MBC church planting sets new record in ’04
By Allen Palmeri
October 26, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – With one quarter to go, the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) already has set a record for church plants in one year with 53, breaking the old mark of 47 set last year.
Jerry Field, MBC state church planting director, said he expects 8-10 new starts by the end of the year to add to the record total. That would be short of the stated goal of 100 church plants in 2004, but Field said that by setting such a standard, positive growth has occurred. The goal for 2005 will remain 100; reaching that number is now coming into view, Field said.
“Certainly with God, all things are possible, and I think that there’s a real possibility we’re going to get there,” Field said. “I would hope we would get there next year. We’re in the process of redesigning and developing, in a sense, a machine that’s capable of that kind of production. You can’t snap your fingers and have that machine up and going. You have to build, tweak and adjust.”
The emergence of regional church planting centers in St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield, as well as a multicultural church planting center, in 2004 has contributed to the MBC setting a record, Field said. The work of God, climate development in “heating up” the atmosphere for church plants and aggressive recruitment efforts are all proving to be the right recipe for an increased number of church plants.
Keeping church planting within the central focus of the MBC, which has been the work of MBC Executive Director David Clippard and his associate directors, has been invaluable, Field said. This has enabled Field and his staff to direct more resources to recruiting.
“We’ve got to find 100 new pastors a year,” Field said. “That challenge alone is incredible. We’ve divided up the seminary campuses and each one of us is making trips to the seminaries once a semester, essentially to do the work of recruitment.”
As they travel to these seminaries, the MBC church planting staffers utilize a new recruitment video for church planters. Another new video, to be released at the annual meeting, is designed to recruit sponsoring churches and associations “to continue to help with climate building,” Field said. Recruiting at college and university campuses in Missouri will be a part of the long-term strategy.
A recruiting center, or room, has been set up at First Baptist Church, Raytown, so that MBC staffers can talk with church planting candidates at the annual meeting.
“We’re going to be actively and aggressively recruiting sponsoring churches and church planters at the convention this year,” Field said. “We’re going to be looking for people who will sit down with us and very seriously discuss committing to sponsoring a new church, to lead their association to plant new churches and to see if God is calling them as individuals to become church planters.
“By 2005, we’re going to begin to see some results of becoming much more aggressively involved in recruiting.”