Make Church Planting a Fundamental Part of Your Evangelism Strategy

Started my read of Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird’s new book Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters become Movement Makers. As I begin the echo of the latest research from the Lifeway group (see: is bouncing of the walls of my spirit. In brief, that research says that only 3% of American churches were the primary support for a church plant last year and only 14% were involved in any level of financial support of church planting.

Meaning 86% of all churches spent all their resources (in the main, since 80% or more of all churches in America are plateaued or declining) on holding territory for the kingdom rather than advancing the kingdom through church planting. Pitiful.

Here’s a great quote from the forward by Rick Warren.

“Two thousand years of Christian history have proven that new churches grow faster, and reach more people, than established churches. The growth on any plant is always on the newest branches. … Viral Churches casts a clear and compelling vision that calls for every local congregation, regardless of size or age, to make church multiplication a fundamental component of their evangelism strategy.” p. xi

Could not agree more.  I will post a review later next week.

2 thoughts on “Make Church Planting a Fundamental Part of Your Evangelism Strategy

  1. Marty: good words. “Missional” is integral in the life of the church. But my concern is one of balance. If Gene Getz was right and we can measure a church by its “faith, hope and love,” not “numbers, nickels and noses,” we need to emphasize all three elements. Having been at this CP thing for 30+ years, I am concerned. In the 70s and 80s, it was all about “preaching/teaching (the faith element). In the 90s, “small groups and worship (love)” Now we’re talking “missional” (hope) almost to the exclusion of the other biblical imperatives. Why can’t Christian leaders get off the pendulum swing and be balanced?


    1. “Balance,” said J.I.Packer, “what a hideously self-conscious word.” I don’t know how to find balance. I want it; I just don’t know how to get it. I think we are always swinging between extremes because of our own sin and proclivities compounded by background, genetics and experience.

      We’re a mess.

      But I think we can strive for faithfulness to the light we have, while being ever mindful of the mistakes that we and others have made in the past. I think this is part of what is going on in passages like I Cor. 10 and its admonishments that we learn from those who have gone before us in the stories recorded in Scripture.

      The reality seems to be that God, in his infinite mercy and long-suffering nature is content to use our bungling efforts even though we do tend to swing from one imbalance to another. In fact the history of the great evangelistic thrusts seems to be exactly that. Some great heart sees an imbalance in our praxis and tries to bring balance, winding up with an equal but opposite imbalance.

      Personally, I think that many of the writers in John Fuder and Noel Castelanos’ book A Heart for the Community: New Models for Urban and Suburban Ministry, get it it right or come close.

      But then, I’m biased. I wrote chapter 22. ; )


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