Interesting Documents Department–the 2009 TEC Church Planting Initiatives Survey Report

Few dioceses, only 12% of the full sample, report that any congregation they started within the last five years is now self-supporting, although another 16% expect that they will have at least one new start independent within three years. On the other extreme, nearly a fourth (23%) of the dioceses responding report that they have at least one new start they do not anticipate will be self-supporting within even ten years. Three dioceses describe a congregation established within the last five years that has already been closed. Given this diversity in projections of financial independence, it is further understandable why dioceses are going the renting route in addition to or instead of buying much property.

Read it all. Readers may also be interested to note that according to TEC’s own statistics the number of parishes has gone from 7,055 in 2007 to 6,736 in 2011.


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Episcopal Church (TEC), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, TEC Parishes

One comment on “Interesting Documents Department–the 2009 TEC Church Planting Initiatives Survey Report

  1. New Reformation Advocate says:

    Thanks, Kendall. This is very revealing indeed, and such a damning indictment of TEC that it scarcely needs commentary. However, as a former aspring church planter (before I realized that I wasn’t well suited for the role), and a former co-chair of the diocesan church planting commission for the Dioc. of VA back when it led the nation in church planting, I can perhaps add a few historical tidbits of interest to readers.

    1. Back in the 1990 I was a finalist in two national searches for a church planter in two liberal dioceses that hadn’t started a single new church in over a decade. The level of ignorance about church planting I encountered in the interview process was appalling. Those two dioceses really had little clue what they were looking for in a church planter, except that they knew they didn’t want a hardcore conservative priest!

    2. Numerous empirical studies have shown a very strong correlation between church planting and church growth. The denominations and regional judicatories that start the most churches also grow the most, and vice versa. That doesn’t prove that there is a cause-and-effect relationship, much less proving which way the causation works, but there is a very strong and clear association between the two kinds of growth.

    3. TEC, like other oldine denoms, basically dropped out of the church planting business from about 1966 to 1980 or so. The whole institutional focus shifted so drastically to “progressive” social action concerns and causes (along with profound uneasiness over evangelism) that commitment to church planting simply dried up. This was one of the primary causes of the sudden decline that befell TEC in the mid-1960s, and which has basically persisted, with minor ups and downs, ever since, although it has accelerated significantly in the last decade.

    4. Some oldtimers may remember that the so-called “Decade of Evangelism” in the 1990s included a dream of launching 1000 new Episcopal Churches. A few of us hopeless optimists actually hoped that TEC might come close to that lofty goal. But it turned out to be a completely unrealistic dream, because many of the pre-requisite factors weren’t there.

    5. In 2009, ++Bob Duncan challenged the new fledgling ACNA to undertake a similar goal that seemed even more unlikely and unrealistic, if not downright impossible, starting 1000 new Anglican churches in just 5 years! Four years later, the ACNA has actually started over 300 congregations, and what is more important, a strong commi9tment to church planting has been embedded in the DNA of the ACNA. The whole spiritual climate and theological ecology of the ACNA supports church planting now, rather than ihhibiting it, as was and is the case with TEC as a whole.

    David Handy+