Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


Is Church Planting More Difficult Today?

  • Jim Townsley
  • Feb 11, 2019

Church planters frequently ask the question, “Is church planting more difficult today than it was in the seventies?” Everyone that has ever started a church will readily admit that church planting is never easy regardless of where and when it is conducted. Throughout history similar challenges in church planting occurred that made starting a church difficult. The first century churches experienced unprecedented opposition but simultaneously unequaled success. In Colonial America the early Baptists faced opposition from the established churches and yet prevailed to evangelize thousands of souls in this newly founded country and preached the gospel starting on the east coast following the westward expansion to California.

There have been periods of time where there has been a great response to the gospel while at other times church growth and church planting have been more difficult. A brief study of history reveals that from the sixteenth century through the middle of the twentieth century various revivals and periods of church growth appeared that resulted in the starting of new churches. None of these were easy, but many were in an unprecedented way very successful. In fact many of the churches existent today were begun during that time in history. Clearly every time period has its challenges and difficulties and there is no doubt that some eras are more difficult to start and build churches.

Since the nineteen eighties there has been a secularization of America along with a globalization throughout the world that has affected the world culture which also affects church planting and church growth. Materialism has proven to be a more significant opposition to church planting than the persecution of past times. The most significant challenges preachers face in our society today are as follows:

1. Sunday used to be a sacred day. (The Lord’s Day) Today recreation, entertainment and shopping have all encroached upon the Lord’s Day so that Sunday is no longer a sacred day in the minds of most Americans. In today’s culture people do not have time for God!

2. Eliminating prayer and Bible reading in the public schools. Previous generations obtained some Bible knowledge through the public school that does not exist today. We live in a spiritually illiterate society. People have no understanding of the Bible, God or anything spiritual. Most often people have to be taught and informed about the Bible before they can be evangelized.

3. Removing God from the courthouse and public arena. The culture of the day opposes any public recognition of God. This has affected young people to the point that they are literally afraid of spiritual things.

4. The indoctrination of evolution and humanism. If people are being taught that mankind evolved from a lower species then morality it greatly diminished. Man becomes nothing more than an advanced animal form.

5. The negative effects of social media are changing the way people respond. Human communication has been impaired to the point that people do not know how to conduct themselves in church and ultimately they have difficulty responding to a soul-winner or a sermon.

Is church planting more difficult in recent years? Considering the response new church planters are experiencing I have to admit that church growth is more difficult because of the many changes in our culture. That does not mean that it is impossible. It just means that the results often are slower than in the recent past. The need of the hour is more laborers. However growth at all costs can be dangerous. It is important to maintain high standards and not succumb to the compromise of the day in order to get a bigger crowd. Changing your music and changing your standards may temporarily attract more people but in the end it will bring death to your church. Maintain your high standards, remain faithful in witnessing and God will bless your efforts. Church planting has never been easy. This generation needs a new troop of church planters that will pay the price to start and build fundamental churches and provide a godly heritage for the next generation.