, loving people, taking the Gospel to the world.
Interactive Relationships The vision of a church that is connected to one another through a network of small groups that reach in through study and fellowship and reach out through evangelism and ministry.
Intentional Ministry The vision of a church without walls. The vision of a church that intentionally focuses on the needs of others and responds to the needs of the community and world with compassion and energy.
D – Life-Changing Discipleship The vision of a church that is being transformed by Christ as we relate together, learn together, serve together, worship together, and reach out together.
G – God-exalting Worship The vision of a church that loves God with evident passion and energy through corporate gatherings and lifestyles that testify of God’s greatness and transforming power in our lives.
Kingdom Expanding Missions & Evangelism The vision of a church that is a missionary to the world, a city on a hill, giving light to all. The vision of a church that engages the world through compassion ministries, strategic evangelism, and church planting.
Our Core Values: What we will prioritize? Biblical Truth – Receiving and responding to God’s revelation. Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:9-10; Isaiah 40:8; Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 1:20-21
Transformation/Life Change – Seeking Transformation in individual lives, our community, and the world as we respond to God’s truth. Mark 5:5,15; Acts 3:21; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:17,21; Ephesians 2:1-10; Philippians 3:1-11; Titus 3:5; Revelation 21:1-5
Relationships/Community – Meeting the needs of one another and doing life together. Matthew 18:20; John 13:34-35; Acts 2:42-47; Hebrews 10:24-25
Missional Living – Living with apostolic passion, sent into the world to love God, love people, and take the gospel. Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:20-21; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
Cultural Relevance – Creating environments that allow the timeless and universal truth of Jesus to penetrate contemporary culture. 1 Chronicles 12:32; Colossians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
The Next Generation – Preparing our future generations to take up Jesus’ mission to the world. Mark 10:13-16; Proverbs 22:6; Deuteronomy 6:4-7
Multiplication – Creating an environment for rapid reproduction of disciples, leaders, and churches on the North Shore and around the world. John 15:5-6; Acts 11:19-30, 13:1-5; 2 Timothy 2:2
Our Beliefs Our Essential Beliefs: The Scriptures The Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God's revelation of Himself to man. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation.
God There is one and only one living and true God. God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.
God the Father God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His
creatures, and the flow of human history according to the purposes of His grace. …God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
God the Son Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ, He
was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. …He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross, He made provision for the redemption of men from sin.
God the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. …He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. …He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Man Man is the special creation of God, in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. …By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. … The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore every person of every race possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Salvation Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification.
God's Purpose of Grace Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. …All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit will never fall away from the state of grace, but will persevere to the end.
Our Beliefs The Church A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the two ordinances of Christ, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Baptism & the Lord’s Supper Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water. …It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Jesus, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. The Lord's Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members … memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.
Evangelism & Missions
It is the duty and privelege of every follower of Christ and every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations... to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.
God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. …Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly…the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell. …The righteous… will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.
God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood or adoption. Marriage is uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. Marriage is God’s unique gift for men and women to provide a safe and righteous place for intimate companionship, sexual expression, and the procreation of the human race. The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God's image. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church submits to the headship of Christ. Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God's pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents.
Our Affiliations Our Affiliations: Who do we hang out with? We are affiliated with three groups of churches: 1. The North Shore Baptist Association (www.northshorebaptists.net) – 95 churches that work together in a local missions effort. 2. The Louisiana Baptist Convention (www.lbc.org) – 1,600 churches that cooperate together in a state wide missions effort 3. The Southern Baptist Convention (www.sbc.net) – 48,000 churches that cooperate together in a worldwide missions effort. As we voluntarily contribute to these three ministry partners we assure that other churches are started and needs are met all around the world.
What is the Southern Baptist Convention?
It is the largest association of Christian churches in America – the SBC is made up of over 48,000 churches and 16 million members It is the most diverse association of churches – SBC churches include every race, nationality, and ethnic group It is one of the fastest growing association of churches – the SBC begins almost five new churches every day in the United States It is one of the most missions minded association of churches – the SBC supports almost 10,000 missionaries in North America and around the world.
Why be affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention?
It allows our church to identify with other Christians around the world who are known for their commitment to God and the Bible. It allows our church to participate in the largest Christian missionary organization in the world. Through contributions to the SBC we help support over 10,000 missionaries in over 100 countries.
Why not just be independent? We Are!
