Church Revitalization or Church Planting — Again

Research shows that 90% of SBC churches are plateaued or declining and only 2-3% (Aubrey Malphurs) or 3-5% (Ed Stetzer) will ever recover.  What does this tell us about how our resources and energy should be focused?  Where do you think our resources and energy is currently focused?

On a lighter note, was this extraterrestrial, supernatural, or just Elvis?  You make the call.

I will try to have my “2007 A Year in Books” posted sometime before 2009 but I am quite busy right now, so hopefully it will be up sometime in February.

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5 thoughts on “Church Revitalization or Church Planting — Again

  1. Keith,

    I think there should be energies on both. My brother is part of a revitalization effort now and is seeing some success.

    I like the idea of planting churches but also believe God has called some to step in and revitalize churches!

  2. when you mention they are declining, this means a decline in:
    (A) church membership
    (B) baptisms (of new believers)
    (C) missionaries being sent out
    (D) tithing
    (E) all of the above

    -unfortunately I’m willing to be that the answer is (E) , but maybe it is something else. Can you clarify…

  3. Taylor,
    They are declining in all of the above areas. Their members are leaving, or just physically dying, and their failure to fulfill the Great Commission in their local context means that baptism of new believers is decreasing, if not non-existent. The above data is compounded by the fact that the 10% of SBC churches that are not plateaued or declining are not experiencing growth that matches the growth rate of society. In fact, Hawaii was the only state that in 2007 experienced church growth that kept pace with the growth rate in society. This ultimately means that while the remaining 10% of churches are not declining in membership their membership, if viewed in proportion to the growth rate of society, is declining.

    Jonathon,
    I understand that you think that we should support both and I did this post because most individuals whom I know agree with you. However, what does the data tell us? What about the two questions I asked in my post?

    An Addendum to All:
    I would appreciate it if all of you who comment on this post would interact with the statistics presented above and the two questions asked in conjunction with these statistics. To give the percentages above a more tangible feel I offer the following; of the 42,000+ SBC churches in the US 37,800 of them are heading toward death, of those 37,800 churches only 756 to 1,890 will ever recover.

  4. Ed Stetzer and Malphurs are making predictions, not statements of fact. So, again, focus energy on both.

    I believe more energy on church planting! I would say our NAMB and IMB entities ARE focusing their resources towards planting churches much more than they are for revitalization campaigns.

  5. those are interesting facts. I’ve been pondering american christianity lately, and this is great food for thought. I’ll get back to you with my answer.

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