Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fertile Soil

Why are new churches started? I suspect that in almost every instance, the answer would somehow involve reaching those who do not know Christ. That may be the spiritually correct answer, but I have some serious doubts as to what the real underlying motives are. If that is the real motive, then I question how knowledgeable these church planters are of the Scriptures.
My reasoning for the doubts and questions is quite simple. Studies have shown that the great majority of church plants are in the least productive areas. In others words, we are not planting in fertile soil. We are planting in soil that is the least fertile, in which there is little reason to expect much fruit. And where do we find this unfruitful soil? Middle class and above suburbs and neighborhoods.
However, God clearly says in his word that the most fertile soil is amongst the poor. They are the ones God chose to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom (James 2:5). But we ignore the fertile soil that God has clearly pointed out. History bears witness to the fertility of the poor, revealing that church growth has been most rapid among the poor. Howard Snyder says, "This fact of rapid church growth among the poorer classes says something about strategy and stewardship. ...Planting the gospel seed where it is most likely to grow is faithful stewardship of the gospel message."
In light of this, has the American church exercised faithful stewardship of the gospel message by sowing it where it is the most likely to bring forth an abundance of good fruit?

Oh man... are you writing a book? You really should. This post, combined with your last post, is absolutely amazing. This cuts to the heart of Christianity... and feels on par with C.S. Lewis. You write some amazing stuff, man.
jovial cynic,
Thanks for the encouragement! I really appreciate it.
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