This week we're looking at Five Scary Trends that Could Sink the Church. I am not camping out here to spread doom and gloom; I'm actually very bullish on the local church. My goal is to shine the light on cracks in the foundation that could keep us from becoming the overcoming church God called us to. So let's look at Scary Trend Five:
Who knew that church planting could become trendy? My grandfather was a church planter in Oklahoma back in the 1940s and 50s, and it was anything but glamorous. There were no conferences, web sites or networks; just Grandpa, Grandma and their three kids scratching out an existence on donated food and hand me down clothes; preaching the Gospel to sharecroppers and farmhands.
But now it seems like every young leader is thinking about planting a church, and churches are popping up in every school, theater and warehouse in sight. Each church plant seems uniquely the same as every other church plant; same music, same four piece band, same lights, same culturally relevant message uniquely geared to the same subset of society. When you scratch below the surface you find that the majority of the attenders at many of these cookie cutter plants are transplants from other churches. (We even have name for it: split+plant=splant) Are we just subdividing the herd and moving them into different pastures?
We can't continue to plant churches to plant churches. The formulas we used for the past 30 years aren’t as effective any more (except to draw a crowd of disgruntled church attenders from other churches). We have to stop planting churches to plant churches and we have to crack the code on reaching into the community where the majority of people don't give God or church a second thought.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we need fewer church plants. I believe we need more church plants. Many, many more. But we need new models. We need models that can grow slower but still be sustainable. We need bi-vocational church planters who don’t have the pressure to get the tithe up quickly to pay the bills. (Show me a new church with a big tithe income and I’ll show you a church split.) . We need visionary mega-church pastors who will financially back younger leaders starting radically different congregations.
And this goes way beyond just house churches. House churches are great for a certain niche, but over and over people have shown a desire, a need, to gather in larger groups. We need more house churches, more community churches, more mega-churches that are ACTUALLY reaching people far from God. That's where i want to put the majority of my time and energy for the next several years, helping new leaders find new ways to break the church planting code in America and beyond. What examples have you seen of church plants that reach beyond the walled garden and impact those far from God? How can we replicate those models?
So far this week we’ve looked at Multisite Mania, Reform Revolution, Worship Worship and the Planting Pandemic. Tomorrow we’ll finish by looking at what I believe is the scariest trend of all: Pastor Praise.