In 2020, Converge, in conjunction with its 10 districts across the United States, unveiled its goal of deploying 312 church planters before 2026. If God permits us to reach this goal, it will mark the greatest five-year season of church planting in our movement’s nearly 170-year history.
The need for new churches in the United States is enormous. Statistics show there are more than 200 million unchurched people in the U.S., making it one of the four largest unchurched nations in the world. Currently, there is approximately one church for every 1000 Americans. Based on projections, just to maintain the status quo, Christians need to plant 400,000 churches in the U.S. between now and 2050.
If each of the 312 new church planters starts a church that grows to just 200 people, 62,000 would be impacted. Imagine how many of these 62,000 people God will use to impact many more lives with the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a ripple effect that can span generations.
“I’m tired of the status quo,” said Converge executive director of Church Planting Lee Stephenson. “It’s time for a new way of looking at the church and looking at our world. I can’t wait to see what God is going to do.
“Let’s focus, let’s pray, let’s sacrifice and see what God does. We can talk about it and create strategies, but we know if God’s not in it, it won’t go anywhere. So please join us in praying about this. Pray that God will do a remarkable thing.”
We are committed to playing our role in accomplishing the Great Commission. There are four ways for churches to be involved in helping reach this audacious goal:
Pray for the harvest (or adopt a church planter to pray for).
Pay for a church plant’s startup cost or salary cost. Provide a special offering to a church plant when it launches.
Partner with other churches to share the burdens of church planting.
Plant a church. If you’ve already planted a church, plant more churches.
To help facilitate the growth of church planting across the movement, Converge initiated the Launch Offering to assist new church plants. Converge churches nationwide combined to give more than a half-million dollars in the first few months after starting the offering.
“(The Launch Offering) sends a message to the church planter that you’re not alone,” Stephenson said. “We’ve learned throughout history that the most difficult thing to do is to try to plant a church by yourself. Our church planters know they have an army of people that believe in them and are helping to do some of their heavy lifting.”
Mickey Seward is Converge's director of communications and Point editor. He served in ministry positions as director of communications at Mobberly Baptist Church, a multisite church based in East Texas, and as national director of communications for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Prior to holding those positions, Mickey spent 15 years as a college sports information director.