I like church planting.
I think church planting is important.
I even did church planting, leading the team that planted Valley Heights Community Church.
But tonight the Sydney Synod is about to turn Evangelism Ministries into New Churches and focus it primarily, and it seems almost exclusively, on planting new churches in the Diocese of Sydney.
Here is my problem with that. The facts are:
- Over the period 2002 – 2008 where we were planting lots of churches (136 new congregations according to the website), we barely escaped going backwards in terms of overall Anglican numbers. Our church didn’t grow at all. We like church planting, but it isn’t clear that we’re very good at it, evangelistically speaking.
- In 2009, where our focus was all about evangelism in existing parishes and where those parishes were supported by a small team devoted to developing resources, facilitating idea sharing and flying the flag for ‘praying, connecting and expecting’ under the stellar work of Andrew Nixon, the Archbishop reckons we grew by up to 5% in that one year alone. All that suggests to me that with a little prodding from a bunch of evangelism obsessives our existing parishes are not so old and feeble when it comes to evangelism, as all the talk seems to suggest.
- The connect09 team came up with some great recommendations for maintaining momentum, but from what I can see that team is about to ride of into the sunset and without them there to do the stuff they’ve been doing for the last 2 years I can see momentum disappearing pretty darn quick. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a small, creative, enthusiastic team of evangelism obsessives to continue their prodding and encouraging and resourcing work? Who could do that and do it well? Hey, how about “Evangelism Ministries”. Opps no, they’re focused very much on church planting now.
What am I missing?
And I insist on slapping the first person who suggests the answer is "Mission Areas".