Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
June 22nd, 2014 by Joel Watts

Only church plants will survive?

Another church interior

Another church interior (Photo credit: Giorgos~)

Chris Morton has written a rather provocative piece suggesting that only Church Plants (or rather, missional minded congregations) will survive the next decade. He writes,

Many established Churches are fighting to maintain their definition of orthodoxy, enforce their traditions and finance structures and staff. The number of people who understand or care about those things are burning out or dying of old age.

It’s only a matter of time before Church plants are all that is left.

I would like to suggest that this is simply not the case. There are plenty of the old stodgy congregations drawing people, such as Capitol Hill Baptist Church. It provides a high church, liturgical atmosphere. And it is growing. Granted, they are Baptist and looks to be in the same vein as the other neo-Calvinists; however, he is providing something that is growing the congregation in a time when we are told that what he provides should be killing the congregation.


Anyway, let’s not jump on the bandwagon about the end of the established church. And let’s not shuck orthodoxy because only old people like it. Orthodoxy matters. This is what drives us to do what we do.

But, both articles are interesting enough…

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).


3 Responses to “Only church plants will survive?”
  1. Know More Than I Should says

    Not too far from where I live, there are two all but abandoned churches. Like me, both of their pastors are past retirement age. The Lutheran church, originally built in a thriving residential neighborhood is now surrounded by manufacturing and a rail yard. The Episcopal exists in a former farming community. The churches of both door are open on Sundays only because there are cemeteries on the properties.

    Even in a land of religious freedom, churches only survive so long as they meet the needs of people. For an example of what happens when churches no longer meet the needs of people, follow the link below.


  2. Thanks for sharing! What type of growth do you think churches like the one you mentioned are experiencing? Conversion? Consolidation? Generational?

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