A Church That Plants Churches
Trinity Presbyterian Church has grown through the regular proclamation of one central message: You are more broken & sinful than you can imagine, yet you are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than you can dream, at the same time. Every problem a person faces comes from a failure to understand or apply that good news. We exist to to show that grace changes everything because of what Jesus Christ has done for us. To accomplish that goal we encourage everyone to find and love a church that preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ clearly. We believe that we as a church can facilitate that goal by planting churches.
Committed to seeking the good of Oklahoma, Trinity has planted two churches in our short history with plans to do more:
1. Three Rivers Presbyterian Church, Grove, OK, Rev. Mark Kuiper
2. Hope Presbyterian Church, Bartlesville, OK, Rev. Peter Johnson
Why Plant Churches?
- Nationally, about 4,000 churches are planted in the U.S. while about 3,700 churches close -- a net annual gain of 300 churches. This requires a gain of 2000-3000 new churches each year to keep up with the population growth.
- Some researches say that 80% of churches in the U.S. are platued or declining, though others say the rate is closer to 60-65%. (Malphurs Group)
- Fewer than 5% of churches actively reproduce themselves by planting daughter churches (Malphurs Group)
Trinity plants churches to bring peace to a broken world and reach the lost. The United States continues to become more urban and suburban. Small towns have lost the ability to produce the necessary jobs to maintain their population. Young adults find it necessary to move to cities to find work and the schools they desire. Metropolitan areas such as Tulsa must continue to plant churches to keep up with the demand of a growing population. The Tulsa Metropolitan Area is projected to add 100,000 people per decade for the indefinite future. Planting 20 churches per year would only keep up with that pace. Of course, we cannot plant 20 churches a year, but we must not foolishly believe that one church will ever grow big enough to meet the needs of our city. In addition, statistics show that multiple churches do a much better job of reaching a growing population than single large churches. For instance, a church that adds 20 members a year will have 400 members at the end of 20 years. But through multiplication a church that plants 1 church of 20 people, which the next year plants another church of 20 people, and so on for 20-years, will have reached over 10-million in the same period of time! Of course that kind of pyramid growth is unlikely, but the statistics give a sense of the kind of outreach unleashed by church planting. Finally, un-churched people are attracted to new churches. A visitor feels at home more quickly in new churches. As a matter of fact, statistics show that 80% of the members of new churches have no previous local church affiliation.
How Does Planting Affect Leadership?
Planting Equips More Leaders! New Churches give committed people a chance to lead early. Established Churches inevitably develop ensconced leadership. A Church only needs so many leaders. Once those positions have been filled, the recruitment and training function of the church tends to decline. Church plants offer officer training to completely new and sometimes unexpected groups of people. More people take the responsibility of ministry upon themselves, serving as teachers, leaders, deacons, elders and pastors.
How Does Planting Define a Church?
We plant to create better defined churches. Every Church has a personality-- choosing its own areas of focus. The sharper focus a local church maintains, the more capability it has of reaching its goals. Having more churches planted will allow us to have some churches focused on discipleship, others focused on fellowship, worship, missions, faith and work, etc. We do not dream of seeing ten clones of Trinity in Northeast Oklahoma. Rather, we hope to see ten very different churches reaching a wide range of people.
How Does Location Help a Church Plant?
It is easier to be a vital part of a Church that is close to your house. Ideally, it will increase your missional living if you worship, work, and go to school near your home. It is much easier to invite someone to a church near their home than to one in the next town over.
How Does Church Planting Protect Pastors and a Congregation?
Nothing has proven more detrimental to the Church in our generation than the cult-like status afforded pastors of big churches. Having a college of 10 pastors all serving churches of 500 members provides each pastor with mutual accountability that facilitates a healthy spiritual life. Trinity's leadership meets weekly with a group of Acts 29 and PCA pastors to strategize and sharpen one another. We also meet several times a year with the Southwest Church Planting Network and the Acts 29 Network, two organizations committed to planting churches of which we are full-members.
How is Church Planting a Blessing?
We plant to bless our congregation actively engaging in the mission of Christ through planting Churches brings great spiritual blessings, but there is a more selfish reason. According to Ed Stetzer, when a mother church plants a daughter, on average the mother church grows 22%. We have already seen this. Our mother church, RiverOaks in South Tulsa, grew after they planted us and we grew on average 23% during the years after we planted Three Rivers in Grove and Hope in Bartlesville. We think there are some secular reasons to account for this growth, such as increased name recognition and market optimization. But primarily, we think God loves churches who plant churches.
How Does Trinity Plan to Plant Churches?
We plan to plant churches using a team concept. Our increasing community will maintain close ties. We eventually hope to share as much administration cost as possible, even sharing office space when it is convenient. We may even share executives in the future if feasible. As a team we plan to work together to train church planters, and to plant a new church every 3-5 years. In 2015 we launched our first church plant, Three Rivers Church (PCA) near Grand Lake with Rev Mark Kuiper and eleven families. In 2018 we launched Hope Church in Bartlesville which averages about 100 on Sunday. Each of our church plants have their own PCA-ordained teaching elder to lead and guide the congregation under the oversight of the Hills and Plains Presbytery of the PCA.
Where Will We Plant Churches?
We dream of planting ten churches in the Tulsa Metro Area. We've already seen six church plants in the past 20 years: RiverOaks (2006), Trinity (2011, Owasso), Grace & Peace (2013, Midtown), Three Rivers (2015, Grand Lake), Hope Church (2018, Bartlesville), and New City Fellowship (2018, North Tulsa). We hope to see other church plants in Broken Arrow, Sapulpa, Muskogee, West Tulsa (Sand Springs, Gilcrease), Tulsa Hills, and Downtown Tulsa.
Collectively as a group of churches (a presbytery), we are planting a new gospel-centered, missional, outward-facing PCA church in Springfield, MO. We also hope to see varieties of styles of gospel-centered churches who also plant churches in coordination with the Southwest Church Planting Network and the Acts 29 Network.
Trinity seeks to continue to be a church-planting church that reaches the lost, shepherds people well, and equips them to serve for the glory of God and the good of Tulsa Metro.