To grow the church in Canada we must make some decisions about what it will take. Where should we deploy the resources?
Growth Option #1:
Infuse Existing Churches with New Life
Currently 99% of pastoral workers are employed in existing churches. Many potential solutions have been recommended and attempted. But the slide continues. The possibilities for renewal include:
Adjust the Message
Various solutions point to an alleged deficiency in what is being taught.
Adjust the Church Culture
Some point to the need to meet the society where it is at, implying that our approach or style is no longer relevant. Another viewpoint turns the light on the lack of true Christian character, love and concern.
Adjust the Leadership
Two opposites are vociferously espoused. Some believe the church must be more leader driven, others talk in terms of more involvement and gift-based lay leadership.
Adjust the Outreach
Some point to the need for Christians to live a more wholesome, winsome life and interact more with their pre-Christian contacts in an effort to build relationships that lead them to Christ. Others point to the need to invite people to a meeting to give the Gospel and God’s people a
All these dimensions are important as are other unmentioned issues. The 99% of pastoral workers agree and try to change things. But overall, growth is flat. The fact remains it is extremely difficult to change an existing church.
Growth Option #2:
Start New Churches
Currently 1% of pastoral workers are involved in starting new churches. Those who are looking for a new position—a considerable portion of the workforce—rarely will give more than a moment’s thought to starting a church. This is in spite of the glowing results in church planting
New churches start new. New energy. New thinking. New programs. New people. Normally new churches grow. Most church starts succeed. Over 99% of church starts that reach 100 people succeed. When attendance is about 100 per week a church can support itself and appears to be a "real church" to the community. Newcomers feel less self-conscious once a church reaches that size.
Almost every non-Francophone community in Canada with a population of 30,000 or less has at least one biblically orthodox church for every 2,000 residents. Generally speaking, the smaller the community the higher the number of churches. Many smaller communities with a population of less than 5,000 have one church for every 1,000 residents. Here is an interesting example. Windsor, Nova Scotia—population 3,700, has one church for every 450 residents. Windsor, Quebec—population 4,900 has no church and needs two to meet the 1:2000 ratio. Windsor, Ontario—population 198,000, has 53 churches and needs 46 more to meet the 1:2,000 ratio. Where would you start a church if you
The three neediest provinces to reach the 1:2,000 ratio are as follows. Ontario needs 2,378 more churches. Quebec needs 2,228 more churches. BC needs 506 more churches. Clearly those churches are not going to get started without a concerted effort. We cannot afford an approach that takes five years to reach self-sustaining status with an attendance of 100.
There are two options to get to 100
1. Parent / Daughter Church Method
By this method one church commissions a number of people to start the new church. We have fewer than 1,000 churches in Canada with more than 200 people in typical attendance. If each of them sent out 50 or more people to start another church we would still fall short of the need for new churches. In addition, very few of these churches perceive it to be their responsibility to reproduce.
Difficulty: To find a potential mother church.
Key Question: Church, when will you be ready?
Typical Answer: When we are one size larger.
Response: Most churches won’t ever grow one size larger since most are in decline. Most churches, when they become one size larger, stay with the view they must be one size larger yet before they are ready for
2. Mass Personal Contact Method
By this method, a church can be started immediately with an attendance of about 100. Very few seed families are needed from existing churches. With MPC you personally and systematically talk to the largest number of people in the shortest possible time. If they are unchurched you ask them if they would mind hearing from your new church. You follow up on the willing people with multiple, focused mail contacts. In the seventh contact, when you invite them to your new church voice-to-voice many will come. Most will keep coming. This is a proven fact. The method always achieves predictable results within a range. The method is MASS. Huge numbers of contact attempts are required (about 50,000). The method is PERSONAL. Each individual is contacted one-on-one to establish who is interested. The method is CONTACT. You receive feedback immediately and thus know who should be followed up. In contrast, when you contact people without allowing them to give feedback you don’t know who is possibly interested but undecided. MPC solves that
Difficulty: To find a committed sponsor and money.
When will you be ready?
Typical Answer: After we have tried some other "cheaper" options.
Response: We can’t find a more effective cheaper way. If we could we would be using it!