The research on church planting is often not very encouraging to those of us serving in established churches. For a good primer on the absolute importance of church planting, I would recommend Why Plant Churches by Tim Keller, published in 2002.
The fact we all must reckon with is that church planting is a crucial strategy. “Nothing else – not Crusades, outreach programs, para-church ministries, growing mega-churches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes – will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting.” (Keller, 2002.) Many of us would like to believe that we should spend our effort revitalizing established churches rather than planting new ones. After all, they have plenty of seats, already have buildings, and it would put more Christians together with each other in unity.