Every SBC church chooses its own pastor Every SBC church owns its own property and buildings Every SBC church determines its own focus
Six Steps to a Healthy Church in West St. Tammany Parish: 1) A Church with a Vision for Multiplication - COMPLETE In 2004, a passion for evangelism led the leadership of Bedico Baptist Church to begin planning to multiply their efforts through church planting in a neighboring community. “Our vision and passion at Bedico Baptist Church is to reach our Jerusalem with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ” – Pastor Leo Miller, October 2006.
2) A God-Called Church Planter/Pastor- COMPLETE Lane & Heather Corley joined the staff at Bedico in September of 2008, following God’s leading to plant a church in West St. Tammany Parish.
3) Cultivating the Field & Developing the Team – OCTOBER 2008 to MAY 2009
Raise prayer & financial support Develop Launch Team Assess community needs & spiritual obstacles Begin strategic prayer, intentional ministry, & evangelism Prepare for Public Launch
4) Launching Public Worship Experiences – JUNE 2009 to OCTOBER 2009
Launch weekly worship services B.R.I.D.G.E. (see page 6) Develop Leadership Teams Assimilate new members Multiply Disciples and Leaders Strategic Evangelism efforts
5) Building Church Life – OCTOBER 2009 to OCTOBER 2010
Develop Church Life (Acts 11:19-30; 13:1-5) B.R.I.D.G.E. (see page 6) Expand Leadership Team Assimilate new members Multiply Disciples and Leaders Prepare for multiplication of churches
6) A Vision for Multiplication – OCTOBER 2010 to MAY 2011
Complete the Life-Cycle of a Healthy Church (Acts 11:19-30; 13:1-5) Cultivate the field and Develop the team for reaching a neighboring community Launch a Healthy church in a neighboring community Multiply disciples and leaders
Our Strategy Why a Bridge? The Nature of the Gospel 1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God…” Sin separates all of humanity from God (Isaiah 59:2). Humanity is incapable of bridging the divide that sin has caused (Romans 3:10-12). But God in his love (Romans 5:8) built a bridge by sending Jesus Christ (John 3:16, 1 Peter 3:18, 2 Corinthians 5:18). It is our mission to build relational, missional bridges to all the people in the world so that they may know of God’s provision in Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
The Nature of the North Shore Bridges connect us to life and prosperity. Thirty percent of our population commutes across the longest bridges in the world to work and play. Residents of the North Shore understand the need for and importance of bridges. Without bridges our way of life would be impossible. Of greater importance to the bridges that connect us to quality life in the natural realm is finding the bridge that God has provided through Jesus Christ to connect us to eternal life in the spiritual realm.
The Vision for West St. Tammany Parish West St. Tammany enjoys a quality of life that is equal to few in Louisiana. Prosperity, material wealth, celebratory living are evident. However, the physical bridges of St. Tammany Parish, can’t provide what much of our population still lacks – a connection to God’s life changing, transforming power provided through Jesus Christ. West St. Tammany needs a Bridge that will connect them to life in Christ. A new church is needed that reflects what’s positive in our culture, communicates clearly to its population, and transforms lives through building a B.R.I.D.G.E. Webster’s defines the word bridge as “a time, place, or means of connection or transition.” As we think about those in St. Tammany Parish and around the world who are separated from God, we must work to provide a time, a place, and means to connect people on the North Shore and around the world to Jesus Christ and His mission. Church planting is one of the very best ways to accomplish this task.
Opportunities: What can I do? ♦ Prayer Support
We believe that the task that God has called us to in St. Tammany Parish will not be accomplished apart from prayer. Knowing the power of prayer we want to build a network of prayer partners who will commit to pray specifically for the Bridge Church/West St. Tammany Mission on a regular basis. All prayer partners will receive a quarterly newsletter updating them on the progress of the new church and listing specific prayer needs.
♦ Financial Support
As you may imagine, the cost of starting a new church will be great. Knowing that God has called us to this work, we are very confident that He will supply all that is needed to build a gospel bridge to the people of West St. Tammany. If God may lead you to contribute to this ministry or to support our work on a monthly basis, please send your donations to the West St. Tammany Mission, 28156 Hwy. 22, Ponchatoula, LA 70454.
♦ Personal Support
No one can start a new church alone. You, your family, or your church can become personally involved by participating in the following areas: bringing a mission team to assist with community outreach events, if you’re in the area please pray about joining our leadership team, hosting a Bible Study, providing child care for adult Bible Studies. The possibilities for you to be involved are endless!
