What To Do When Church Planting Fails To Deliver Expected Results?

By Victor Ochieng

In an article published in The Gospel Coalition, the author talks about an experience he had after planting BroadGrace Church in rural Norfolk, England. The church was planted in 2010 yet two years later, there was clearly no growth in membership, neither was there clear spiritual revival going on. This resulted in their weekly Sunday services becoming more like difficult work.

The church planter had a great company of brothers and sisters, but the problem is that there was no new conversions. They’d go to church every Sunday and have the very same faces, a clear sign that there was no revival taking place in their ministry.

This resulted in clear disappointment. In fact, the church planter started asking himself why God had led him to Norfolk. Was it so as to shame him? Could it be that it wasn’t God’s voice that directed him to start up a church in Norfolk? These are some of the questions that ran through his mind.

Many church planters experience this. In fact, some even end up closing down because of lack of sustainability. Some take even more than a decade with no clear prospect of growth, a truly disappointing experience to the church planter. It even gets more disappointing when the souls already in the house also start leaving one-by-one, and not wanting anything to do with the church. What a disappointment that is!

Is it always smooth? Nope! We have to expect such challenges even after investing so much financially, emotionally, and spiritually.

When you get to the point where you’re feeling disappointed, replay Jesus’ story and His experience in Jerusalem. While there, he shared the good news, but he was rejected. “As [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes’” (Luke 19:41).

Jesus’ tears were those of disappointment. He wasn’t pleased with what He’d experienced in His walk in the city. What that illustrates is that we’ll definitely experience disappointment in our Christian ministry. But let’s be careful that we’re not over-disappointed to the extent that we’re also beaten spiritually. Let’s keep walking the good walk and sharing the good news of the Kingdom of God, knowing that our perfect example, who’s Jesus Christ, was also disappointed in the ministry. In fact, He was rejected and crucified.