Often when I write or talk about churches that are planting multiple churches I get pushback in the form of the question “I wonder how many of these church plants are more like house churches?” I’m not sure why I get that question more than “I wonder how many people these churches are reaching?”
So I decided to do some research and ask a couple of church planters that focus on multiplication this question “How many people do you estimate your church plants account for when counted all together?” The answer may surprise you.
I asked two of the church planters I know who focus on multiplication what the total worship attendance is of all their plants on a given Sunday.
The first planter is Ralph Moore (Hope Chapel) who has personally planted 70 churches. When I asked him he wasn’t sure so he did some research. Here’s his estimate – the 2200 churches that were birthed out of his original 70 churches account for some 250,000 people. Some of the churches were small, but some had between 2,000-10,000 in attendance. I don’t think those numbers would be categorized as house churches.
The second planter I asked was Brian Bolt (City Reach) whose church is ten years old and has planted over 50 churches. The total attendance in those churches was over 10,000 on a given Sunday. He went on to say that 100% of those church plants were still viable. Again, not a house church scenario. The more churches we have like these two, the more a church planting movement is possible.
Now, there is nothing wrong with house churches. But there is something wrong with people being suspicious when it comes to the multiplication church planting model. The number of churches talking about a commitment to church multiplication is growing. I chose two pastors to highlight, but I could have chosen others, like J.D. Grear (The Summit) or Bob Roberts (North Wood). But there isn’t room in this article for the entire list of churches moving toward commitment to multiplication.
At the moment, about 4% of U. S. churches are considered to be churches committed to reproduction. However, there is a growing group of pastors and denominational leaders who are committed to raising awareness of the need for U. S. churches to move from mere addition or reproduction to a commitment to multiplication where churches plant churches that plant churches and so on till a movement is born.
So, my prayer for the U.S. Church is that it will begin to raise up the kind of disciples who are willing to do whatever it takes to plant enough churches to win back the U.S. to Christianity. That seems to me to be a worthy goal to work toward.
Given that goal, The Effective Church Group has committed to a 2016 tour on radical disciple making. One of the chief complaints we hear from pastors is the need to develop faithful, effective disciples in their churches. We have an epidemic of nominal Christians who act like consumers and expect the church to pander to their needs instead of being sold out to the gospel and being willing to go and serve rather than sit and soak. We are bringing the conference to a location near you. You can see the locations and dates by clicking here.
We’re asking you to join us in what we pray will evolve into a multiplication movement.
Question: How have you seen churches focus on multiplication rather than mere addition? Which churches have done it well? Share some examples along with your thoughts in the Comments section below.