When Mary and I find ourselves talking about church planting, we often get the question, “Why?” It’s a common misconception that because there appears to be churches on every corner in the majority of American communities, there is little to no need for new ones. Here are just a few of the reasons why we are being called to plant a new church:
To Take Part in the Mission of the Universal Church
Church planting is best described as the establishment of a new church in a community for the witness and proclamation of the gospel. Most church plants often work as part of a larger network, organization, or denomination for theological affiliation along with pastoral support, coaching, training, and financial development. Mary and I have been spending months in prayer and discussion with a number of these organizations in the Chicago area. They are a joy and blessing to work with and to be prayed over by them. We have been so encouraged to see the growing passion, like-mindedness, and humility that each of these organizations demonstrate towards the shared goal of making disciples in all places.
To Multiply Disciples of Jesus Christ
Church planting is not about constructing additional brick and mortar safe-havens for existing or transplanted Christians, developing new and innovative programs that seek to make Jesus “cool” or “relevant” in the eyes of society, or an attempt to “grow greener grass” in a passive attempt to “steal sheep” from existing churches to build a bigger and better ministry. Rather, church planting has an intentional, shared, and communal pursuit with a single goal in mind: to multiply disciples of Jesus Christ. Statistics overwhelmingly show us that church plants are more effective at reaching non-believers than established churches in a community or city. It is also observed that the continual planting of new churches in a community brings renewal to existing, established churches, and can help spark a unified revival of the gospel among their congregations and outwards into their city. This is especially true when church plants join or help create unique partnerships among like-minded churches and integrate themselves within the fabric of the community — a priority for our new church.
To Create a Church for a Changing Culture
Millennials and the up-and-coming Generation Z are the two most disenfranchised generations from the church that the United States has ever seen. As a result, we are finding America and most of our major urban populations best described as being “post-Christian”. We now have the largest generations in America growing up outside of the influence of the church, and in many cases, have never stepped foot into one. Mary and I have a passion for creating a church that appeals and resonates with this growing population. We want to be part of the solution of bringing Christ back into the conversation by returning to our trusted and proven historical roots.
To Participate with the Holy Spirit
The reality is, the Holy Spirit is the activator and primary agent in the expansion of the kingdom of God. Churches, spiritual revival, and new disciples of Jesus cannot be produced apart from His work. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church he founded in Corinth to remind them of the this very fact, “…neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:7). Our call to church plant is not a call to create something new, but a call to being a follower of Christ who leads us by His Spirit to the fertile ground where He has chosen His Kingdom to grow.
Thank you to those that continue to pray for our family as we begin this journey. We’ll be delighted to share more of our journey and ways that you can support us in the coming weeks ahead!