New Churches : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

Hello board. Something has been on my mind for some time now and since I have grown to appeciate the outlet that this board affords us, I will ask my question. "On what grounds can a Pastor tell a Bishop that there should not be another church established in a particular city/town"? Why would a bishop want to discourage growth of a new church?

-- Anonymous, January 16, 2004


Katherine asks -

"On what grounds can a Pastor tell a Bishop that there should not be another church established in a particular city/town"?

Answer - Unless a proposed new church would result in major financial burdens on the congregation and the District, the Presiding Prelate would be wise to reject such myopic recommendations. I would think such a Pastoral request would be out of order and a defiance of established protocol. The only rationale that a Pastor can use to make such a request is based on a peculiar theology which discourages evangelism and emphasizes selfish ambitions. I would argue that such a theology is inimical to the Bible mandate of St. Matthew 28:19-20 and incompatible with fundamental Christian principles. QED

-- Anonymous, January 16, 2004

Demographics and the number of AME Churches already in the area. Each church is expected to cover a certian area and the demographics must support a new congregation. The area rules are not always the deciding factor since we have become such a mobile society. Consider the target audience numbers, unchurched numbers and the number of churches currently serving that population.

-- Anonymous, January 16, 2004

This is a hot topic presently being discussed within several areas of the Connectional Church. We are in the final phases of presenting criteria to assist pastors, laypersons and those concerned to assist in planting or evaluating the need for a new charge within a particular city. The basic concerns are "need" and "demograhics." There are several cases where churches are planted within several yards from one another. This can be seen when one vists St. James AME Church in Newark, New Jersey or Israel Memorial AME Church. Another example would be Bridgestreet AWME which can be seen from the front steps of Peoples AME Church in Brooklyn. Demograhics are considered before one well as need. The Bishop would not tell someone to plant a ministry; the aspirant would be challenged to consider demographics. That would warrant "need."

-- Anonymous, January 17, 2004

As a church planter this topic is very near and dear to my heart. I am in the fifth district in the pacific northwest conference (which includes Alaska, Washington, and Montana ) In the 2 years that I have been in the pacific northwest conference, 4 new churches have been planted and I am told there are other new churches that have been planted in the fifth district since Bishop Bryant has arrived. It is exciting having a Bishop on fire for church planting.

I can only speak for my conference of those of us who have planted churches, we approached our Bishop and asked permission, without exception it was the pastor's that felt moved by the spirit to do so. We have TREMENDOUS SUPPORT from Bishop Bryant and our Presiding Elder Roberson, and when one is planting a church you need support, both financial, emotional and spiritual.

The fifth district has economic development grants that assist small churches, Rev. Mark Whitlock directs this program for our district and what an anointed man of God, because in addition to financial grants he is also a spiritual coach that stays involved with the churches that are helped. Bishop Bryant and Presiding Elder Roberson have a powerful approach of mentoring.

And most importantly they do not compare new churches with each other. My annual report did not sound like anyone elses, for I am doing rural ministry and global ministry, so our mission projects looked different than our urban churches, I was given permission two years ago to plant an ame church in missoula, montana, population, 100,000 people. And the home of the "World Church of the Creator" the largest white supremacist group in the U.S. There is a fairly large population of people from Namibia, Ghana, Nigeria and Viet Nam and they requested an ame church be planted. I was extremely sick in 2002 and in a wheel chair for have that time, and God has now restored my health, we will move forward with that church planting this year. Hallelujah!

Church planting is the hardest ministry that anyone can do as is pastoring a start up church (mission church) things that are taken for granted, a building, hymnals, bibles, salary, built in members, are not found in a brand new church, everything has to be gotten and my daughter's car is called the God mobile, for we have to bring everything to the space we rent, hymnals, music stand, bibles, communion elements, etc, set up, etc. then you have to go out and get members in addition to working a full job. Church growth materials tell us it takes five years for a new church to become established. That is why one cannot only consider money when thinking of church planting. One needs the spiritual and emotional support of bishops, colleagues, and friends, imagine how discouraging it is when one does not have muscians, (I am blessed for I am a professional singer and sing every sunday with music tracks, we us drums in our service and a lot of call and response chants with drumming.

One last thing, we can look at demographics and money but do not leave out the movement of the holy spirit. I look at my church in bozeman, montana, and the work that our congregation is doing, a white congregation is a black denomination, reaching out to indians and ame churches in africa. We are now engaged in harnessing the talents of scientist and professors of agriculture to help us develop fertilizer, nutrients that are organic that can produce crops in draught areas, scientist that can take bacteria and sludge out of water to help our sisters and brothers in africa, we also have in my town a team of scientist that have developed a new more potent line of aid drugs, We have a plant patholist and soil microbiologist that is a member of my church and our church is working hard to come up with work books and manuals and materials to be sent to africa.

When God plants a church it is always for a larger plan. God bless the church planters, who have the courage to follow christ.

-- Anonymous, January 17, 2004

My Episcopal District has more than 500 Churches and my Confernce has 108. In each of these new churches are still being formed.

However, I am also aware that in some Conferences and Districts as large as mine, unfortunately it is more about ego than the need to serve. That is, “I would rather do it my way and not your way”. In my own Conference, I am aware of two AME Churches, which for many years existed side by side. They shared adjacent properties and parking lots. Now, I was told that one of them decided that it no longer wishes to be AME because they simply do not wish to follow the rules. There are also abandoned properties belonging to most of our Conferences that should be revived.

-- Anonymous, January 17, 2004

Thank you all for your response. To give some what of a more detail, demographics is inportant. The new church will be located at least 10 to 15 miles from the only other ame church in this city. There are about 20 to 30 people who will be committed to the support of the pastor and church in body, spirit and finances. There is presently only one ame church in this city that i live in.

As we all know, not every pastor's style of administration is suited for everyone and there might be ministries that may be offered or not offered in a particular church, that may be offered in antoher church. And please, do nt start to think, oh this must be a bunch of disgruntal people, because this is not the case. The city that I live in is sar far spread out and is still growing that I can forsee that there could be 2 or 3 ame churches in this city and still not be within 15 miles at the least of each other.

-- Anonymous, January 17, 2004

The 2000 Census is your source for demographic data From this page you will be able to get data on your target population right down to the city block level. That can be used to assess the need for a church. Each Presiding Elder is responsible for establishing new works in the PE District. Texas is a rich area for new work because of population shifts from the Inner City to the Subrubs. We lost a number of our rural congregations as our people left the farms for the cities. it is important to be able to forecast the population shifts so that we are able to continue to minister to the people of God. Be Blessed

-- Anonymous, January 17, 2004

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