Church Planting as an African-American

LifeWay Research president, Ed Stetzer, divulges new study results examining church planting in the African-American community.

2. On average, African-American church plants started in communities that were largely made up of the following ethnic groups: African-American (42 percent), White (35 percent), Hispanic (13 percent), African or Caribbean decent (4 percent), Asian (3 percent), and other (3 percent).

3. About two-thirds (68 percent) of churches focused on reaching African-Americans.

4. Forty-eight percent of new churches were sponsored by another church. Among the sponsoring churches, 79 percent provided active prayer support while 53 percent provided mentoring to the church planter or church planting team.

5. The primary funding sources for African-American church plants were funds provided by core members (84 percent), funding from the affiliated denomination (62 percent), funding from the church planter or church planting team (49 percent), and the personal financial support network of the church planter (44 percent).

6. The average amount received by church starts from outside sources was $21,818 in the first year. Average dollars received from members or attendees in the first year was $33,301. During the first seven years, outside funding declined 44 percent while dollars from members or attendees grew 211 percent.

7. Twenty-nine percent were self-sufficient by their first year. Half achieved self-sufficiency by the fourth year, and 60 percent by year 10.

8. Sixty percent said they received church planter mentoring, coaching or supervision as well as training for themselves or their team.

9. Fifty-five percent of planters received church planting training prior to starting a church. But only 16 percent received specific training on the dynamics of the African-American context prior to planting.

10. Two-thirds (69 percent) of the church planters were bivocational the first two years of the plant’s existence. Only 38 percent of the planters stated the financial compensation was adequate to meet their basic needs and that of their family.

11. The majority of church planters arrived on the field as a single staff member. Only 6 percent of the church plants had a paid, staffed team of more than one person to start the church.

I’ve shared Dr. Carl Ellis’ introduction to the study. And I echo his sentiments that “it is hoped that the findings of this study will better equip denominations and church planters in their efforts to address today’s African-American community.”

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Ed Stetzer
Ed Stetzer is President of LifeWay Research and LifeWay’s Missiologist in Residence. He has trained pastors and church planters on five continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Ed is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine and Catalyst Monthly, serves on the advisory council of Sermon Central and Christianity Today's Building Church Leaders, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN.