MBC focuses on multi-housing outreach
April 1 conference
set for Ridgecrest
By Barbara Shoun
March 7, 2006
JEFFERSON CITY – The unchurched 97 percent of Missourians who live in multi-housing communities will be the focus of a Multi-housing Church Planting Conference to be held April 1 in Springfield.
The conference theme is “Get Hooked on Multi-housing” and will feature Neal Hughes, multi-housing national missionary with the North American Mission Board (NAMB). Greene County Baptist Association is sponsoring the event which will be held at Ridgecrest Baptist Church from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Vivian McCaughan, who has served as a multi-housing specialist with the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) since 1988, defines multi-housing venues as communities, noting that a sense of community is what people are looking for.
The five housing arrangements that are encompassed in the multi-housing definition include apartment communities, mobile home communities, public housing communities, condo/townhouse communities, and senior adult independent living communities.
Some states look at multi-housing ministry from the social aspect. In Missouri life, multi-housing communities come under the umbrella of church planting with the ultimate goal of starting a new church.
McCaughan said people who live in multi-housing communities are not coming out to traditional church settings.
“Most of them have disconnected or never been connected – not just to evangelical church life but to Christianity,” she said.
McCaughan said she has been told that only two to four percent of residents of those multi-housing venues come out to evangelical churches, but she has never found more than three percent in Missouri.
While about 40 percent of the state’s multi-housing population is in the greater St. Louis area, every MBC association and church has it as their challenge. “Larger cities have the larger concentration; but, if we look, we’ll find we have a large mission field right on our door step,” McCaughan said.
That challenge, therefore, is not to go door-to-door, inviting people to church. The challenge is to begin by building relationships. This might be done through block parties, visiting with the neighbors, or involvement in other community events.
“We have to earn the right to share Jesus Christ,” she said.
From there, the church must earn the right to bring converts into Bible study and from there to worship celebration. Eventually, the progression could lead to the establishmen