Why plant another church in Fresno?
You may be thinking to yourself, “Why do we need another church in Fresno?” You pass dozens of churches as you drive around town. Isn't this just diluting the strength of existing churches? Or is this denominational sectarianism—“Our team is better than yours”? No, we value and love the universal church, even with all imperfections. We are seeking to build the kingdom of Christ and consider ourselves partners with all who truly love the gospel of Jesus. We have spent a lot of time thinking about this, and we believe that there are compelling Biblical and cultural reasons to plant this church.
Before we look at some reasons for planting a church, it would be helpful to answer the question of “what is a church?” This is a massive question that can only be answered from scripture. In our understanding of the Bible’s teaching, every real church of Jesus Christ is a congregation of people who have been saved by God’s grace and called out of the world to worship together as a consecrated family. The identity and purpose of the church is expressed by various comparisons. The church is the house of the living God (I Tim 3:15), the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:23-25), the temple of God (I Cor. 3:16-17), His body on earth (Eph. 1:22-23), the flock of Jesus (Acts 20:28, I Peter 5:20), and God’s holy city and nation (I Peter 2:9). More could be said, but it should be obvious from these words that the church is very important to God, and it should be important to us. In light of this, why should we plant another church?
In the Great Commission, Jesus commands His people to go into all the nations and to make disciples. This is an optimistic command. Jesus gives His permission and promise to work through us, and He intends that we obey. He also intends that we teach these disciples to observe all that Jesus has taught us, which means the establishment of new congregations. These words call us to make disciples and not just to shuffle the sheep around between churches.
The majority of Americans live in urban areas, not in rural or suburban communities. Fresno is the 6th largest city in California. Churches in America need to address our generation with the ancient truths of salvation by sovereign grace. The population of the Fresno area is growing, and it has a diverse population. We believe that a great mission field is right before us.
Many churches in California and in the US are in decline. Many churches have lost their way. Sadly, a great number of Bible-believing churches have become characterized by corrupt leadership, scandals within the church, cultural irrelevance, concern with peripheral issues, and distance from the glorious history of the church throughout the ages. Many churches are growing, but have lost a sense of purpose: growth for what purpose? According to the census bureau (2000 statistics), of all of the people in Fresno, 47.55% profess to be religious but only 11.53% profess to be protestant (non-catholic) Christians. Furthermore, the number of cults and false religions is steadily growing in America. When you add that many Bible-believing churches are failing to impact a rising generation with the time-proven truths of the gospel, you can see that additional churches will help to reach these people and strengthen Christian families and other institutions.
What you can do:
Pray: that the Lord will bless this work. Please pray that He will provide for our needs and grant wisdom to our leaders. This is very important! Unless the Lord builds this house, all of our labors will be in vain. Please pray on our behalf. E-mail us if you would like to receive prayer updates.
Join: Attend worship. Come to our small groups where we work out what it means to be the body of Christ. If you live in the area and love Jesus, we ask you to join us in this work. If you are looking for a church that is serious about worshiping and serving Christ, we ask you to help us build a city on a hill.
Tell: Tell your friends in the area about us, so that they can worship with us, too.