Starting churches in Europe isn’t for the faint of heart. In fact, it’s impossible to start a church in Europe unless God works a miracle (but isn’t that a nice prerequisite?). But if it is so difficult, why would someone even try?
Here are seven reasons:
1. Planting churches is the single most effective form of evangelism
To reach more people for Christ, would you rather have one church of 1,000 people or 10 churches of 100? Christian Schwartz, in his book Natural Church Development, looked at the growth of over 1,000 churches on 6 continents. His research shows that smaller churches (with an average attendance of 51 people) were 16 times more effective in bringing people to Christ than larger churches.
As C. Peter Wagner famously wrote in Church Planting for a Greater
The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches.
2. Planting churches will result in a multiplication of leaders
What church or Christian organization doesn’t lament the lack of mature leaders. In fact, many churches oppose church planting because they are afraid they will lose some key leaders to the church plant. However, in the midst of church planting, leaders will arise in both the plantED congregation and the plantING congregation. We’ve seen it over and over again.
3. Planting churches is biblical
Jesus promised to build His church (Matthew 16:17). Paul showed us what that looked like when he left behind him in town after town, not a series of converts or small groups or synagogues, but a series of newly planted churches.
4. Planting churches results in a lasting spiritual heritage
Unless the Lord returns first, your congregation will cease to exist. Where are the churches Paul started so many centuries ago? They’re all gone! Churches have a life cycle, and they inevitably die. The one way to assure that your congregation leaves behind a spiritual heritage is to start vibrant new churches.
5. Planting churches promotes your church’s values and identity
Do you believe your church has a special DNA, a unique vision, or an important role to play in society? Well, what better way to leave an impact on the world than reproducing that DNA or vision or role through the planting of churches?
6. Planting churches is natural
In his book Beyond Church Growth, Robert E. Logan compares church planting to the reproduction of apple trees. He notes that while apple trees produce apples, the apple itself contains seeds that are designed to produce more apple trees. He concludes,
The body of Christ is like the apple tree – producing [both] individual disciples and more congregations.
We claim that the church is a “body” (1 Corinthians 12:27). What is more natural for a body or living organism than to reproduce itself?
7. Planting churches reaches different kinds of people with the Gospel
Not only does church planting reach more people (see #1 above), but
it reaches more kinds of people. One church cannot reach people of all generations, of all ethnicities, of all musical tastes, etc. While the
mother church might be effective at reaching a certain audience, the
daughter churches can certainly reach new ones. This was Rick Warren’s point when he penned an article titled “It Takes All Kinds of Churches.” If we truly want to reach all kinds of people, it will take all kinds of churches!
That’s only seven reasons why we need to start new congregations throughout Europe. Can you think of others? Let us know!
Still, is church planting really enough to reach Europe, or do we need to think a step beyond church planting?