The key to reaching a community is church planting.
Jesus told us to make disciples. Once that is done they are to be congregationalized. From these churches, Jesus is modeled and proclaimed to a watching world.
The Metro area contains over one and one-half million persons with a declining number of churches. While some effective mega-churches have emerged in the suburbs, the overall evangelical percentage of the population has barely budged above 10% in the last decade. It has been proven that new churches produce the highest number or percentile of new converts. Many missiologists suggest that one church per 1,000 to 1,500 of population is required if a region is to have any hope of being discipled. That formula requires nearly 1,000 new congregations in Northeast Ohio. A tall order indeed, especially when you consider that only 3,800 new churches are planted annually in America.
The average Sunday morning church attendance in the United States is 75 persons per worship gathering. Many congregations require a highly trained professional clergy-person to conduct the ritual and event. The smaller congregational size, combined with a very limited supply of a professional clergy, makes for an incompatible mix if one is to plant a significant number of new churches.
At NEO House Church Network we take a very different approach. We say “small is the new big”. We focus on equipping emerging leaders to guide and take responsibility for smaller home-based gatherings of Christ-followers. While few can adequately lead a church of 100, fewer yet can lead truly large churches. The good news is that many in our midst are fully capable of leading ten or perhaps twenty adults. If we in the Church utilize what God has already placed in our midst, we will quickly discover that Providence has already supplied the means toward the Great Commission. Our first battle is to cast aside the unfounded limitations that have shaped our vision of the church and how we conduct our mission.
The answer for church planting is to employ existing homes, existing relationships and those whom God brings into our lives. Church planting has less to do with websites, rented meeting halls, microphones, video projectors, and worship bands. The heart of church planting is prayer, personal discipleship, gospel engagement, leadership training, and copious amounts of fellowship. If the Lord has laid church planting on your heart, and per chance you would like to explore our emerging network, we extend you a warm welcome.