There is a direct correlation between the number of churches planted and the growth of the United Methodist Church in Indiana. During the 1800’s the predecessor denominations of the United Methodist Church planted churches at a rate manytimes higher than during the past century and decade. And it was during that earlier period that the church in Indiana experienced its greatest growth and had the highest percentage of the population in its churches.
Thankfully there is a renewed commitment within our denomination and conference for church planting. In fact, today I’ve been spending time on three new church-planting projects in the two districts that I serve–the North and Northeast. There is a good chance all three will be launched this coming year, and more is happening elsewhere in Indiana–and also nationwide. The following is an account from Path 1, which is the United Methodist denomination’s church-planting arm in the U.S.
For over 15 years I’ve been praying for God to raise up a church-planting movement within Indiana and our churches. Could it be that we’re beginning to see signs of such a day? I invite you to join me in prayer–not simply so that we might once again be a growing institution, but so that those who haven’t heard the Good News of Jesus Christ might hear, be touched, discipled, and transformed! May God’s Kingdom come and God’s will be done!
— Ed Fenstermacher, Assoc. Director of Church Development, Indiana Conference
Statistical Update on Quadrennial Goals – July 15, 2011
Report from Rev. Gary A. Shockley, Executive Officer, Path 1 New Church Starts Division at GBOD
National Goals for the Denomination
The United Methodist Church established the following goals for this quadrennium related to new church development in the United States: 1,000 potential planters assessed and equipped; and 650 new churches planted by the end of 2012. This brief report answers two frequently asked questions:
1. “How many new churches has The United Methodist Church planted from 2008 to the present?
2. “How many potential planters has The United Methodist Church assessed and equipped from 2008 to the present?”
How Many Churches?*
The United Methodist Church has planted 440 churches (of the projected goal of 650) in the United States sinceJanuary of 2008, which represents 58% growth over 2004-2007, when the denomination planted 278 churhes. It is of interest to note (based on the most current GCFA and developer-confirmed data available) that the close ratefor new churches since 2008 has been 9% (or 39 of 440 churches). That rate was 26% (72 of 278 churches) forthe years 2004-2007, which means we are currently planting at a rate of 9.5 new churches per month (compared with 4.23 new church starts per month from 2004-2007).
*To accurately respond to this question our office reviewed information from several sources including GCFA, our 2007-2009 congregational developers’ surveys, information about new churches previously submitted for Path 1’s new church map, and our most recent query of annual conferences. As of this date (7-15-11) 75% of annual conferences have responded to our inquiry. As we receive more information we will update numbers accordingly.
How Many Planters? 1332 (more than the projected 1,000) prospective planters have been assessed through Path 1’s online assessmenttools (English and Spanish) and through assessment processes in jurisdictions and annual conferences.
854 potential planters have been equipped through a multitude of local, national, and regional training events (e.g., New Church Leadership Institute, School of Congregational Development, Lay Missionary Planting Network, etc.).
What do the numbers suggest? Following these trends we can surmise… If nothing changes in our current planting rate (and based on our current rate reported – roughly 130 churches per year) we will plant somewhere between 500 and 550 new churches this quadrennium. However, as we are nowworking in partnership with many annual conferences, helping them to develop more effective and culturally appropriate systems for new church development, we expect this rate to increase before the end of 2012.