People are People

Maybe this won’t mean much because I planted a church in the south, but I’m kind of tired about hearing how tough it is to plant churches in the Northeast or out West.

Out here in the west, people are supposed to be more anti-God, more liberal, and anti-establishment.  But Seattle is home to the evil-empire Microsoft were more than 70,000 people work in corporate America.  For every independent coffee shop, there’s 8 Starbucks.  Mars Hill is a church of thousands, so it’s been done at least once.  You can poor boy all you want, but God is bigger than people’s impressions or habits.

In the northeast, where 50 people is supposed to be a successful church plant, you find The Journey and Brooklyn Tab. I am convinced that church plants fail because the people weren’t truly called to plant them in the first place, or because they are lazy and don’t want to work hard.
Pardon my rant, but don’t limit God.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it’s too hard or too different.  Don’t accept the fact that it will take you five years to get 100 people to come to a new church.  I think the reason these churches believe that is because that’s all people talk about.

People are people, no matter where you go.  In the north, south, east and west, they want to know how to be better parents, they want to know how to make their marriage work, they struggle with finances, and they wonder who God is.  Go ahead and complain about how different people are if that will make you feel better, but people need Jesus everywhere and there is no box for God.

I know some things are different in the south, but that’s not what made Oak Leaf work.  We were called, we pray, and we work hard. That’s the model that works, no matter were in the country you are.


4 comments so far

  1. Jeff on

    Funny that people make comments about the west. We’re not far west coast but I’ve always said it seems “easier” (if planting a church is ever easy) to plant where we are at in Wyoming. One of the reasons being is there aren’t the #’s of churches the south has to compete with. In the Bible belt you have a pick of a church on about every corner. In the West you can start a church and REALLY stand out because of the lack of churches. Anyway, love following you guys at Oak Leaf. You are an inspiration. I am amazed at what some of you guys are doing and doing well in the Bible belt. God bless.

  2. pastormarty on

    So, we don’t say that its hard at our church, because we don’t want it to be an excuse, but the truth is we need help here because no southerners are starting churches up here. I’m from Ohio, but God has used me in Mass. But people aren’t dying to start churches here, so it continues to be hard.
    So, no excuses, but when people say it, it’s true.

  3. Anthony Foxworth on

    I heard Gary Lamb say the same thing a little while ago. I do agree with both of you about the fact that way too many church planters are just duds or are lazy. It may not be any harder to plant a church in the North or West (I’m in Albany, NY) but it is different. If I was planting a new kind of Catholic church I have a greater chance of connecting with a great part of the population that is connected with Catholicism (at least culturallly). The same coudl be true of the South and Baptist or Evangelical. I don’t think planters and pastors should make excuses for why their church’s aren’t growing by making it geographical. The Journey and Brooklyn Tab are anything for the norm though. Thanks for the dicussion!Oh yeah, we are 7 months old and have over hundred weekly. So there can be more than 50 🙂

  4. Mark on

    I feel it is harder in the northeast. The statistics simply prove that. Just because The Journey and BT are huge doesn’t mean it is just as easy as in the south. I’ve done some research and the number of “larger”, or “successful” churches in the south far outnumber those in the Northeast. I don’t think that’s a coincidence or can be just chalked up to non-called, or lazy pastors. Let’s face it…Church planting is NEVER easy, no matter where it is, but the demographics and the make-up of the people and the culture can make a world of difference. In no way would I limit God…He can grow a Church anywhere He pleases. Both myself and our lead pastor have lived in the south (he was born and raised there) and it’s true that going to Church is a part of the culture down there more than it is here near Washington DC. So, while it’s not “easier” down there, I think a church planter in the south has advantages. I’d love to see Barna do some studies and put out a book that deals with this.

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