Robert Green describes planting a church as not only rewarding and important but also fun - a word not always associated with corporate worship.
“There’s just something fun about starting something new. Any new venture is compelling in and of itself,” said Green, pastor of Fondren Church - a brand-new church plant that will start holding weekly Sunday-morning services in the Duling School Auditorium on August 7.
Fondren Church is one of a dozen or more church plants that have popped up in the Northside in the past decade, as church planting has become a nationwide trend in Christian ministry.
But it’s not just a fun little fad, pastors say. Church planting is crucial for reaching people who might be interested in Jesus but not in established, traditional churches.
For the most part, that means young people.
“Even the ones that grew up in the church - 70 percent, I’d say, from the age of 18 to 22 drop out of the church,” said Eric Smith, pastor of North Ridge Church in Madison.
“If the church does not move and get off its butt and start engaging people…it’s going to be a bad situation,” Smith said.
Smith and others started North Ridge, which meets at Rosa Scott High School, with a burden to reach the 18-35 demographic. But they’re “not just entertaining people at worship services. We’re a missional church.”
Once a month, the North Ridge congregation goes into the community and does mission work instead of meeting in a building. The service is called Take it to the Streets.
“[Recently], we had 100 people helping with the children’s home and helping with a ministry for women that just got out of prison. There’s no way I can preach a sermon that can be that effective,” Smith said.
“It may hurt our growth numerically when we go out on the streets on Sunday morning. But spiritually, it takes us to a whole other place.
“Can you imagine if every church in the city said, we’re going to go do mission on that day? The impact you could have - it would just be phenomenal,” he said.
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