As I started looking into the concept of church-planting I was surprised to find that church-planting has become somewhat cool these days. Of course I don’t mean cool like trucker hats and panic attacks are cool. Ashton Kutcher is not out planting a church. But as “ministry cool” goes it seems to me that church-planting is in.
There’s been a growing trend among pastors of my generation to turn their attention back towards the cities. In general, the children of the suburban mega-church grew up and decided to react against the seeker-sensitivity of the late eighties and nineties. So they all grew soul patches, bought big rimmed glasses and moved downtown to have church in pubs and coffee shops.
Now don’t understand me for a moment to be saying that this hasn’t resulted in some great ministry. I believe that God has called men to reach the cities just as much as everywhere else. But that’s also my point. Who’s planting the churches everywhere else? What about the smaller cities with “less artsy” downtowns? What about those suburbs? Are we just giving up on those families living in the shadow of a mega-church because they drive SUV’s and don’t go to clubs late at night because their kids have school the next morning?
As artsy downtowns go Savannah is actually doing OK. Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) has attracted some pretty cool people and the work they’ve done downtown is spectacular. We’ve got more than our fair share of tattoos and piercings and there is some great ministry getting started down there. But I’m hoping to plant a church in the Savannah I grew up in. The one where people like to eat seafood they caught themselves, where children grow up learning to say “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am,” and where many people are born, grow up and die and are happy about it.
I don’t believe that the only way to reach people is to replace our pews with couches and our overhead lights with candles. I believe that we can reach people everywhere the same way it’s been done for centuries: with the faithful ministry of the Word of God.