Church planting is harder than ever. As David Kinnaman points out in 3 Reasons Why Leading Is Harder Than Ever, we aren't battling other churches as much as we are battling a culture in transition.
David points out three trends he discovered in his research: anti-institutionalism, accelerated life, and increased expectations. The risk in planting churches is great, but that doesn't mean it's not a viable way we can grow the Kingdom and engage this world with the gospel. I want to offer some encouragement to those who call themselves churches planters:
- Anti-institutionalism is best overcome with relationships. People form their ideas about your church and your intentions based on their interactions with you. You're ability to build relationships with people will help you overcome an anti-church undercurrent that seems to be growing across the country. Even if what others say is true and the U.S. is now a post-Christian nation, it doesn't mean that relationships aren't a game-changing strategy we can employ to reverse the trend and see peoples' lives changed forever.
- Accelerated life means people need peace and hope more than ever. The pace of life is crazy! You probably know that better than anyone. People need to know what they can count on. When the world is constantly in flux, we look for what never changes. You possess the knowledge and discipline necessary to discover eternal peace and hope. People need what you have. It's the only antidote for an addicted and neurotic culture.
- Increased expectations means authenticity is in great demand. Church planters often feel like they are the underdog. You do church out of a box rather than your own building. Budgets are tight and options are limited. You can sit and sulk over how you're getting the short end of the stick or you can leverage the greatest asset you have to make a difference in the Kingdom: yourself. People will put up with a few less of the "extras" in church when they know their leaders are genuine and authentic.
I'm looking forward to speaking at Velocity 2012. I hope you're planning on being there, too. If you're a church planter, you definitely don't want to miss this. Think of it as a conference for church planters in the trenches. As you know, church planting is complex. But God never intended us to accomplish our work in isolation from other believers and leaders. I hope you're planning to attend. Hit me up via social media. I'd love to connect.
What is the most challenging aspect of church planting you're facing right now?