A few years ago, I sat down with the manager of the athletic complex we hoped to use as our first worship venue. He asked me, “So, why do you want to start a new church? I mean, this is Central Texas, don’t we have enough churches already?” Immediately, my brain went straight to the influential C. Peter Wagner quote, “Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.” With this quote in the back of my mind, I told him that new churches reach new people and that’s why we’re starting this new church.
Now, that we’re a little over 3 years into the church planting game, I’ve been wrestling with that quote. Do new churches really reach new people? Because, on the one hand, I’m not naive. I know that a good chunk of people that are part of my church today have been Christians for awhile and they’ve transferred in to my congregation for a variety of reasons. So, am I kidding myself? Am I just further dividing up the church of Jesus Christ and patting myself on the back for it?
But then I look at our first two baptisms, two teenagers who had never stepped foot in a church building before two members of our launch team shared the gospel with them while inviting them to our public launch. I look at the 62 year old woman we baptized 3 months ago, who came to faith as her adult children brought her to worship where she said it was like “hearing God’s Word for the first time.” And then I look at our first daughter church who’s second site is increasingly made up of homeless people who didn’t have a faith community until they started worship in a coffee shop. I look at our second daughter church filled with people I don’t know at all, but are finding a church home for the first time in a long time.
As I reflect on these little anecdotes and many more, my conviction that planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is strengthened. So, how does that work? Why is it that new churches reach new people? It comes down to the fact that the very nature of starting a new church forces certain evangelistic rhythms that yield fruit over time. It’s these rhythms that I look forward to exploring with my brothers pastors at the upcoming pastors’ conference.
By: Pastor Gabe Kasper
ACTS Church Leander