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Asking Myself The Right Question About Church Planting (via The Briefing)

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One aspect of having been around for a while is watching the passing trends of Church life.
In the eighties the notion of large attractional churches was vaunted, now smaller groups are being commended.
The capacity to offer a broad spread of ministry activity and life of a larger church is now seen as possibly establishing a complacent consumer culture.
The notion that smaller churches can’t do as much has now been replaced by the concept that a leaner number of people means that everyone stays active, committed and missional.
Sadly, out connection seems ahead of the trend, simply because we lacked the capacity to grow churches during the last fad.
But it means we know that small ain’t necessarily the answer to everything.
The Briefing have posted a substantial article on church planting, credited to both Al Stewart and Tony Payne.
In it they examine some basic propositions about the nature of local churches, point out some bad reasons to plant, and then lay out some positive reasons to do so.
I’ve been tossing around the basic notion of what a church plant by Mount Gambier Presbyterian in Mount Gambier would look like for some time now.
We’re a region of 30,000 people.
Far less than 3,000 of them would worship as part of a local church with any regularity.
There’s room for more churches here in town.
Our building is not full on Sundays.
For a while I’ve been cultivating the idea that we wouldn’t have a second anything simply to accommodate people who don’t like the first meeting.
I get increasingly confused when people question second meetings/congregations because ‘the church will be divided’ or ‘they won’t know everyone’.
Well, how many lost people in Mount Gambier coming to salvation is enough?
The body life of a local church is a powerful Gospel activity. More bodies, more Gospel.
I think a church plant would have their own identity, not simply as a second worship service of MGPC.
Perhaps it would meet for worship somewhere else in town, but use MGPC as a venue for office space and other activities.
And, even as I’m typing this, the issue is crystallising in these terms: The question is not ‘Why do we need to be planting another congregation in Mount Gambier?’, but rather, ‘What factors are currently stopping us from planting another congregation here in Mount Gambier?’
That change in questions creates a very different pattern of thinking about many aspects of church life.
Let’s ponder that for a while and see what answers we get.

One thought on “Asking Myself The Right Question About Church Planting (via The Briefing)

  1. Here at Mountain View Presbyterian Church ( ) we asked similar questions not too long ago. Now we are fully into the process of starting a new church!

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