We church planters are an opportunistic lot… So much so that many growing communities are overrun with new churches. Paul notes the same condition in Romans 15:23. The area had been evangelized and it was time to move on. Because of what I do I am often called by potential church planters and asked to recommend a location for a new church.
Really the question is, “Where can I go and have excellent and immediate results?” There was a time when you could go to any high mobility community, plant a church and draw an immediate crowd. Fifteen years ago when I came to the North Carolina community where I still minister new homes were popping up like mushrooms after a hard rain. We were like a mosquito at a beach party. We could take a bite anywhere and draw blood. Our church grew rapidly. Today there are a flood of new churches in our community. But the community’s growth has come to a screeching halt. Only a handful of homes were built this last year. And church growth stats across the community reflect that. What to do?
My answer may disappoint you… The most populous part of the country is the North East. Unfortunately, it’s also the most resistant area to evangelical Christianity. Is God forcing us to go there at last by drying up the easy opportunities elsewhere? There are millions of people in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, etc. who are facing a Christless eternity.
We did a marketing program for a church planter in Salem, Massachusetts – the home of the American Wicca Association. (We make automated phone calls for churches – www.tellstart.com) Each night I listened to the responses of the people who answered our automated phone calls.
I had to marvel at the steadfastness of the church planter who was ministering in what might be the most resistant community in the country. The Satan worshipers told us who they were. One guy even told us he was the Anti-Christ.
As I spoke with my pastor friend that week he put it into perspective for me. “Someone has to come here and do this.” I was smitten as I had to admit to myself that I had chosen the easy road and he had chosen the hard.
If you want to plant a church where you are just about the only game in town you have options. But be prepared for a lot of cold weather, a lot of rejection from the predominantly Catholic population and slow, painstaking results. Bottom line… we cannot just ignore millions of people for whom Jesus shed His blood. Go North East, young man!