Denver ripe for church planting
Christians are looking to Denver, Colo. as a fertile field for planting new churches.
According to 9News many church leaders, especially evangelicals and protestants, are encouraged by statistics that say 92 percent of the residents in Denver are neither linked to, nor are active with a local evangelical church.
This is the finding of the 2000 census data of Religious Congregations and Church Membership, as well as the archives of the Association of Religious Data. The numbers have been given emphasis by the North American Mission Board, and the Colorado Baptist General Convention, 9News reported.
Another study from the Barna Group categorized Denver as a city largest enough to be a “media market.” Of all the cities in this category, the Barna study ranked Denver as the 13th lowest in the percentage of people who would say they are Christian, Examiner.com said.
Pastor Brian Brown of Park Church told 9News, “There’s fewer churches here per person, and fewer people that go to church here than literally almost anywhere else in the United States.”
Brown left his home in Texas to join other church planters here three years ago. Within that span of time, Park Church in northwest Denver has grown from a small group of 20 to 200 church members, 9News reported.
Another new church, in South Denver Centennial, is Plant Denver. It has a website and a Facebook page which says, “Plant Denver is the birth of a new church in South Denver that is taking the gospel to those who despise the institutional church because they have missed the beauty of Jesus and his followers.”
The movement of church planters to Denver started five years back. Many new churches are actively involved with Acts 29 Network, a nondenominational movement that helps to equip pastors to plant churches in the U.S., 9News said.
Acts 29 Network does this by giving training, evaluations and resources to pastors. Their website says, “It is our desire to see this leading to millions of lives changed by the power of the Spirit for the glory of God.”
Another network is the Colorado Baptist General Convention which has 16 new churches which all began within the last five years. CBGC’s Joe Beckler told 9News, “Leaders [are] …saying Denver’s a hotspot.”
Beckler said CBGC does not train pastors to do a hard sell. He told 9News, “We spend a lot of time training our church planters to just learn to love your community.”
Loving the community is simple as getting to know people at work, school or in coffee shops as a first step, Beckler told 9News. For some, that is the easiest part. Brown told 9News, “We literally just love this city. We want to live here.”