The single-most effective means of reaching spiritually-disconnected people with the Good News of new and everlasting life through Jesus Christ is through new congregational starts where people don't feel that they're running a social-spiritual gauntlet the moment they walk through the doors. Other studies show that the United States is dramatically underserviced by the Church and in need of more congregations. So, new church plants are needed everywhere.
Typically though, church planters and denominations are most interested in planting new congregations in fast-growing areas, as was true of me when I was sent by my denomination to start what became Friendship Lutheran Church in the Cincinnati suburbs back in 1990. It's generally easier to get new congregations started in such areas, a little like shooting fish in a barrel.
But is it entirely faithful?
That question is posed in this piece by Steve Pike of the Assemblies of God. In the mad rush to the 'burbs, what about rural areas, small towns, plateaued cities, first-ring suburbs? In short, what about everybody else? Didn't Christ die and rise for people in those places too? Couldn't the spiritually-disconnected people in such places also benefit from connecting with a vital new congregational family?
The answers to all of these questions should be obvious to anyone who enjoys a relationship with Christ and a local Christian congregation.
It may be harder to plant new churches in places like Scranton. Pike says though, "I have a feeling that God is calling people to the harder places, but His still small voice is being drowned out by the stampede scrambling to the fast growing suburbs." It's time, he says for church planters and denominations and the whole Church to stop and listen and go where God wants us to go.
Read the whole thing.