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Seasons 1 through 4 of the podcast StartUp featured the highs, lows, and in-betweens of beginning a new startup company. However, Season 5 puts a new twist on the format. This season follows a startup church—a new church plant.

Restoration Church is part of the Acts 29 Network, a group of church plants around the world. Reporter Eric Mennel gets to know pastors Watson Jones and A.J. Smith as they get things underway, with a vision for reaching people who would not otherwise come to church.

The idea is to compare the similarities and differences between starting a church and starting a business, complete with marketing, goals, and a business plan. In some ways church plants operate like a Silicon Valley startup. A new church has a target demographic, and it has to build a demand for the “product.” That may seem like a rather crude way to look at church planting

Mennel examines some of the issues an ancient faith faces in an ever-changing culture and the way that church plants are more or less effective in facing those issues. He also finds himself contemplating his own faith life, considering why, as a lifelong evangelical, he stopped going to church a year before.

These five episodes make for a fascinating look at aspects and difficulties of evangelism that lifelong church members can’t always see from their insider’s perspective. One upcoming extra episode, which will feature a female church planter, will air in another week. (Gimlet Media)

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