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The Future of Church Planting in North America

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Damian Emetuche

The Future of Church Planting in North America looks to Jesus as the model for life and ministry as he said, «As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you». In exploring this passage, the author asks, what does this passage mean in church-planting terms? How do we apply the concept of being «sent» within contemporary North America? This region of the world, much like the Middle East in the early first century, is populated by a mosaic of people from all nations, tribes, and language groups. Dr. Emetuche argues that church planting by the majority of the North American churches has been unduly influenced by cultures and traditions rather than by a well-thought-out missiological application of theological convictions. Examining the life and ministry of Jesus as found in the Gospel of John as well as the New Testament church plants, the author makes a strong case for a multicultural church planting as a model for the future. Dr. Emetuche maintains that church planting is about the transformation of lives and cultures through relationship with Christ and, therefore, involves spiritual warfare. Consequently, communities formed through this union in Christ transcend culture, tradition, and national allegiances and become multicultural.
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Chapter 3. Church Planting and Current Demographic Realities in North America

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·  3  · CHURCH PLANTING AND CURRENT DEMOGRAPHIC REALITIES IN NORTH AMERICA

To be able to plant churches that are biblically sound and culturally relevant in North America today, we must consider several factors. Apart from the biblical mandate of Jesus Christ and the missiological practices of the early church, we need to understand modern North American cultural and demographic realities. This perspective is critical to how churches are planted. Concerning cultural context, I am interested in where the culture is going. Discussions on culture often focus on the past. There is a tendency to eulogize the past, especially within the Christian community.

In the United States, the 1920s to 1950s have been considered the golden years of the Christian faith. Churches grew with enormous national influence, and Americans were classified as “Protestant, Catholic, and Jew,” which became the title of a book written by Will Herberg. With the combination of factors such as the immigration restrictions of the 1920s and the evangelical outreach of denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention and the Methodists, Protestant population increased to 63.7 percent; Catholics comprised 53.9 percent and Jews 22.5 percent, according to Herberg. “In 1950 total church membership was reckoned at 85,319,000; or about 57 percent of the total population. In 1958 it was 109,557,741; or about 63 percent, marking an all-time high in the nation’s history.”1 As far as diversity is concerned, the 1920s to ← 27 | 28 → 1950s was the most homogeneous period...

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