- Read my full article in Intersections August 2011 here.
- Access the Intersections catalogue here. (An excellent journal originating within Australian Churches of Christ. It provides a great snapshot of daily life in the Restoration Movement there.)
A couple of months ago I wrote an article for an Australian Church of Christ journal. In it I discussed a possible church planting strategy for growing God’s kingdom in Australia. The spread of Churches of Christ in Australia will require the planting of more churches: either by existing churches or from US sponsored church planting teams. Since very few Australian Churches of Christ make it past the 100 barrier, it seems futile for those churches to plan to plant churches when they reach attendance of 150.
Instead, I proposed a need for churches to consider planting new congregations when they reach about 50 regular attenders. I know that this small size can be discouraging, but if the new congregation is geographically close then the goal is to establish a network of congregations, not just send 20 people away and never hear from them again. The two churches would continue to find ways to cooperate and encourage each other through joint ministries and events.
The big benefit of this approach is that it encourages each congregation to connect with its local community. Rather than have members drive 30 minutes to attend church worship and other events, the members would ideally live within 10-15 minutes of the meeting place. This allows the members to invite local friends to a local church that addresses local needs.
DISCLAIMER: I last lived in Australia in 2003, so I respect that my views may be dated. But from my church experience there and in the US, I believe something must happen to change the mindset of the existing Australian churches. Of course, many congregations already struggle to reach 50, so this overview is grandiose and irrelevant to them. I also believe that a similar approach is relevant to areas in parts of the USA where Churches of Christ are sparse.