Following are three observations “from the trenches” that are worth paying attention to if you have any interest, or concern over disciple-making movements. This is real data extracted from reliable resources. My goal is to clearly state the problem.
I hope you find the information helpful as we continue the mission of Jesus to make disciples…
Globally, the percentage of the world’s population that have become Christian is about the same today as it was 100 years ago
- Approximately 32% of the global population was Christian in 1910 vs. 35% in 2010. The research also shows there has been a shift regionally, which is interesting to note; lower percentage of Christians in Europe and the Americas vs. an increase in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia Pacific, while the Middle East-North Africa has remained about the same – see Global Christianity – A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian by The Pew Research Center.
Most churches stall-out after the first generation
- 80% of the churches in the US have plateaued or are in decline.
- 16% are growing by addition
- 4% are reproducing – see Becoming a Level 5 Multiplying Church Field Guide (p.74-79).
Few churches plant churches
- Most disconcerting is that of the new churches planted in 2012; only 22% had started at least one daughter church within 5 years of existence – see Multiplication Today, Movements Tomorrow by Ed Stetzer & Daniel Im (p.14).
- The 5-year window has been the “best practice” for a healthy church to plant a daughter church – see Multiplication Today, Movements Tomorrow by Ed Stetzer & Daniel Im (p.4).
- Mac Lake suggest that only 4% of churches ever reproduce
- Hirsch and Catchim tell us that the church in the US spends over $70 billion every decade on church plants and resources; but even so “we are experiencing decline in adherence and membership at an unprecedented rate” – see Beyond the Local Church by Sam Metcalf (p. 159).
- This raises an important question: “With the heightened awareness of church planting as the most fruitful, God-given strategy to reach people far from Him, in combination with the resources (conferences, books and service) available; why aren’t churches able to make the shift missionally?” See Multiplication Today, Movements Tomorrow by Ed Stetzer & Daniel Im.
Here is my attempt to state the problem of the church in the US today:
The current way we make disciples, do church & plant churches has attracted the low-lying fruit therefore,
we must introduce new ways to make disciples, do church & plant churches.
In the upcoming blogs I will reflect a bit more on these three statistics and identify the signs that lead to Movement Drift.. If it were easy, I believe we would have already figured it out with out human ingenuity. I believe the solution lies not in our capacity to think through the solution but in our reliance on the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit first and foremost.
Please join me on the journey and participate in the conversation.