MBC church planting efforts right on schedule for 2004
By Allen Palmeri
April 13, 2004
JEFFERSON CITY – The church planting department of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) is on pace to meet its goal of planting 100 new churches this year, with 25 new starts through the first quarter.
“We’re out of the blocks fast and we’re on course," said Jerry Field, MBC director of church planting. “If we do it, it will be by the grace and will of God."
The goal is to plant a total of 50 churches by June 30. Achieving that number at the midpoint of 2004 would break the previous state record for one year. In 2003, there were 47 new starts.
Field said the MBC church planting staff is constantly aware that they are attempting to accomplish something that is much larger than them. He said they must always operate in a state of preparedness, keeping them in what he called a “scouting mode." Numerical goals and geographical determinations are subordinate to identifying people groups that no one else is reaching, Field said.
Field has studied the last great church planting movement in Missouri so that principles can be applied to 2004. From 1830-1900, the number of Missouri Baptist churches grew from 150 to 1,850. Laymen, not pastors or associational leaders, led that effort.
Developing lay leaders in the convention’s church planting strategy is “a major area of focus for us," Field said.
At the State Director of Missions Retreat April 2 in Branson, Field presented certificates of appreciation to the 31 associations who were engaged in church planting last year. A growing commitment by directors of missions to church planting coupled with an ongoing, increased emphasis on it from the highest levels of MBC leadership is paying dividends, Field said.
Now the challenge is to work with all of the church planters who continue to be raised up. Church planting staffers must think in terms of building two or three tiers of church planting influence.
“It forces us to multiply ourselves," Field said.