My mentor introduced me to J.D. Payne’s blog, Missiologically Thinking: Equipping the Church for the Multiplication of Disciples, Leaders, and Churches. JD Payne’s latest blog made me click. It’s not often you see a statement like this: Church Planting is not the Single-Most Effective Methodology.
You must read it. Click on the link above and read the whole thing.
But this! This is where you need to pay attention:
“And someone somewhere is going to say, “The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches.” And everyone is going to assume that because all of these churches were started, we are making wise contributions to the Great Commission. When you hear these things, be a wise Kingdom steward and remember the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) and how churches were planted in the New Testament (Acts 11:20-26; 13-14; 1 Thes 1:2-10). Then ask, “How many people came to faith and how many sheep were shuffled around in the Kingdom to plant all these churches?” (emphasis mine)”
Thom Rainer said the same thing in 7 Reasons Why Evangelism Should be a Priority in Your Church:
“Look at the data. Measure almost any group of churches today versus thirty years ago. You’ll likely find that only one person is being reached with the gospel for every forty to sixty church members. You will find that conversions have declined precipitously. And where you find numerical growth, you are more likely to find that the growth is transfer of Christians from one church to another. That’s not evangelism. That’s sheep shuffling. (emphasis mine)”
Social Media is as polarizing in the church as alcohol. I’ve heard all the objections (I think) and the ones who are for social media only think of it in church-only terms, like marketing or denominational discipleship. The most common objection is lack of vision. As you can see in the above quotes, two totally separate experts agree church growth in most cases is due to sheep shuffling. People move. People hate the church they attend and leave it for another. At a church communications conference, I sat at different tables and learned about different communications people on church staff who had trouble getting leadership and/or congregations involved in social media. Some said their church was dying.
If only one person is being reached with the Gospel for every forty to sixty church members, why aren’t we teaching our church members how to use social media in more authentically strategic ways? And who are those people we haven’t reached yet? The International Student population is at an all-time high. Refugees live in our country. People migrate here all the time. The harvest is not lacking. This is where WorldVenture comes in.
I partnered with WorldVenture to become a supported staffer with them so we can work with our partners, allies, and church partners to understand other cultures, use social media in ways that bring a full harvest, empower our workers in the field with knowledge, and help partners, allies, church partners, and workers use their own social networks to be part of Social Media as global outreach. If more than half of our church population is online, why aren’t we training them?
Let’s ponder that a while.