An analysis of attitudes, values, and beliefs of congregants and leaders of small churches toward church planting
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Church growth in America was not keeping pace with population growth. The size of the challenge was great, but the size of the average church was small. How could church planting be promoted when the majority of churches were small? The research was conducted for the purpose of analyzing what beliefs, values, and attitudes existed among congregants and leaders of small churches toward church planting to discover relationships, if any, between the beliefs, values, and attitudes of those congregants and leaders to the practice of church planting. The review of literature demonstrated a gap in the research. The literature review examined foundational research in the field and identified commonly-held beliefs, values, and attitudes toward church planting. Through a survey, the researcher gained insight into the views of congregants and pastoral leaders. Congregants and pastoral leaders from small SBC churches under 124 in attendance located in the Midwest were the focus of the study. Pastors and congregants were randomly selected. The results of the surveys were tabulated and correlated, dividing responses between pastoral leaders and congregants. Relationships, if any, were determined by comparing means. Research findings demonstrated that congregants and pastoral leaders agreed with the teachings of the Bible relating to church planting, but there was a difference between what they saw the Bible teaching and what they valued. Further comparisons revealed a significant difference between the beliefs, values, and attitudes of congregants and pastoral leaders. Church planting practice of churches had no influence on the views of congregants toward church planting, but church planting practice had significance influence on the attitudes of the pastoral leaders. The findings of the research applied to church planting. Educators could build upon the stance that congregants and pastoral leaders had toward Scripture and on their favorable attitudes toward church planting. Leaders needed greater awareness of their own inconsistencies. Visionary leadership was needed to bridge the gap toward the planting of more churches. If one wanted to see a church plant another church, it would require a change in the attitude of the leader.