Why Does Church Planting Matter?
We are convinced that new churches reach new people and that church planting is God’s appointed means for fulfilling the Great Commission. Less than 4% of the population of Manchester currently attends a church and 60 new churches of 100 people would need to be planted by 2030 simply to keep up with population growth. The case for planting churches is compelling.
Who Does It Involve?
Every Christian. It’s tempting to think that church planting is just for the swashbuckling pioneers in the church but it is actually for every church member. If church planting is God’s appointed means for fulfilling the Great Commission then every Christian should be involved in either going with or sending a church plant.
Why Should I Care?
Because Jesus cares. Christ so loves his church that he gave his life for her. Church planting is the way of growing his church in new places and cultures at new times. If we desire to have a heart after God’s own heart we should care about church planting. That doesn’t mean that we ourselves will necessarily go with a church plant but we will be committed to helping with training, funding, resourcing, encouraging and praying for church plants in our city and region. Church planting is for everyone.
How Many Churches Are Involved?
Eight and growing. We bring together Baptists and Anglicans, Presbyterians and Charismatics. We are a broad group of gospel-centred churches who believe that the gospel calls on us to be generous for the sake of his Kingdom in our city and region.
Is This a Proven Strategy?
Yes. The Birmingham Collective was started in 2012 with a vision of planting 20 churches in Birmingham by 2020. Wonderfully that vision was realised and now the dream is to plant 30 churches by 2023. Redeemer City to City has pioneered numerous church planting movements in the major cities of the world. Our desire is to see that happen in Manchester in a way that grows the Kingdom throughout the north of England.
What’s a Gospel Church?
The gospel is good news about what God has done for us rather than good advice about what we must do for him. It is fundamentally about Christ: his perfect life, his substitutionary death bearing the punishment for our sin, and his glorious resurrection bringing the hope of renewal and restoration. A gospel church is a church which tenaciously holds to that good news and lets it shape everything that the church believes and does. Gospel churches come from a wide range of denominations and come in all shapes and sizes. The thing that unites them is a generosity that flows out of their gospel convictions and leads them to put Kingdom growth before growth of their own local church. It is the gospel that enables us to put aside personal cultural preferences for the sake of seeing the lost reached.
Aren’t All Churches Gospel Churches?
Sadly not. Some churches deny the historicity of the good news of the gospel. Others insist that Christianity is about good advice rather than good news. Others don’t let the gospel really shape their beliefs and practices. We believe that the gospel is powerful and can transform any individual, church or institution. Therefore, we remain hopeful and expectant.
How Does Church Planting Show Love For Jesus?
When we love someone we love what they love. Jesus loves his church and he loves the lost. Church planting grows the church and reaches the lost. How can we not be passionate about church planting?
How Does Church Planting Show Love For the Lost?
New churches reach new people. Tim Keller and the team at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York have done some very helpful research into the effectiveness of church planting. They’ve found that new churches are much more effective at reaching both unchurched people and people outside the demographic of existing congregations. According to research from numerous studies, the average new church gains most of its new members (60%-80%) from people not currently worshipping anywhere else. By comparison, churches 10-15 years of age gain 80-90% of new members by transfer from other congregations. This means that the average new congregation will bring 6 to 8 times more new people into the life of the Body of Christ that an older congregation of the same size. Why? Keller writes: “As a congregation ages, powerful internal institutional pressures lead it to allocate most of its resources and energy toward the concerns of its members and constituents, rather than toward those outside its walls. Older congregations, therefore, have a stability and steadiness that many people thrive on and need. Many non-Christians will only be reached by churches with long roots in the community and the trappings of stability and respectability. But new churches, of necessity, are forced to focus far more of their energies to the needs of their non-members and become much more sensitive to the sensibilities of non-believers. There is also a cumulative effect. In the first two years of our Christian walk, we have far more close, face-to-face relationships with non-Christians than we do later. This new Christians attract non-believers to services 5 to 10 times more than a long-time Christian. New believers beget new believers.” (City to City, Church Planting Manual)
The life of Paul and the action of the early church demonstrate that church planting was a primary activity. Any church wishing to rediscover the dynamic nature of the early church should consider planting new churches.