Church...Grafting? A thought experiment.

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Church Grafting

There's been a lot I've been wanting to talk about, but I haven't had enough time to sufficiently think about them. For the next couple weeks, my "Free Friday" posts are probably going to be a bit half-baked, so I ask for your patience. But if you want to help me develop these ideas, feel free to chime in!

Church planting is the new hip cool thing in modern evangelicalism (except "evangelicalism" is neither new, hip, nor cool anymore, but I'll use it for lack of a better word.) Of course, there are different ways churches are planted, but it generally goes something like this: you have a large or decently sized church, say, in Simi Valley. And members of that church feel called to go do church somewhere else, not because they don't like their Simi church, but because God loves people in...I don't know...West LA, too. So they gather up a team and get a couple pastor/ elders, usually younger guys either straight out of or not to far out from seminary. They move to West LA and plant a church.

It's no secret that church plants are generally in urban areas. I actually read an article awhile back on how rural areas need Jesus, too, and how church planters should consider planting in the country. I thought that was a valid point.

But are we limited to church planting?

What if there are already existing churches in a particular area? What if those churches love Jesus, too? But what if they're struggling a bit, not in purpose or joy or love or dedication, but what if their numbers aren't as good? What if they're missing entire generations of people under 40? 50?...60?

Do we go to the areas where these churches are and set up new churches? Church plants, in addition to being urban, generally attract the young urban. And maybe I'm making gross overexaggerations. This isn't something I've exactly studied in detail. Do we just hope the older churches will be able to get enough members of their own to be viable for a few more years? Or do we let them die out?

Church planting isn't for everyone. What if you're simply not called to lead in that capacity? What if you're not a pastor? What if you're not...a guy?

Is it possible to have a movement of church grafters? People of a certain age willing to leave their churches in favor of filling in age gaps of churches form another certain age? Would it be possible to set up a database of "personal church ads" or something? "Older church seeks young, vibrant adults" "Younger church seeks experienced Christians"

Of course it's easy to see 1) how this will be a logistical nightmare and how 2) how this, if implemented, will present a ton of problems. Ones that immediately come to mind are: who do you let use the list? and what happens when a group of "grafters" disagree with the leadership of the new church?

But problems aside, do you think an argument can be made for what I'm going to call "church grafting?" A move to strengthen existing churches through diversity of membership as an option aside from church planting?