MBC sets record in 2005 with 61 church plants
By Allen Palmeri
December 27, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) planted a record 61 new churches in 2005, breaking the old record of 55 set in 2004.
It marks the third consecutive year that a record has been set. In 2003, the MBC planted 47 churches.
MBC State Church Planting Director Jerry Field is excited about the effort that he continues to see his church planting strategists put forth, but he wanted to make sure to credit the proper source for another banner year.
“First and foremost, if new churches do get started and succeed, it’s because of God,” Field said. “The growing number is evidence of more churches and associations realizing that we really do need to get involved in starting new churches.”
Field has said that the key to the MBC planting more churches is to identify, equip and partner with more “strong sponsoring churches” who will mother the new church plants. There were 20 such churches in 2004 and 31 in 2005 – an increase of more than 50 percent. Field was also encouraged that the new congregations were planted in 28 associations.
The church planting department has been assigned a goal of 100 new church starts every year. Field said he can envision a day where that goal will be met.
“Given a little bit more time, it looks like we’ll get there,” he said.
With three church planting strategists in the St. Louis area, the MBC is emphasizing a geographical area that demonstrated good productivity in 2005. Transitions will need to be made in 2006 so that more attention can be paid to Kansas City, Field said.
While the number of churches being planted is up, the number of churches closing their doors is also on the rise. There were 23 churches in that category in 2005, compared to 21 disbanded churches in 2004 and 13 in 2003.
Most of the churches that shut down in 2005 did not come out of the pool of church starts the last couple of years, Field said.