Today more than ever churches need to work together to accomplish the task of spreading the gospel. We are seeking church families who will come along side Bedico Baptist as co-sponsors for this new church. A co-sponsoring church is asked to commit to pray weekly for our work and/or provide financial support either with a one-time gift or on a monthly basis for two to three years. We would be available to share with church about Church Planting and missions in South Louisiana. If your church is interested in co-sponsorship please contact Lane at 985.373.2748. If you want more information about our work you can contact: Lonnie Wascom, Director of Mission for the North Shore Baptist Associations, 225.567.5086, Lonnie@i-55.com. Larry Badon, Louisiana Baptist Convention Church Planting Strategists, 225.936.0200, email@example.com Pastor Leo Miller, Bedico Baptist Church, 985.845.3417, Pastor@bedicobaptist.org
About Church Planting BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS
The Life and Life Cycle of a Healthy Church Acts 11:19-30; 13:1-4
Healthy things GROW / REPRODUCE / MULTIPLY.
Healthy plants have potential to produce more of the same Healthy families have potential to produce more of the same Healthy Christians have potential to produce more of the same Healthy churches have the potential to produce more of the same
I. The Explosive Power of Multiplication What would you rather have? 1) $1 million, 2) $100 per day for 365 days, 3) $.01 doubled everyday for 365 days? 1) $1 Million 2) $1.8 Million 3) $22,517,998,136,852.48
II. The Biblical Command to Multiply Genesis 1:28; 9:1; 13:16; 35:1; Leviticus 26:9; Deuteronomy 6:3; Jeremiah 23:3; Matthew 7:1719; 25: 14-30; John 15:5-6,16; Romans 7:4 The genuine Christian will produce fruit/multiply.
III. The Biblical Example of Multiplication: The Church at Antioch Signs of Life and the Life Cycle @ Antioch Church: 1) Scattered believers speak and preach the word @ Antioch. Acts 11:19-20 2) God’s power is displayed as people turn to the Lord and the testimony of His activity spreads. Acts 11:21-22 3) New Believers seek God through cooperate study, worship, and prayer. Acts 11:25, 13:2, 3 4) God speaks to them about the needs around them. Acts 11:28, 13:2-3 5) Believers respond to the needs around them by generously giving, sending, and going. Acts 11:29, 13:3 6) Scattered believers speak and preach the word in neighboring communities. Acts 13:4-5 The Life-Cycle of a local church begins and ends with the word being spoken among unreached peoples.
IV. The Process of Multiplication Obedience of God’s people to send and go, scattering themselves into neighboring communities to make disciples. The common denominator in every healthy church that multiplies is obedience. Acts 13:2-5
About Church Planting
Do We Really Need More Churches? By Ron Sylvia, author of Starting High Definition Churches and Director of Purpose Driven Church Planting, downloaded from www.churchplantingvillage.net Since you are reading this book, you probably realize the importance of starting new churches, and you may even be thinking of starting one yourself. It may surprise you to read this, but not everyone believes starting new churches is a good idea. I talk regularly with church starters who are dealing with criticism from local pastors. I hope this chapter will strengthen your resolve when critics cross your path. First of all, the territorial mindset of some pastors amazes me. They give many reasons to keep new churches out of their area. Some of the most prevalent arguments are: (1) Since we cannot fill existing churches, we do not need new ones. (2) Starting a new church will cause division in existing churches. (3) Our church is not large enough to give up people to start a new church. However, the more I study the need to reach our country for Christ, the more passionate I become about church starting. Following are some compelling reasons to continue starting churches everywhere in the United States.
Spiritually, We Are Losing America Dave Olson, Director of Church Planting for the Evangelical Covenant Church, has researched ten years of consecutive attendance data from 300,000 Christian churches in America. According to Olson, 3,200 churches close their doors each year in America, while 3,600 new churches, that ultimately survive, are started each year. This results in a net gain of 4,600 churches from 1990-2000. However, in order to have kept up with the current population growth during that same time period, we would have needed a net gain of 38,802 new churches.1 In fact, in the last decade, the combined membership of all Protestant denominations has declined 9.5%, while the national population has increased by 11.4%.2 Of the fifty states, only Hawaii saw an increase in percentage of population attending church any given weekend from 1990-2000.3 According to The North American Mission Board: In 1900, there were 27 churches for every 10,000 Americans. In 1950, there were 17 churches for every 10,000 Americans. In 2000, there were 12 churches for every 10,000 Americans. In 2004, there were 11 churches for every 10,000 Americans. 4 If the current trend for church attendance continues in America, by 2050 only 11.7% of America will attend church.5 The Barna Group reports that the number of unchurched adults has nearly doubled from 1991 to 2004. A Barna study explained, “Since 1991, the adult population in the United States has grown by 15%. During that same period, the number of adults who do not attend church has nearly doubled, rising from 39 million to 75 million—a 92% increase!”6 Clearly, we are losing ground with each passing year. We have a growing evangelistic deficit in America that will best be answered by starting new churches.
