This month we're devoting our front page to the initial release of data from a comprehensive Lifeway Resarch study into the success factors behind church planting in Australia. The full study will be released in June through Geneva's web site – stay tuned! – but we're happy to be able to present you with some of the key findings, early and unvarnished.
The first thing you will notice is that we have some hard questions to ask. The data conclusively indicates that it's not enough to get keen minded Christians together and open more churches.
Church planting as a whole – embracing all its many variations and approaches – is not demonstrating significantly increased conversion rates as hoped for…
Now I rush to add that it is demonstrating greater rates than we see with established churches – just not as high as we expected. There was a time when, both here and overseas, missiologists regularly proclaimed that church planting was the most effective way of getting new people into church. That's just not the case – when church planting is done ineffecitvely.
That said, when you drill down and begin to consider the statistics in their context we discover that there are various approaches to church planting that drag the results down as a whole. Equally, there are some techniques applied by other plants that are showing gains well above the average. It seems that, under God, not all church planting styles are equal.
Consider the information below. It's sobering, but ultimately encouraging. There are some very good techniques we can be applying, which God is using to call many people in our unchurched nation to Christ, and this preview of the study begins to unearth them. We commend them to your consideration!
What makes Australian church planting work? The details… – What impacts the growth of weekly church attendance? It's one of the key questions being asked by church planting teams as they engage in local mission, prepare to launch new congregations and see the lost mature in Christ. The recent survey into Australian Church Planting identified the importance of intentionality, experience and support.
The results are in: What makes Australian church plants work – Internationally respected missiologist Dr Ed Stetzer and Lifeway Research’s Associate Director Scott McConnell in an hour-long special webinar discuss the results of the latest study into Australian church planting.
Highlights from the Australian church planting survey – Scott Sanders gives readers the cliff notes on some of the most significant preliminary findings in the survey results.
Telling people you're telling people a plus – One of the key habits that correlates with success for new works is a habit of monthly communicating their committment to multiplication – but despite that, only 33% of our churches see this as a priority!
Here are a selection of great, practical resources that will help you put into practice the positive findings discussed above!
Buidling the evangelism machine – Mikey Lynch interviews EV Church's Craig Dobbie on how to establish and develop your church as one that has evangelism as part of its DNA. He deals with both the broad principles and practical steps from the experience of having developed EV's evangelism strategies from its early days as a church plant.
Mission-minded ministry – Craig Dobbie, the Mission Pastor at EV Church on the Central Coast discusses what it means to be a mission-minded church, and how the priorities of his role have been shaped by that decision.
A church-planting trend I'd like to see – Andrew Heard considers the trends that are currently shaping Australian ministry and recommends a trend he'd like to see in a society increasingly opposed to the Gospel.