Pastors often ask me if we really need new churches. This question is often accompanied by a reference to the number of churches that already exist in their towns or cities. Honest truth? I seldom know how many churches are in their cities. I don’t spend a lot of time counting churches. I count lost people.
A great website for counting lost people in your community is www.thearda.com. It categorizes people based on their religious affiliation. In almost every community, the largest block is titled “unclaimed.” These are the people I count. The people who are disconnected from God. The people who still carry the guilt and shame of their sin. The people who live each day without the hope of Christ. The people who are part of the 83 percent of the U.S. population who don’t currently attend a church.
As a pastor, I had to come to grips with the fact that the majority of people in my town would never darken the door of my church. For whatever reason, we just weren’t going to connect with them. We tried. In fact, over a five-year period we distributed the Jesus film to every household in our city. We trained our people to evangelize. We organized outreach events. We prayed with diligence.
No matter how much effort a church invests, it’s not able to connect with all the lost people in its region. It takes multiple churches to do that. It takes churches designed to reach segments of the population that are not yet responding to the gospel. And that’s why we don’t just need more churches. We need churches committed to decreasing lostness. We need churches committed to understanding the people who live in their neighborhoods. We need churches more concerned with doing the hard work of winning souls than gathering discontented saints.
We can help you plant a church like that. Regular Baptist Church Planting is focused on partnering with churches, pastors, and mission agencies to start churches that decrease lostness. We can help you develop a plan. We can provide funds to help accomplish that plan. We can pray for you and encourage you as you seek to engage in the awesome mission of God to redeem people for His glory.
For more information, contact me at cjewell [at] garbc [dot] org.
National Church Planting Coordinator
for Regular Baptist Ministries