Monday, March 02, 2009

Covenant Church Planter: Easier to Start a New Church

Here's a stimulating interview with the head of church-planting for the Evangelical Covenent Church:

10 Minutes with … David T. Olson

By G. Jeffrey MacDonald

(UNDATED) Booming megachurches might grab headlines, but the bigger story of American congregations is one of accelerating decline, according to David T. Olson, director of the American Church Research Project. Based on data collected from more than 200,000 churches, he projects that by 2050, only 10 percent of Americans will be in church on any given Sunday.

Olson, who’s also director of church planting for the Evangelical Covenant Church, analyzes the situation in his 2008 book, “The American Church in Crisis.” Some answers have been edited for length. Here is a sampling of the Q&A – to read the entire article, click here.

Q: Why do you say the American church is in crisis?

A: The big problem is America continues to grow in terms of population, but the percentage of Americans attending church on any given weekend keeps declining. In 1990, it was 20.4 percent. In 2000, it was 18.7. In 2007, it was 17.

Q: If many churches are not full on Sunday morning, then why not focus on filling the empty pews before building new structures and new communities?

A: It’s probably five to seven times easier to plant a new church than to help an established church that’s in deep difficulty to restore its vitality. I wouldn’t discourage established churches from doing that, but it’s much more fruitful and efficient to plant new churches.


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