19 December, 2013 Richard Coekin
Alongside evangelism, Bible teaching and mutual care, church planting was plainly a normal part of Apostolic Gospel ministry in the New Testament, but it has often been ignored in the UK.
The task of multiplying converts clearly grew naturally into the task of multiplying congregations, either through “pioneers” who were accountable to a sending church (e.g. Paul’s mission bands) or by churches starting new house-churches (e.g. in Lydia’s house). The same strategy is necessary in Britain today.
The church growth expert, Peter Wagner, famously wrote, “the single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches”. Nearly 10,000 churches were closed during the last 50-60 years, but because of church planting (mainly by Pentecostals and smaller denominations) the number of churches has actually increased in that period by 1,248 (according to respected statistician Peter Brierley).
We need hundreds more Gospel churches in London today. Existing evangelical churches are often only reaching a tiny proportion of the population and many are not growing or multiplying. And we need different kinds of churches for different communities. We must not leave the lost to perish while trying to resurrect dying churches. We need more Gospel churches of a greater variety for contemporary urban life: the people of London need church planting.