7 REASONS TO JOIN A NEW CHURCH PLANT
If you’re looking for a new church, a new place for your faith to grow, the task can be daunting. Not only are you asking, “what do I choose: Presbyterian, Catholic, Pentecostal, Mormon, non-denominational, Methodist, Episcopal, etc. etc. etc.?” But you have to consider the size of the church, the people there, the location, the programs, etc. etc. etc. I know what you’re thinking, “wow, yes, it is crazy, I don’t know where to start…I just want to grow in my faith.”
Well, here are some reason why you should consider joining a new church, also known as a “church plant.” Despite the statistics of most mainline denominations trending downward in numbers of Sunday attendees, there are actually some Christian groups who are opening up new church gatherings in cities all around the world and seeing tremendous growth. Think of a church plant as a place where fresh life is being breathed into the community.
If you’re currently a Christian and want to help out a church plant, that’s a great and noble thing to do. We highly suggest that you pray about it and talk to your lead pastor about it before making the decision. You would, no doubt, be a tremendous help if it is truly something that works out, but keep in mind that your church community needs you too!
1. A Fresh Start
There’s nothing wrong with a brand new starting point for your faith. Maybe you’ve been wanting to renew your faith in God but don’t know where to start. You’ve checked out a few churches but nothing really clicked for you/your family. One of the greatest hardships of a “new church” is one of the greatest blessings: you see, the very reason a church plant is “planted” is to see new people join them in walking with Jesus. So every person counts, every person matters and a church plant takes that seriously.
There’s dreamers and doers, but sometimes those two qualities join together in a person’s life to make them an indelible resource in God’s economy. Chances are if you’re a dreamer/doer you will love the environment of a church plant. Growing up in the Silicon Valley, I’ve seen start-ups in the tech world and watched the driving passion behind incredibly successful entrepreneurial endeavors. In a church plant, we take that same “start-up” mindset of passion-based, goal oriented gains but we pare it with prayer, the work of the Holy Spirit and heaps of love/compassion. It’s way more than “business as usual.”
3. Authentic Community
There is something special about the community that takes place in a church plant. I know it can be had, and felt, in larger churches but I can’t describe how awesome the feelng of community is in a church plant. Maybe it’s the fact that we don’t take it for granted, or better yet, that we don’t take each other for granted. If you’re looking for a place to truly “live the Christian life” with others in a community of faith, a church plant is the place to be.
4. A Trial Run
If you are feeling called of God (and your pastoral leadership has recognized that) to plant a church in the future, there is no better place for you to spend six months to a year than in a church plant. Seriously, I wish I would have done it before we planted Coast Church in Ventura, CA. For instance, when I got into free diving and spearfishing I did extensive research. I read books on breath hold techniques, researched gear, watched videos of pros, and read accounts from many veteran divers. But the first time I got in the water with a friend who had been diving for many years, I learned more from him in three hours of diving than all of the books and Google searches combined. Do your homework, but get involved in a church plant if you feel led to plant a church some day. It is a win-win for you and the church planter.
5. Show Your Kids an Alternative
Bratty, spoiled church kids that have endless pizza parties, bounce houses, Sunday school giveaways, amusement park outings, skateparks in the church parking lot are THE WORST! Trust me, I was one of them! Until I was a teenager and attended a church of roughly 20-30 people and they didn’t have all the bells and whistles. What I learned, very quickly, was that there was more to church than just being entertained. Believe me, I would LOVE to have a sweet little skatepark (yes, Ventura needs a real skatepark) in the church parking lot some day, but what I want more than that is an environment where my kids can experience the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Most church plants do have some exciting things going for kids and it is only going to get better, but even if they don’t have all of that stuff, encountering Jesus is worth it.
6. You Want to Serve
Every church plant is looking for people with servant’s hearts who care deeply for their community. Of course there are many avenues to serve in the weekly gathering such as: set-up of the facility, greeting, parking lot team, sound tech, AV, photography, graphic design, singing, music, Coast Kids, etc., but in the vision of Coast Church we see a community of faith that serves the community at large in Ventura and the surrounding coastal area. We’re already planning to certify people in Life In Focus Education (a drug/alcohol rehab, juvenile delinquent education program), putting together a focus group for parents/families of children with special needs, exploring how we can serve the elderly of our community by mowing lawns/fixing things/holding services in convalescent homes, and asking tough questions about how we can simply serve our community better. A church plant is constantly in need of creative minds and servant's hearts. If you’re looking for a place to utilize your talents with an eternal impact on the lives of others, if you truly want to “serve” then a church plant is for you.
7. The Spirit Led Life
Everything in our “consumer oriented” world drives us to the biggest and the best. One of the things we see recurring in the Scripture is that the Holy Spirit led people to do things that nobody else was doing, with tremendous outcomes in the end. Jesus raised the bar high for that one and we should follow His example. If you feel to join a church plant (as a permanent member or simply to serve for an interim) you should pray about it and ask God to truly “lead” you in making that decision. We truly believe that when we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives GREAT THINGS HAPPEN!
Every community of faith has a “starting place” and a new church plant is a great place to be a part of to invest in and experience those infant moments. Will it be perfect? No. Will people come and go? Sure. Will it be one of the best, most rewarding things you’ve ever done in your life? I believe so! I hope this has been educational for you and thought-provoking. It is incredible to be a part of what Jesus Christ is doing in our time. There are some incredible new churches being planted all throughout the world and the Gospel is touching lives like never before.