Another New Church is Starting in Lafayette

9 Replies

Front Page Lafayette

This Sunday launches the Grand Opening month for Connexion Christian Ministries in Lafayette, and it’s time for me to evaluate whether I’m really in favor of church planting or just my own church plant!

Theory:

  • Church planting is the most effective method of evangelism in the world today.
  • Only 20-30% of the people in Tippecanoe County go to church on a given Sunday.
  • If all the churches were filled to capacity twice a Sunday, that would still total less than half the total population of this area.

Concerns:

  • Every individual church has a high amount of initial financial overhead. To effectively run a small contemporary church (100 in attendance) in our community these days takes an annual budget of at least $120,000. But if the attendance doubles, the budget needs do not double. With $240,000 that same church could serve 300-400 people! Therefore, is it a wise use of God’s finances to start new contemporary churches where there already are healthy contemporary churches?
  • There are already three contemporary churches in downtown Lafayette. Lafayette Community Church, Clear River Church, and The Bridge. So I wonder what the motivation is for this new church starting in the same area.
  • How does an unbeliever view the proliferation of churches? People these days are already critical of the proliferation of Starbucks, but they still buy the coffee because they love it. However, what about those who don’t like coffee? What do they think of the proliferation? Will they give Starbucks a shot because another one opened up down the street?

Self-awareness:

I am a competitive person, and Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven will be advanced by “forceful men” (Matthew 11:12). So the “competition” between churches is good for me and it prompts me to renew my passion to do things in our church right and to cooperate effectively with other churches.

I pray that God will reach this city, and that in His divine power, this new church will be part of making that happen.

9 comments

  1. Rachel K

    I would not categorize myself as an unbeliever, but I have not been in church for a very long time because of my past experience with it. But as someone who has visited several churches in Lafayette looking for one that challenges me and speaks to me where I am, this post concerns me greatly. I explored this new church’s website, and it appears that their motivation that you question is simply to reach people that other churches (even contemporary churches downtown) are not reaching. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that a good thing?

    1. Jeff Post author

      Hi Rachel,

      Great comment on my blog! You are totally correct that it’s a good thing to reach people that other churches aren’t reaching, and I’m hoping that Connexion does that well. I do find it ironic though that Connexion and Lafayette Community Church are both on the same block of downtown Lafayette. My prayer is that the two churches will be able to accomplish more than either one of us could do on our own, and I’m personally trying very hard to meet the pastors of Connexion so that we can work together effectively.

      In fact, this last week was their grand opening and I heard they had between 140 and 150 in attendance! At the same time, my church had a rather large attendance, so already that’s something for me to rejoice over!

  2. Lori Stout

    What disturbs me most about your blog is that you seem to making the desire to bring people to Christ a competition. I just thought we were all in this together. I just don’t understand the point of your blog besides having a one man pissing war.

  3. Rachel K

    Lori, I’m glad you made this point about competition. In everything I have read in the New Testament, I think Jesus would almost shudder at the thought of the idea of this kind of competition. I really don’t think Matthew 11:12 (the passage referenced on the blog) makes that point at all.

    Jeff, your blog has led me to explore more about each of the churches you mentioned here. It seems from reading the history of your church plant (I was one person who received the original mailing when you came here), that your mission was to reach specifically the South Side of Lafayette. Why is it that you are now downtown? Am I off-base to ask the same types of questions you raise here about your own church?

    I certainly do not want to come off as creating a comment debate–but you ask what an unbeliever would view the proliferation of churches? Perhaps the question is–what would an unbeliever think of this attitude of competition. Because to me, this type of attitude makes me want to run in the opposite direction.

  4. Jeff Post author

    Rachel,

    Thanks again for your comments. I am really sorry that I have done such a poor job of expressing myself here that Lori would feel that I was somehow being “pissy” or that you would also be offended. I’d like to start over by saying that I have always been for church cooperation in theory and now God is giving me an opportunity to test the theory to see if I really am for it in practice. There is no competition between me and Jason Haight or between my church and his. I hope they succeed and I am glad they had a big grand opening weekend.

    I am concerned that people who don’t go to church might think that we are in competition with each other. At least you and Lori saw negative competition in my own comments and I regret that I wasn’t more clear. Our real competition isn’t any other church but rather hopelessness apathy greed and the spiritual forces in our world opposed to God. Regarding that LCC and Connecions are in the same team and I hope we can work together.

    Now about the questions you raised against my church, I asked them too. I feel a big draw to the SouthSide of Lafayette where schools are busting and foreclosures are high. I didn’t want to move downtown but we simply couldn’t afford the financial costs of meeting space on the South Side.

    Oh and one final thing. My Bible reference above was to indicate that God has used a new church downtown to remind me that I need to be passionate about the right things. I need to be forceful about God’s kingdom not my own. I’m making a public confession that I am tempted to think competitively but that such thoughts are wrong if the competitive juices flow against my brothers an sisters. My fight in Lafayette is WITH the other churches AGAINST poverty, injustice, greed, apathy, hopelessness, and AGAINST the spiritual bondage that people face without Jesus in their lives.

    Wanna join that fight with me?

  5. Rachel K

    Well, I certainly appreciate your response, and am sorry that your intent was not read in your words.

    I think that the comment you made previously, about LCC having a good attendance on the same Sunday that Connexion had a large crowd at their Grand Opening is proof positive that there is a need here in Lafayette, and all of you are striving to meet it. Even being close in proximity to each other- physically- (as several other downtown churches) isn’t going to stop the ability to meet that need.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Jeff.

  6. Dwight M

    I have been a pastor in this community for over 20 years. I have never been opposed to a new church starting in our community, no matter how close in location to the church where I serve. In my opinion there is and has been (and probably will continue to be) too much territorialism (I just made that word up but it fits) with a lot of churches. The reality is that there are a lot of people who do not know Jesus in our community. We should not see other churches as competition but as opportunities to work together. We are not like sport teams that compete against each other but more like a flotilla of ships heading to the same destination. Let’s rejoice together in what God is doing by lifting up the name of Jesus so that He will draw people to Himself through our ministries. I agree with Paul in Philippians 1:18, “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.” I always pray that whoever plants a new church will be led by the Spirit of God. God bless you and your ministry. I pray that you will be fruitful and multiply as you daily seek his will for you life and the life of your church.

  7. Jeff Post author

    Dwight,

    Thank you for posting your comment. Even though I still have not been able to pull together a face to face meeting with the leaders of Connexion, I’m still pretty encouraged by their ministry so far.

    I’m also encouraged to hear about you and am wondering if you and I can meet at some point. As a member of TEAMM, I’m eager to meet local pastors, and I’d love to hear more about your ministry.

    How can I get in touch with you?

  8. Jeff Post author

    Hey, I finally had a meeting with Jason Gordon of Connexion Christian Ministries. He’s a good guy and really has a kingdom-driven mindset. There’s no competition there—just the future possibility of cooperation. There might be a really cool partnership brewing.

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