MBC plants 20 churches so far in ’05
Calls for greater involvement by churches
By Allen Palmeri
July 12, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) has planted 20 churches the first half of the year as church planting strategists continue to identify “Missouri Hotspots” conducive to emerging flocks.
MBC Church Planting Director Jerry Field keeps a color-coded chart and map of Missouri with 16 “hotspots” of various tribes of people like “Joplin Drug Culture,” “St. Louis (inner city) Set Free” and “Springfield Filipino” that stand in need of church planters and sponsoring MBC churches.
“There are segments of population, people groups and places, that are rising to the surface and just kind of demanding our attention,” Field said. “They’ve really become points of focus for us.”
Field said more and more hotspots are materializing. A new one that has yet to make the official list is in Missouri’s southwest corner.
“We’ve discovered recently that there are 71 Laotian families that have moved into McDonald County and purchased farms,” he said. “So there’s a very significant Laotian community down there and there’s no (church) work of any kind going on. That would be a 17th hotspot.”
Bosnians in south St. Louis, Hispanics in St. Charles and both the St. Louis southwest Interstate 44 Growth Corridor as well as the St. Louis west Interstate 70 Growth Corridor are all ripe for new churches.
“We just desperately need churches who would step forward,” Field said, referring to the role of existing MBC churches in the church planting process. “We need people who would be a primary partnering church. We also need others that partner at other kinds of levels. One of them would be a part of like a clustering partner. They, as well as others, would join together, sometimes to provide manpower, sometimes some additional funding. Prayer support is another way of partnering.
“We’re working hard, but often we don’t see any fruit from the hard work we put in this year for at least next year or maybe the next.”
The MBC church planting department is in the process of filling one vacant position in Kansas City and perhaps adding a fulltime position in St. Louis, Field said.