Why Do Conversions at Black Church Plants Peak After Three Years?

First significant study of new African-American churches prompts discussion.
Why Do Conversions at Black Church Plants Peak After Three Years?
Image: Courtesy of LifeWay Research

The findings of one of the most thorough studies of African-American church planting to date are being shared publicly by its private sponsors.

The new study by LifeWay Research, which surveyed 290 African American church planters from more than 20 denominations, found that most black church plants start small (average Sunday worship attendance: 37) but grow steadily and become financially self-sufficient within four to six years.

What doesn't keep growing: the number of "new commitments to Christ," which peak in the third year of a church's existence. Two standout sources of conversions: door-to-door evangelism (75%) and offering a class for new members (68%).

More than half of surveyed pastors started their churches before 2007, and only 6 percent have had to close their church. The three main predictors of success, according to the survey: delegating leadership tasks to volunteers; training new members in leadership skills; and having a plan of personal spiritual ...

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