The words church planting have been buzzwords in Christian circles in the last few years. It has become trendy for churches to plant new churches in some part of the world or even on the other side of town.
From watching churches plant new churches, the latest craze is to take a sizable group of people ranging anywhere from 15 to 100 people from the current church and send them out to plant a church somewhere else. If you ask me, from a UK perspective that’s already a large church even before the church plant opens for business!
Is this really church planting?
I think it is more accurate and honest to label the latest trend as church transplanting rather than church planting for several reasons.
Point #1: For starters, it doesn’t do any justice to church planters who are actually planting church communities without the aid or support of church organistions and without a group of people to begin with. In some ways, it feels like cheating.
Point #2: Often times when a church sends out a team of people to plant a church on the other side of town, they usually end up transplanting their brand of church and Christianity to their new location (By the way, is this the 21st century version of colonialism in church land?).
Instead of throwing some seeds out into the wild and see how the new church will grow and take shape in light of its new environment (a.k.a. being missional), they split a small piece of the existing plant and trans-pot it into its new environment. There is nothing organic or natural about the process.
Point #3: Church communities that are transplanted are backed and sent by churches that are usually loaded with money. And churches with money usually have clout to go along with it.
There are lots of people out there who are planting church communities out in the wild without the backing of a church and with little or no money whatsoever. And because they have little or no money, most of us will never get to hear about them because those with money are usually heard the loudest.
These are just some of the differences between church planting and church transplanting. I’m sure we can come up with some more differences. I’m not knocking either streams of church planting or church transplanting.There are pros and cons that needs to be considered for both methods. It begins with an honest look at the way we understand missions and start local church communities.
There needs to be a distinction that respects the work of both streams.
1st Image: Photo by Unknown. Lifted from here.
2nd Image: Photo by Unknown. Lifted from here.
3rd Image: Photo by Unknown. Lifted from here.