New Churches Are More Effective in Reaching Lost People C. Peter Wagner, author of Church Planting for a Greater Harvest, says, “The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches.” 7
About Church Planting Dave Olson says, “The strength of Christianity in the United States is based on over 300 years of starting new churches. Church planting is the most powerful growth mechanism for the American Church.”8 After a church is three-years old it is half as effective in reaching people for Christ as it was in the early years of its existence. Once a church is fifteen-years old, it becomes one third as effective. 9 The simple truth is, new churches reach more new people, and established churches reach more established people. For example, The Springs is less effective at reaching the lost today than when we first began. Initially over 75% of our people found Christ at The Springs. Today that number is closer to 60%. Statistically the larger and older a church is, the less likely it is to successfully evangelize. It is like trying to fight the aging process. We can do all we can to look better on the outside, but eventually we have to face the truth—we’re getting older! The best way to fight the evangelistic decline is to start new churches. Ralph Moore writes in his book, Starting a New Church, “One American denomination recently found that 80% of its converts came to Christ in churches less than 2 years old.” 10
New Churches Grow Faster than Established Churches Sadly, 80% to 85% of American churches are on the downside of their life cycle. Aubrey Malphurs writes in Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century, “Of the 15% that are growing, 14% are growing as the result of transfer rather than conversion growth.” 11 Since 1965, most mainline denominations have been in decline. According to Bill Easum, author of Beyond the Box: Innovative Churches That Work, “Studies show that if a denomination wishes to reach more people, the number of new churches it begins each year must equal at least 3% of the denomination’s existing churches. Based on this formula, mainline denominations are failing to plant enough churches to offset their decline.” 12 In the average year, half of all churches do not add one new member through conversion growth. Most of their growth is people coming from other churches. Jesus said we are to be fishers of men, not swappers of fish from aquarium to aquarium! Conversely, healthy new churches often experience exponential growth. New churches think externally. They are more focused on reaching new people because evangelism is their primary purpose. By contrast, established churches fight the centrifugal pull of thinking externally and caring for their members. The older and larger a church becomes, the more time and resources the leaders must give to their members. The resources spent in the early days of a church reaching new people are now spent caring for existing members. Good or bad, this fact is one of the contributing factors to slowing the evangelistic zeal in an established church.
People Are More Open to Change in New Churches New congregations carry less institutional baggage, meaning they are more likely to respond to a changing culture than established churches. The Springs, for instance, moved fourteen times in our first eight years, and our church was excited about each move. Implanted in our church from its inception was a mindset that change would be a constant. New churches attract and are led by pioneers. Pioneers go where no one has gone before and take risks. Established churches normally attract settlers more than pioneers. For pioneering spirits, change is a horse they ride until they can break it and subdue it. Once changes are made, they search for the next wild stallion to break. Change is built into the DNA of most new churches. The phrase “we’ve never done it that way before” is irrelevant. Everything is new! Change always brings a level of discomfort or pain, much like lifting weights initially brings pain to the muscles you just worked out. After the pain subsides, growth and development in the muscles takes place. Healthy change brings growth in our lives and churches.
