Research Reveals Hidden Potential In Baptist Churches

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By Stan Fetting (Crossover Operations Manager)

Crossover invested heavily in the 2011 National Church Life Survey to commission research to help understand the potential and opportunities that exist for evangelism and church planting within our movement of churches.  In addition to the standard NCLS questionnaire Crossover commissioned a further ten Baptist specific questions.  The findings will help the leadership at all levels understand more about how we are doing as a movement and what opportunities we can grasp. The good news on the question of church planting is that we have plenty of potential represented in the significant amount of people in our churches who are prepared to be engaged.  The question posed was “If you had the opportunity, would you support and/or become an active participant in the planting of a new church?”. The results are encouraging.

When you add the ‘Yes, definately’ and the ‘Yes, probably’ respondents together they represent an enormous potential.

I have no way of quantifying the exact amount of churches who are planning on engaging in church planting but I do have a good idea thanks the excellent church planting representatives from our respective State denominations on the Crossover TaskForce. I’m sure they would agree that supply far outstrips demand when it comes to church planting.  In other words, there are no doubt more people in your average church that are willing to engage in church planting than the leadership would imagine. Lets drill down further into the statistics.

In what may be a surprise to some, Tasmania, which is often regarded as a conservative State with a higher age demographic leads the way in the ‘Yes, definitely’ category and is second only to Queensland on a composite score of ‘Yes, definitely’ and ‘Yes, maybe’. Queensland, another State with perceptions of conservatism,  leads the way with the highest composite score showing a huge potential of prospective church planters lurking in their congregations.

When it comes to church planting support by ethnicity those born in Australia lag behind new arrivals.  The most willing church planters by ethnicity are those born in non-English speaking countries. The church in Australia has been blessed by new arrivals, and in regard to church planting they have shown the way.

When it comes to age there is an even spread and an encouragingly high percentage of older people willing to put their hand up to be engaged in church planting. This represents a further potential which our churches are increasingly laying hold of: retirees with time on their hands and a passion for God in their hearts!

Finally it comes as no surprise that there is a direct correlation between frequency of devotional practise and willingness to engage in church planting. The challenge for our churches is to find ways of engaging fringe believers who have become disengaged from church and devotional rhythms. In terms of re-engagement, what better adventure can you embark upon than to assist in a church plant?

Those churches who participated in the NCLS are able to review their own church specific statistics. What is the potential in your church for church planting and how are you using that?

Stan Fetting – Crossover Operations Manager