Convention’s church planting gains steam
By Allen Palmeri
October 4, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – A third-quarter surge in the number of church plants has put the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) in a position where the final total for 2005 could nudge close to 50, according to Jerry Field, MBC state church planting director.
The MBC has planted 40 churches through Oct. 1.
“Through the first half of the year, we only saw 20 congregations come into existence,” Field said. “Suddenly we’ve seen another 20 in the next quarter. You can’t project where there’s going to be slow times because it varies from year to year.”
The state record number of church plants in one year is 55, set last year. With staff changes this year in the church planting department, breaking that record likely will be impossible, but Field is pleased with the work that is being done.
“It’s really very good progress, with all the transition taking place,” he said.
Field said I Corinthians 3:6 must be considered when analyzing church planting numbers. In that verse, God has recorded for our instruction that Paul planted, Apollos watered but God gave the increase. In other words, the number of church plants in any given quarter of the year is truly in God’s hands, with the seed germinating on its own timetable, he said.
“Mushrooms come quick, but some things take longer,” he said. “We’ve been doing what we feel like are the right things.”
St. Louis continues to be fertile soil.
“A good part of what’s happening now in St. Louis is on the shoulders of churches that we’ve planted in the last six years,” Field said. “Now, they’re beginning to plant churches. That’s been the dream and the hope.”
The total number of church plants in 2005 may turn out to be right around 47, which was the total number of church plants in 2003, Field said.