About Church Planting Remember, change, pain, and then growth. Many rebel against the change and start screaming at the pain stage. Unfortunately those people miss the growth part of the cycle altogether. Ralph Moore writes in Starting a New Church, “Decisions emerge quickly in new congregations; the process moves more and more slowly as a church grows older.” 13 The Springs is a living example of this truth. We used to be able to implement changes rapidly. However, the larger a church becomes, the slower the change process. If you change an established church too quickly, it is similar to taking a sharp turn with a 2,000 passenger cruise liner. Inevitably, someone is going to throw up on you. New churches also speak the language of the next generation. A recent trend is for established churches to begin new contemporary services to reach the next generation. An endeavor to be commended, but we often fall short when an aging pastor attempts to communicate to a younger audience. New churches are often led by younger pastors who know the subtleties of the culture. What they lack in experience, they make up for with pioneering spirits that effectively reach a new generation. We need to build alliances between seasoned veterans and our young church leaders. We need to partner experience with youth to reach the next generation. Starting new churches is the hope for turning America around again. There is a resurgence of interest in church planting in this generation. Ed Stetzer reports that between 1980 and 2000, over 50,000 churches were planted in North America. 14 However, even with that good news, the church planting rate today is only half what it was in the 1950s.15 We need to help church planters grow healthy vibrant churches, changing and reshaping their generation for Christ. 1 Olson,
David T., “Quick Facts on the American Church,” The American Church, Top Ten Most Popular Downloads, 2006, www.theamericanchurch.org, http://theamericanchurch.org/sample/ QuickFacts.ppt#342,13,Slide13 2 Clegg, Tom , How to Plant a Church in the 21 st Century, Seminar, 1997. 3 Olson, David T., “12 Surprising Facts about the American Church,” The State of the Church, The Nation, 2004. www.theamericanchurch.org, http://theamericanchurch.org/ sample/12SurprisingFactsSample.ppt#320,9,Slide9 4 Stetzer, Edward J., An Analysis of the Church Planting Process and Other Selected Factors on the Attendence of SBC Church Plants. A NAMB Self Study. May 2003, http://www.churchplantingvillage .net/atf/cf%7B087EF6B4- D6ES-4BBF-BED17893D360F394%7D/ Summary_of_the_Study.pdf 5 Olson, “Quick Facts on the American Church,” http:// theamericanchurch.org/sample/QuickFacts.ppt#337,8,Slide8 6 Barna Group, The, The Barna Update, www.barna.org, http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdate&BarnaUpdateID= 163, May 4, 2004. 7 Wagner, C. Peter, Church Planting for a Greater Harvest: A Comprehensive Guide (Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 1991), 11. 8 Olson, Dave, The State of the Church, www.theamericanchurch.org, 2004. 9 Malphurs, Aubrey, Planting Growing Churches for the 21st Century: A Comprehensive Guide for New Churches and Those Desiring Renewal. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2004) 44. 10 Moore, Ralph, Starting a New Church: The Church Planter’s Guide to Success. (Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 2002), 23. 11 Malphurs, Planting Growing Churches, 32. 12 Easum, Bill, “Church Planting,” Associates, 2003–2006, www.easumbandy.com, http://www.easumbandy.com/resources/index.php?action=details&records=1062 13 Moore, Starting a New Church, 25. Welcome to Easum, Bandy, and 14 Stetzer, Ed, Planting New Churches in a Postmodern Age. (Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman & Holman, 2003), 11. 15 Olson, “Quick Facts on the American Church,” http://theamericanchurch.org/sample/QuickFacts.ppt#344,15,Slide15
About Church Planting Why Start a New Church? From Spin-Off Churches: How One Church Successfully Plants Another by Rodney Harrison, Tom Cheyney, and Don Overstreet
1. New churches can bring new focus, purpose, energy, and excitement to the sponsoring congregation. Once members of an existing church see how God can use a new church to reach new people in a new way, they will want to do it again and again! 2. New churches usually cost less to get going than it takes to preserve the programs of an existing church. 3. New churches can focus in new and creative ways on unreached people groups, whether they are defined by ethnicity, language, generation, location, or a subculture affinity. The purpose is to grow by conversion, not by transfer from other churches. 4. New churches commonly baptize more people per capita than do older churches. 5. New churches can shape themselves to reach specific communities and groups. They are not bound by traditional styles and methodologies, and they can change and adapt quickly if needed. 6. New churches are needed to get the job done. The regrettable fact is that almost all denominations are declining and the majority of churches are in decline â€“ and this is true despite a general population that is growing at unprecedented rates. New churches are desperately needed just to stay even with population growth. 7. New churches are fertile ground for calling out and developing new leaders, whether church planters, pastoral staff members, or especially lay leaders. 8. Finally, when done right, new churches actually encourage cooperation in the kingdom, not rivalry. This is true if all involved understand the purpose of a healthy new church plant.
Lane & Heather Corley 28156 Hwy. 22 Ponchatoula, LA 70454 985.373.2748 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com www.lanecorley.wordpress.com
Bedico Baptist Church Pastor Leo Miller 28156 Hwy. 22 Ponchatoula, LA 70454 985.845.3417 firstname.lastname@example.org www.bedicobaptist.org
North Shore Baptists Associations Dr. Lonnie Wascom, Director of Missions 11411 McLaughlin Lane Hammond, LA 70403 225.567.5086 email@example.com
To plant something that lasts for a season, plant a flower. To plant something that lasts for a lifetime, plant a tree. To plant something that lasts for eternity, plant a church.