Why Plant Churches?
Church planting is the Biblical model for kingdom growth.
Before his ascension, Jesus left his disciples with a mission to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the body of believers (Matt 28). His strategy was church planting, building on this work of the Apostles (Matt 16). And this is exactly what we see in the book of Acts. Paul and others go out into the world, share the gospel to new people in new areas and they gather together into a church (Acts 2). Those people who come to faith in Christ are then gathered under elders and leaders and into new churches (Titus 1).
There is a huge need for more churches.
We need Jesus’ eyes for our community; we want to see the great number of lost people around us and desire them to come to Christ. The United States is one of the biggest mission fields in the world. Less than 20% of the population attends church and the number of churches in America has shrunk by 70% per capita since 1900. Our nation’s population is growing by roughly 11.5% per year, while church attendance is simultaneously dropping by 9.5%.
There is a great need for more churches in Colorado Springs.
Only 16% of the population in Colorado Springs is evangelical protestant; that’s even less than Denver! This means that there are over 500,000 people in El Paso County who don’t know Christ. We would need 700 new churches to meet that need. Colorado Springs is also expected to grow by 14% in the next 10 years. That means an additional 80,000 people who need to hear the good news of Christ right here in our own city.
The best evangelism strategy is church planting.
On average, church plants see eight times more conversions in the first 5 years than established churches. Church plants also form with around 10-40% of attendees coming from unchurched backgrounds. If we imagine the Christian church as a tree providing shade and rest for the world, each individual church body is like a different branch of that tree providing shade and shelter to a unique part of the world. We are called to reach all kinds of people, and we can do that by planting all kinds of churches in all different areas of our city.
Multiplication is the best strategy for reaching large numbers of people.
If a church committed to planting a church every 5 years, and those church plants each planted new churches every 5 years, there would have 15 new churches in town within 20 years!
Western Church Planting Network (WCPN)
Forestgate Presbyterian Church is a member of the Western Church Planting Network. We are partnering with Village Seven and other churches in our Presbytery to pool resources and ideas together to plant churches all across the Front-Range.
We are living in one of the most unchurched regions in America. So we all asked the question, “how do we reach the west with the Gospel?” We do it together. Training church planters and strategically sending them out. See this video below by Village Seven:
What is the Network?
While the WCPN is its own separate 501(3)c it functions within the bounds of our presbytery and any new church planting work is ultimately approved there. The network is made up of churches who voluntarily joined and contribute financially to fund church planting all over Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. The network is there to think strategically about where to plant next, to develop church planting residencies, and to help train up residents to potentially take on planting in these new areas.
Why does the network exist?
The west is hard ground to till and has, in the past, seen higher rates of failure in church planting. And a group of churches said “We’ve got to do better then this” and they put together some lessons learned and made sure to test candidates better to ensure they were good fits for the west before launching them out. This is what led to the creation of 2-3 year long residencies for church planters. We can now pool finances, experience, and a better understanding about planting in the Western US together to develop and evaluate new church planters. The network is there to think strategically about where to plant next and the goal is to plant 2 churches per year, which over 10 years would nearly double the size of our presbytery.
Why did we join?
We want to see the expansion of God’s kingdom in our backyard, in the west and we believe church planting is one of the best ways to do that. We now have a huge knowledge base and support system to pull from when we start planting. They can help us assess and select potential candidates, aid in the development of a residency for church planters, and provide mentoring and development of that planter.