Communitas - North America

Geoff Rinehart - North America Advancement Team Director

Is there really a need for more church planting in America and Canada?

Recent statistics for the US show that about 40,000 Americans leave the church weekly, which explains why forecasters project that some 3700 churches will be closing their doors annually for years to come. Taking into account both closures and projected new church starts, it’s estimated that an additional 2,900 new churches need to be planted each year in the U.S. just to keep pace with population growth (see The American Church in Crisis, by David Olson, Zondervan: 2008).  The situation in Canada parallels the US trend, with Canada’s postmodern cities being even more amenable to the kind of churches Communitas has experience planting in Europe.

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Clearly there is a need for new churches across the US and Canada.  Statistics and trend-lines on baptisms, attendance and church closures show this to be true across the board, particularly if younger populations and major urban centers are in view.  A good number of church planting organizations are responding, but what exactly does Communitas bring to the table that is unique or desperately needed in North America?  We on the Communitas North America Advancement Team get asked this question all the time.

Based on our field assessment these past 5 years, and on feedback from our partnering churches, missional pioneers and planters in the U.S., we believe Communitas is uniquely positioned to respond to the need for new churches in these ways:

  • In Communitas we are committed to express God’s passionate love for the world by starting missional initiatives and churches that clearly proclaim the gospel in word and deed (toward the making of new disciples).
  • Communitas offers strategic coaching for church planters and churches through coaches experienced in cross-cultural church planting (much of that involving planting among European urban postmoderns not unlike those populations found in increasing number across North America).
  • Communitas is not just another network to belong to, but we actually invest in the training and development of our leaders and project teams (e.g. we offer intentional leadership and team development processes, along with diverse kinds of training in such areas as missional theology, missionary skills, and the practices and competencies to lead well and sustainably).
  • Communitas offers a unique team leader assessment process proving effective for identifying team leaders suited to plant churches that embody the gospel and reach/include non-Christians.
  • Communitas is not model-driven, but rallies around its unique values, a progressive evangelicalism, and a pattern for missional church planting aimed at yielding healthy, context-sensitive, gospel-sowing churches.
  • Communitas embraces and seeks to empower diversity (in the sphere of gender, giftedness, ethnicity, socio-economic background, etc.) as it forms its planting teams and new churches.
  • Communitas partners with existing churches for new church planting in N. Am. and globally, tapping into the unique expertise of our church partners while also offering our own accessible training to reorient churches toward mission and multiplication.

To settle into such a niche as this and actually deliver well on all we aspire to, we welcome the help of leaders, churches, planters and missional pioneers willing to join ranks with us on some level.  We need risk takers of all kinds – people willing to join church planting teams, and people willing to participate as “running partners” who offer their time, prayers, finances and/or expertise.

Why not join us in some capacity as we play our part in seeing God ignite a movement of innovative, disciplemaking, reproducing churches across the cities of North America!  A God-carved niche awaits our full engagement!