As many of you know, I am finishing up my last year for my Master of Divinity degree. I have had so many conversations about the future it makes me feel like I forget about living in the now. Hours have been invested in “What are you going to do after you graduate?”
You can’t get away with an “I don’t know” without following it up with some plans. So today I wanted to ponder (and have you help me) whether one should plant a church or (what has been come to be called) “revitalize” a church.” The former means that you (and some other folks) go and start ministering in a specific area and start something new in an area. The latter is where you (and some other folks) go to a church that is languishing and begin to preach and teach, trusting God to rebuild his church.
Too many times there is verbiage that leans towards a dichotomy between the two professions. Let me say that they are not at odds. They are siblings. They need each other. The question is which type of ministry is needed in a specific locale. The latest buzz is planting a church. Perhaps it is the thrill of something fresh. Perhaps starting from scratch and not having to worry about church splits. I have many friends who are planning on planting a church (or who are doing so). I have listened to Tim Keller’s talk on his rationale for planting churches.
One of the things he says is that there can never be too many churches. Since I heard him say that two years ago, I have wondered whether that is right. In the theoretical world this is right. But here, in this world, is this the case. I know what he is getting at and I agree at one level. But I am nagged by the fact that so many folks say they will not plant a church in the south becase there are so many churches already. Am I missing something? Please lend me your thoughts so I can think through this as I lean towards both church planting and church revitalization (more on this later). I am getting whiplash, so help me think through this, please…