Warning, having children could be good for you!

Istock 000002148029Small-1 Having kids is costly, time consuming and emotionally demanding. I know.

So I have a plan. Wait until you're wise enough, wealthy enough and have discretionary time on your hands. Then start a family. . . when you're 65 years old.

Planting churches is costly, time consuming and emotionally demanding for the parent church. So think twice before you take the plunge. While you're thinking here is some research that challenges the idea that starting new churches impedes the development of the parent. The opposite is true.

Natural Church Development (NCD) research shows churches that have planted other churches are healthier and grow faster despite having given released people to church planting.

The study revealed that while barren churches gained only 5 new church attendees per 25 previous attendees in the past 5 years, mother churches gained 9 new attendees per 25 previous attendees.

When superior quality (as defined by the NCD 8 characteristics) is coupled with multiplication you find the greatest growth. In 5 years these very healthy mother churches added 18 new attenders for every 25 they had before.

Church quality and church multiplication together make a valuable contribution to the growth of the church.

The NCD study draws two conclusions:

(1) Reproduction is mother-church friendly. Churches that start daughter churches tend to experience two very positive side effects. First, they enjoy greater levels of health. Second, they experience faster growth rates. In most cases, worries that church planting will lead to a weakening of the mother church are unfounded, if quality is worked on.

Although among low quality churches, churches that started daughter churches were not necessarily better off in either the health or the growth aspect.

(2) Reproduction is Great-Commission friendly. While the study focused on the increased growth rates of mother churches, there are numerous indications that the growth rates of daughter churches are even better. The growth rate of new churches far outstrips that of older, more settled churches.

Church multiplication is, by and large, a win-win-win proposition. The mother church wins. The daughter church wins. The gospel-needy world wins.

Maybe you should have kids after all.

More And Better Churches For Spain-2 NCD research paper

Church GrowthChurch PlantingNatural Church Development