My husband recently preached at his home church as part of the 100th Anniversary of that congregation. He once served a church that was established in 1639. It’s, frankly, a miracle that these churches are still active, much less thriving but we value churches with long established ministries.
According to the Assemblies of God, 32% of new church plants close within four years. Common wisdom is that the majority of new churches will not succeed long term.
Several (most?) of the Emerging Churches that started in the past 5-10 years have chosen to (or were asked to) close: Portico in Charlotte, The Living Room in Atlanta, Neighbor’s Abbey in Atlanta, Holy Grounds in Alexandria, VA. These communities had much in common (amazing people, holy practices, strong bonds) but they could not sustain themselves for a variety of reasons.
They were successful church communities.
They won’t ever celebrate their 100th anniversary – or their 20th – but lives were changed, communities were enriched, and saints were equipped. Can this be enough for us? Can we be okay with starting short-lived new churches? How long does a church have to live for us to call it successful?
I’d love to hear what you think and believe.