We must not be planting churches simply to produce impressive numbers. The desire is to plant healthy, reproductive churches which are intentionally reaching the lost and equipping the saved. This has been stated by others as churches that are intentionally evangelistic and intentionally disciple making.
If we bear the name evangelical, we must live up to the description. When the emphasis of church planting was first being promoted in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I needed to be convinced by Christian leadership that this was not merely another of the many fads that the church was going through. Having become a Christian in the 1960’s, I had already seen several must do fads that the church has emphasized in the latter half of the 20th century which then died out and give way to the next hot evangelical focus.
Church planting is different. It actually incorporates many of the foci of the past four decades. What is intriguing about church planting is that it is proving to be the most effective form of proactive evangelism at the present time. We see more conversion growth to the kingdom of God through young, new churches than by any other method being used in our more established churches. Statistics have shown that churches in their infancy have a 1 to 3 ratio of commitments to Christ per church member. By the time a church is 10 years old, the ratio drops to 1 to 75.
The procedures utilized in church planting in the Rocky Mountain District are resulting in younger churches that are also highly focused on disciple making, prayer, worship and fellowship. We are very intentional in not only planting churches, but in specific and intensive training of those who are planting churches. We are very aggressive in church planting, and have a full time associate, Greg Pugh, who focuses on training, equipping, coaching, assessing, and coordinating our church planting effort.
Keep in mind that we want all of our churches to be healthy and have some of the strengths of our strategy in church planting. Each year we have several pastors from some of our smaller churches in the district attend the E.F.C.A. church planters boot camp hosted by our district to become better equipped to lead their churches into proactive healthy growth.