Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Would You Be My Neighbor?

I have noticed a few pastor-type blogs lately talking about similar churches that are basically locating right next to each other. Tim has a post about a church that is planting a campus very near Granger. Michael talks about a church that is relocating to the same area that they are in. Greg pointed out that his church is directly across from Prestonwood Baptist, another mega-church in Dallas. I was visiting my friend Rich Butler's church a few weeks ago and was shocked at how close they are to Brookwood Church here in Greenville. They could almost share a parking lot! We are experiencing this at Seacoast Greenville with Newspring Church planting their first campus less than a mile from where we are.

I am not sure what to think about this phenomena yet. I know that this is quite common in the retail world. There is usually a Home Depot directly across the street from a Lowe's. Grocery stores that sell the exact same products are almost always clumped together. I am just not sure if this is the best strategy for life-giving churches that have the same mission and strategy.

Then again, maybe it's a good thing and each church feeds off of the spiritual momentum of the other.

Just something that I am pondering right now. I would love to hear anyone else's thoughts on this.


bryan said...

Yeah, that's a tough one. Especially if the two churches have the same ethos. I guess one of the benefits is that it forces both churches to be on top of their game, right? Competition always does that. It's just a little weird to see that in the church.

I've always thought you should plant a church in a community that has a need for that type of church. I love this idea of reproducing churches and planting churches. I'm in the middle of the pre-launch stage of planting a church myself. But I think one of the pitfalls may be planting churches for the sake of saying look how many churches I've planted, not look how effective our church plants have been. In other words, are we being strategic in our new churches/plants/campus churches or are we just firing for affect?

richbutler@crccsc.org said...

Chris...great thoughts.

I started thinking....If I want to build a house, I will go to Home Depot, but if I am doing a weekend project, I go to Lowe's. I don't know why...Depot reminds me of industrial, Lowes reminds me of Home Improvement. There are plenty of people wanting to do both and needing to do both. Maybe it's a Branding thing??

These are just a few thoughts rolling around in my dome. Great question! Liquid HWY owners said they were bummed when Starbucks moved in right next to them....but to their suprise, the sales went up. They are now trying to buy land next to Starbucks for future stores. It's all a mystery.

Ed said...

Doesn't this reduce our resources? If we are all busy following the HD/Lowes model, are we not limitting our needed resources for the ultimate goal: winning souls?

It's great to have choices but how much is too much? and how close is too close?

Chris Surratt said...

I think that you guys have good points on this. One feedback that I get from people all the time is: "Why does Greenville need another church?" I obviously believe strongly that any town needs new, different kinds of churches to reach different kinds of people; however,
I think that we may feed into the stereotype of "too many churches" when we plant them on top of each other.

Great thoughts!

Jason Curlee said...

Chris...great thoughts...and a real tough subject.

There does need to be some thought into location for sure...but the reality is if we all are successful in what we do there are plenty of unchurched people to reach.

What there are not plenty of is churched people to fight over. Our competition is really in staying true to being missional.

For me the tough thing is that it is hard to get established as a church plant when a larger church comes in with more resources...that really is where the challenge lies.