This is the sixth post in a series about Asian American church models. Dr. Benjamin Shin, in a lecture for the Doctor of Ministry in Asian American Ministry at Talbot School of Theology, discusses these different models.
There are many Asian Americans who have attended an ethnic-specific church (often a Room for Rent or Duplex model) who elect to join a church plant. Usually these churches begin very small in size. It is often a group of people who break-away from a Duplex model. Typical church plants have charter groups of 12-20 people. They often have visionary pastors. These churches often place a high emphasis on community service and evangelism.
There are many cases where Asian Americans join a church plant because they feel stifled by a Duplex model. They feel unable to have the vision they want.
Here are some advantages of Asian American church plants:
In a church plant, this independent congregation can call the shots. They can set their own vision and do ministry the way they want to. There’s no restrictions on what they can do.
Church plants tend to be ideal for bringing in new believers. They are often great at serving the community, too. While the church has no property or building of its own, they can outreach to the neighborhood with flyers and word of mouth.
And, here are some disadvantages:
- Lack of resources.
With a small leadership that is usually made of young people, the congregation does not have the ability to have a large budget. Often the pastor has to be bi-vocational. As the group is still forming, it is difficult to make ends meet. There are often problems having a location, as church plants meet in people’s homes.
- Lack of endurance.
Many people think they are ready for a church plant. But in many cases these folks are motivated by wanting to escape their current church. Church plants take a lot of hard work. They often do not have the endurance to stay when the excitement ends. 90% of church plants fold. In fact, within the first year, 75% of the original charter group leave the church.
Do you have experience in a church plant? Are there any advantages or disadvantages you would add?