This month (April 2018), our plant team is researching established churches in our target area to discover the needs that they currently address. Our purpose is to to discover at least one need that is still unmet and that aligns with our vision for a new church.
In his book Church in the Making, Ben Arment states, “I’ve been told that we can’t have enough church plants in one city, that there are far too few churches to reach everyone in a community. But this is dangerous advice. It assumes that everyone in town is immediately ready to start attending a church at any given time. But unfortunately they’re not. The truth is, it is indeed possible to have too many churches if they’re all the same kind of churches” (pp. 145-146). He goes on to identify several categories (I’d say, personalities) of churches: the Teaching Church, the Relational Church, the Missions Church, the Outreach Church, the Megachurch, the Mercy Church, the Denominational Church, and the High Church. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but you get the idea.
I bet you can identify the personality of your church (the need(s) it meets) without much difficulty.
We would like our new church to focus on one-on-one discipleship, in-home small groups, and simple worship. But, at the end of the day, the Lord’s call our lives is that of a missionary – to assess our situation and meet people where they are, not simply to impose our vision for a church on others. I like how Arment says it: “Let’s make an agreement. If we’re going to plant churches, let’s plant the churches our communities need, not the ones in our heads” (p. 154).
This month, PRAY that we would begin to get an accurate picture of the needs in our community – that we might hear God’s specific call to meet at least one of those needs.