Church Planting in a Post-Christian Society

Jun 10, 2019

What does it mean to be a church planting organization in a post-Christian society? It means there is a lot more work to do.

Reading Barna’s Study (see bottom of this post) didn’t come as a surprise to us, but it did one again convince us of the importance of the work we are doing at Stadia. Pinetops Foundation has called this season of life in the United States “The Great Opportunity,” because we have a chance to help 22 million (or more) young people find or stay engaged with Jesus who might otherwise walk away. (You can read about The Great Opportunity if you haven’t yet – and we think you should!)

Fueled by sixteen years of experience as an organization (and hundreds of years of combined church planting experience among our staff), Stadia is continually working on refining our world-class portfolio of services to ensure that we don’t let this great opportunity go to waste.

One way that has proven extremely helpful in planting thriving churches is our residency program. Being prepared makes all the difference, especially when it comes to church planting. Church planting residency through Stadia is invaluable, because it provides great leaders the experience, coaching, and training necessary to plant a thriving church.

As our friend, former resident, and current church planter Brandon Jacobs said, “I didn’t know what a residency was at first when Stadia suggested it to me, but the way they explained it was really enlightening. They explained it like a medical doctor… {When you do your residency}, you’re a doctor. You’re doing it, you’re practicing, you are a doctor – but you’re working under a veteran doctor and learning from them and they’re speaking into that. That’s really what it was like for us. It wasn’t an internship where I was just kind of making copies. It was really like, ‘Hey, I’m a pastor. I’ve been doing this for thirteen years. But I’m doing something really unique in church planting, and it’s really weird, and it’s really risky, and really cutting edge.’ So it was helpful to practice and experiment and take that time. It was helpful to have other pastors who have been in ministry for longer than I’ve been alive speak into what I was doing.” (You can watch an interview with him, too!)

When we reviewed Barna’s list of Top 100 Post-Christian cities, we were happy to see that many of our residency opportunities are in or around some of the most post-Christian cities in the United States, providing future planters the best possible training for planting a church in a post-Christian world.

  • Los Angeles (#30 on the Top 100 list) is less than one hour’s drive from a residency at Crossroads Community Church in Valencia, CA.
  • Atlanta, GA (#72) is just 35 minutes drive from a residency at Momentum Christian Church in Henry County, GA.
  • San Diego (#38) is just a half hour from a residency at Rise City Church in Lakeside, CA (check out the San Diego Church Planting Movement for more about the incredible work being done in San Diego!)
  • Sacramento (#23) is just a half hour from a residency at Discovery Christian Church in Davis, CA.
  • Seattle (#10) is just a short fifteen minutes from a residency at Rain City Church in Bellevue, WA.
  • Our residency at Thrive Church in Central MI is central to Detroit (#28), Grand Rapids (#83), and Traverse City (#79).
  • Our residency at Venture Church in Hartland, MI is only 30 minutes away from Flint, MI, the site of one of the greatest humanitarian needs of our time and #45 on the list.
  • Our residency at Front Range Christian Church in Castle Rock, CO is almost exactly halfway between Denver, CO (#32) and Colorado Springs (#75), and isn’t more than 45 minutes from either location.
  • Our residency at Revolution Church in Annapolis, MD is just 30 minutes from Washington, DC (#29) and Baltimore, MD (#46).

This list of churches willing to partner with new planters is an encouragement to our spirits in the wake of the release of Barna’s list. And it doesn’t even represent the whole list of Stadia plants or partners who are serving in post-Christian locations and are willing to come alongside new planters, such as Project 938 in Westchester, PA, who offered to be a residency site for planters Matt & Carrie Silver when they heard the Silvers wanted to plant Experience Christian Church in Exton, PA (Westchester and Exton are within an hour of #22 on the list, Philadelphia, PA).

We are proud that so many of our planters and partners are already working to bring the love of Jesus into some of the most post-Christian cities in our nation. We would love to come alongside you as you begin your planting or residency, journey, as well! Together, we will make sure that we take advantage of the Great Opportunity that exists in the United States – and we won’t stop until every child has church.



Barna Group recently posted their 2019 list of Most Post-Christian cities, based on the people in a city meeting 9 or more of the following sixteen criteria:

    • Do not believe in God
    • Identify as atheist or agnostic
    • Disagree that faith is important in their lives
    • Have not prayed to God (in the last week)
    • Have never made a commitment to Jesus
    • Disagree the Bible is accurate
    • Have not donated money to a church (in the last year)
    • Have not attended a Christian church (in the last 6 months)
    • Agree that Jesus committed sins
    • Do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”
    • Have not read the Bible (in the last week)
    • Have not volunteered at church (in the last week)
    • Have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)
    • Have not attended religious small group (in the last week)
    • Bible engagement scale: low (have not read the Bible in the past week and disagree strongly or somewhat that the Bible is accurate)
    • Not Born Again
      • You can find definitions of Barna’s terms here: Barna Glossary
      • The top 100 cities that meet nine or more of these criteria (as well as the research supporting the data!) can be found here.