By Clare Jewell
I am highly motivated by the enthusiastic response to planting Regular Baptist churches. The GARBC Annual Conference provided a great opportunity to meet with groups and individual church leaders who demonstrated a keen interest in the possibility of multiplying congregations across our fellowship.
I walked into a standing room only breakfast meeting with regional association leaders and mission agency leaders who asked great questions about how we could partner together to start churches that reach people with the gospel. Nodding heads indicated a clear understanding that the GARBC is committed to coming alongside churches and agencies to increase both the quality and quantity of new churches.
Later the same day, a sold-out lunch with Regular Baptist Builders Club added to the excitement. It was great to talk with people who give generously to support church planting and are excited about doing even more. I pray that several new donors will join the team and further the cause of reaching the lost here in North America.
Right after lunch I joined Ken Davis in leading a church planting module with nearly 60 church leaders in attendance. Ken did a great job of explaining the nuts and bolts, and then we shared the many benefits a local church experiences when it decides to birth a new congregation.
The day was capped off with the best pizza in Chicago, as a group of nearly 30 pastors and wives gathered at Giordano’s. I was pleased with the response and grateful for the opportunity to share the passion of the GARBC to help ignite a church planting movement.
I left Chicago convinced of two things. First, there is a positive awareness of our need to grow our association by planting new churches committed to reaching lost people. Second, it is imperative that we build on this momentum by clearly defining and communicating our next steps.
With that in mind, here’s what you can expect:
- We will launch a nationwide prayer initiative this fall. I will ask every pastor and church to pray for God to move in a way that exceeds our capacity and expectations.
- At the conclusion of the prayer initiative, individuals and churches will be asked to participate in a year-end gift to help fund five church plants in 2017. Some of these funds will be used to pay for an internship program to raise up future church planters.
- The Regular Baptist Church Planting website, www.rbChurchPlanting.org, is operational. It includes access to an assessment that will help identify future church planters.
- By the end of this year, we will clarify and communicate a new funding structure for Regular Baptist Church Planting through Regular Baptist Builders Club. This structure will allow us to help start more churches with less money while developing the leaders we need to multiply new churches.
- We need your help! From now through November 2016, I am looking for five churches that are willing to be the primary parent church for one of our new churches in 2017. Along with these five, I am looking for at least 10 churches willing to partner or contribute in some way to this first wave of church plants. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
- Finally, I am praying for at least 10 pastoral leaders we can assess by the end of November 2016 to become lead church planters. Again, let me know if you are interested or if you know someone who may be gifted for this type of ministry. You can reach me at email@example.com, or you can start the assessment process at www.rbChurchPlanting.org.
Clare Jewell is the national church planting coordinator for Regular Baptist Churches. He also serves the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism as the regional director in the western region of North America.