So, if we need to reach the people who live in rural areas, we can simply plant new churches, can’t we?
Firstly, it’s good to plant new churches! But, we cannot plant new conventional churches in villages: they are too small.
OK, we can plant churches in the small towns, then? Towns of 3,000 people or more, for example. Yes, that can work, but I need to say that from our own experience it is not easy. Let me explain.
If the first thing we do is to plant a church, we need Christians to start the church. In small towns, there are often some Christians, but it’s difficult to attract enough Christians who are willing to be committed to a new church.
It is not necessarily the case that the Christians in the town will be ready to do evangelism in the town and the villages around the town. At the least we will need to do some training. For conventional evangelism we need enough people with enough spare time.
Something which, for me, is more important than what I have mentioned already is the fact that if we evangelise the villages from the town we are going to ask the new Christians to come to the church in the town. If we do this, we will cut the link between the new Christians and their family and friends in the village where they live. That is a big problem, because we risk losing the rest of the village for the sake of gaining just one new Christian. This is called extraction evangelism and we don’t want to do this.
So, we can plant conventional churches in the towns and try to attract people from the town and the villages through conventional evangelism. But, it is not at all easy to do this and, for the villages, we are simply doing extraction evangelism with it’s bad results.
Hmmm. What can we do…?