Best Starting Places for New Churches
Copyright © 2009 by Galen Currah, Ed Aw and George
This document may be freely copied, stored, distributed and sold.
During this decade, certain
‘universal factors’, common traits and basic practices of church-planting
movements have become widely known and are now being taught in most
countries. Consequently, Church Planter mentors and teachers are increasingly
being called upon to advise, train and coach those
who want to launch a Church Planting Movement (CPM), quickly, where
conventional churches cost too much or reproduce too slowly. However, such
workers can quickly prove disappointed, when CPM methods do not seem to work
for them, even angry with you for misleading them.
disappointing church planting results can be traced back to the first steps:
starting with an unresponsive segment of the local population. The table
below identifies eight less fruitful starting places and suggests eight
RESPONSIVE AND TYPICALLY BETTER PLACES
IN WHICH TO START NEW CHURCHES
Responsive Places to Start
Better Places to Start
Christians who are willing to form a cell.
Some imagine they will start cells with believers and multiply
them. Such seldom happens, for believers seeking fellowship usually have
little evangelistic urge or opportunity.
Non-Christians who will open their home.
This is what Jesus instructed the 12 and the 72 to do. Most
non-believers have many unbelieving friends and relatives who they will
& upper class
These people sense less need of help from God. Many who have material means and social status, when they count the cost
of following Jesus, choose not to do so.
The poor are often willing to let God help them, and
will be pleased when Jesus answers their prayers. They are also less likely
to suffer much loss for becoming followers of Jesus.
Rich or poor, many folk sense no need for more than what
they currently enjoy. Some will waste your time discussing religion, spirituality and philosophy, fitting Jesus into their
There are always folks whom God has been preparing to
receive his Good News. Ask God to bring you and some of them together.
Answer their questions and teach them the Good News.
Where the Good News is widely known, there are more spiritually
blinded folk who have, anti-Christian feelings and philosophies. Unconverted
Christians have also given the Good News a bad reputation.
The power of God often appears strongest where the need
is greatest. Certainly, God desires that all ‘un-reached’ populations hear
his Good News. In un-evangelized regions, one meets more hostility and more
receptivity, at the same time.
Where there are few needs, there is often little
interest in finding God. Furthermore, most Christian workers often reside
in more comfortable towns where they are needed
Where believers meet material and practical needs of
populations at risk, treating all equally, showing no favoritism, many
disaster victims respond to God’s mercy and to his messengers.
Evangelism that seeks to persuade an individual to
become a believer, usually fails to win others, so no church can start.
Most church multiplication happens among whole households.
Seek to contact receptive heads of households.
& the modern
The Western nations have come through two hundred years
of incessant propaganda touting naturalism, evolutionism, scientism and rationalism. Thus, their understanding is largely darkened to eternal realities.
& the post-modern
The Good News speaks about spiritual things: God, a
risen Intercessor, power over evil, a loving
community operating with spiritual gifts. These realities make better sense
where the population has highly-spiritual beliefs
Almost every new evangelistic effort and church plant
will attract individuals whose character or personality repels others.
Better not to build a new work around such folk.
The Good News normally flows easily within social
networks, amongst friends, relatives and
co-workers. It is normally amongst the socially connected that churches
will start and reproduce.
It can take many years to learn the language, gestures and cultural cues and social etiquette that are
required to communicate the Good News clearly and to train church planters.
Keep learning while raising up locals who will do
most of the work, as quickly as you can.
Evangelism, church development
and spiritual gifts remain highly dependent upon local communication
systems and complex cultural traits that you may lack. You can communicate better
with folk within your own culture or a similar one.