The Need for American Church Planting

Here are two statistical reasons why American churches need to be concerned with planting churches in the United States:

The US population continues to grow rapidly.  David T. Olson’s writes in his 2008 book, The American Church in Crisis,

Alyzandra, or ‘Aly’ as her parents nicknamed her, was born in Chicago on October 18, 2006, just before six o’clock in the morning—near the exact time the Census Bureau predicted that the U.S. population would reach 300 million . . . Whoever was the 300 millionth America, his or her arrival made one thing perfectly clear—at a time when the populations of most developed nations were stagnant or declining, the United States was growing at unprecedented numbers (David T. Olson, The American Church in Crisis, 34). 

As the population increases, we need to be more committed—not less committed—to establishing gospel-preaching churches in the United States. 

The number of churches in America is not keeping up with the need.  4,009 churches are started every year but when churches that closed are factored in (3,700 every year!), we are simply not keeping up.  Again from Olson’s book,

Unfortunately, the 3,700 churches that close per year reduce the impact of the 4,000 new churches that start, leaving a net yearly gain of 300 churches in the United States.  A net gain of 3,205 churches is needed each year for the American church to keep up with the population growth (David T. Olson, The American Church in Crisis, 146). 

Every Christian can and should be involved in the task of planting churches in one way or another.  The Apostle Paul shares this testimony about the church at Thessalonica,

For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything (1 Thessalonians 1:8). 

Doug McLachlan rightly observes,

The church [at Antioch] was birthed by unknowns (Acts 11:19-21).  This is perfectly consistent with the emphasis in Acts that God accomplishes His goals on earth through a variety of people.  The complex and beautiful mosaic of people whom God used in the rapid expansion of the Christian faith is thrillingIt means that there was no singular mold for ministry in the New Testament church, and that God is prepared to use ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary objectives, if they will make themselves available (emphasis added, Doug McLachlan, “Antioch,” in Missions in a New Millennium, 276). 


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