Multiplying Hispanic church plants boost MBC’s total
By Allen Palmeri
April 5, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) planted 11 churches in the first quarter of the year, which is down from last year’s first-quarter production of 25 but encouraging nonetheless to MBC State Church Planting Director Jerry Field.
“We are where we are, and I feel good about the work that’s been done,” Field said. “It ultimately comes down to this is God’s work, and we’re going to do all that we know to do, from the human perspective, to do this. It’s encouraging the number of churches stepping forward saying, ‘Hey, we want to be a part of church planting.’ There are some new associations coming on board, too.”
The ministry of MBC Multicultural Church Planting Strategist Mauricio Vargas continues to bear much fruit, Field said. Vargas, who will receive the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Hispanic Church Planting Lifetime Award June 19 in Nashville, Tenn., had four church plants in the first quarter.
“We’re seeing a multiplication taking place in the Hispanic area that is frankly stronger than we have among our Anglo work,” Field said. “They don’t just start and pastor one congregation. They start multiple congregations and pastor them simultaneously. Two of the four are by pastors who already have started and are pastoring one congregation, multiplying and starting another one.”
Field said that all of his church planting specialists are working hard. His primary role is to supervise their work, but he also has determined that he must labor alongside them. Therefore, Field himself is currently attempting to facilitate the planting of eight new churches. At least three of those works may turn out to be actual church plants in the second quarter of the year, Field said, which is simply another way that he as the state church planting director can help in the quest that the MBC has undertaken toward the stated goal of 100 new church plants in 2005.
The call has gone out to MBC Executive Board members to help lead this monumental effort to plant so many new churches, and board members have been responding, Field said. One example is Michael Graves, a church administrator at South Gate Baptist Church, Springfield, who is joining with another South Gate staff person and a key layman to plant Northeast Baptist Church, Springfield. Field said he is set to preach at South Gate April 10.
“It will almost be a challenge and also a congratulations kind of thing to them for their vision and their willingness to send out the best of their best to go plant this new church,” Field said.
Another success story is taking place in Dallas County Baptist Association, where churches are coming together to plant a church in “a real strong cooperative effort” with Ken McCune, the Springfield-based MBC church planting strategist, Field said.
Field said that while last year’s output of 25 church plants in the first quarter was certainly a desired outcome that was on pace with the stated goal, it also was the product of a series of amazing events that, aside from direct intervention by our miracle-working God, is unlikely to occur on an annual basis. He added that he and his staff are being faithful to work hard.
“What is happening right now (in terms of the quarterly number) is more nearly normal,” Field said.