New church in Hollister to focus on unchurched
By Lee Warren
February 22, 2005
HOLLISTER – When Pastor Dennis Webb opens the doors at New Beginnings Fellowship Church for the first time this month, he is prepared for a capacity crowd of 225 people. The 20 people who make up the core group of the church plant from Ozark Mountain Community Church in Blue Eye are inviting all the unchurched people that they know.
“Many of the core group members have been here (Hollister) 10, 15, 20 years,” Webb said. “We know a lot of people. We’re encouraging anybody we know—even if they go to another church close by—that if they have friends who are lost or unchurched in the Hollister area, to come and go to church with us and call their friends and encourage them to come. If they will come over here, those unchurched lost people will also come.”
Webb doesn’t intend to build the church with transfer growth. He just wants Christians from around the area to show up with friends on the day the church opens.
“We are working hard on the visuals, the audio, and the greeters to make as good an impression as we can,” Webb said. “We believe that half of those unchurched and lost visitors from that first day will come back.”
He believes they will come back because they will feel loved by the core group, ranging in age from 22 to 75.
“We asked God to give us a real burden for people in an area,” Webb said. “I think that’s when He began to reveal to us the lost and unchurched people here. Because of that, our hearts were set on fire for those people before we even leased a building.”
Webb believes that God is confirming the plant in Hollister already because so many unchurched people in the area are receptive to the church.
“We have a prospect list of people we’ve talked to who say, ‘Yes, I need to go to church. I want to go to church. I’m not going to church and since you’re coming to town, call me.’”
Ken McCune, Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) church planting specialist, sees this plant as a natural spiritual progression for Ozark Mountain Community Church.
“It is natural for a new church to have a desire to reproduce when they come of age,” McCune said. “They are a New Testament Antioch type of church that is blessed and is a blessing because of their faithfulness to send of their best for kingdom work.”
As part of their kingdom work, Webb plans to emphasize men’s and women’s ministries at New Beginnings Fellowship with the intention of reaching entire families. He also plans to offer contemporary praise and worship services to attract unchurched families.
According to McCune, New Beginnings Fellowship is part of Second Generation and Beyond—a partnership between the North American Mission Board and the Springfield Region of church planting in Missouri. The purpose of the partnership is to assist young churches in setting aside a small percentage of their offerings in anticipation of planting a new church within a few years.
Webb is currently working to transform a warehouse in the Industrial Park area of town into the building that New Beginnings will call home. He hopes to open the doors for the first time by the end of February. (Lee Warren’s singles devotional book, Single Servings, will be available in May from Fleming H. Revell, a division of Baker Book House.)