Welcome to Generate! This year the GARBC Council of Eighteen approved the merger of Regular Baptist Church Planting and Regular Baptist Builders Club into one organization called Generate.
Generate’s mission is to fuel the ministry health and reproduction of churches and leaders in the GARBC. We are excited to embrace the opportunities God has opened for this ministry.
If we have learned anything from the events of the past two years, it’s that America’s post-Christian trajectory has never been more apparent. In fact, popular culture is not just apathetic to church, but increasingly hostile. While some believers might be tempted to shrink back, I would encourage us that there has never been a greater need or a more opportune time for the church of Jesus Christ to unite around the mission He gave us to go and make disciples.
Traditionally as an association, we’ve rallied around issues that have been important to us, and rightly so. However, in this cultural moment, it is imperative that we rally around the mission God has given the GARBC: “Making disciples through heathy local churches.” Generate exists to fuel that mission.
Like Regular Baptist Builders Club before it, Generate is the GARBC’s funding and equipping arm. Historically, we’ve provided for churches to build or improve their facilities in times of flourishing and have helped churches and communities recover in times of natural disasters. Now, in this season, God is expanding our vision to also be a catalyst for generating new churches and leaders and for helping existing churches experience renewal.
Through Generate Church Grants, we fund the planting of new churches. Across North America are “gospel deserts” that desperately need the living water found only in Jesus Christ. In these communities, where few people have the opportunity to hear the gospel, new churches—like Branch Life Church in Pottstown, Pennsylvania—are the most effective means of reaching people with the gospel.
To accelerate the church-planting process, we are helping to form and fund micro networks of four or five churches in specific regions of our nation. These networks come together to further the mission of God, to do what one church could never do alone. Each pastor in the network commits his energy, time, and resources to develop leaders, revitalize established churches, and plant new churches. We already have nine micro networks underway in Idaho, Colorado, Kansas, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Leadership development is the number one problem facing churches today. To avert a crisis, we are fueling a transition from a free agent market (to use a sports analogy) to more of a farm system by equipping churches to raise leaders from within. Leadership development is an extension of disciple making, and we are committed to helping churches engage in this pursuit.
To generate leaders, we just launched our first cohort that will equip the leaders of today to foster the leaders of tomorrow. Leadership development is not a content problem but a process problem. Building a leadership pipeline resolves this issue. We will form another cohort for “leadership pipeline training” this fall. Go to generate.church/leadership-pipeline to indicate your interest in joining our next group.
We also fund residencies through our Generate Leaders Grant, which places emerging leaders at hub churches throughout the GARBC so those people can develop the skills and character they need to flourish in a lifetime of ministry. These residencies focus on equipping new leaders to start or revitalize churches.
By fueling leadership development in GARBC churches, Generate is being used by God to spark the momentum we need to reach people, redeem broken families, and transform communities with the truth of God’s Word.
In addition to planting churches, Generate is fueling the renewal of established churches that are stagnant or declining. We are helping them reenvision the mission of reaching their communities with the good news of the gospel.
Many churches focus on running programs instead of building relationships with unbelievers. This must change. It is imperative that we get back to simple acts of providing hospitality in our homes, serving in our neighborhoods, and listening to those who live around us. Building relationships is the only way we can share our lives with people who would otherwise never darken the door of a church.
Churches also sometimes relegate disciple making to an informational download event at the church. It is urgent that churches change that approach. Disciple making should be a transformational interaction between two or three people for the purpose of life change. Generate is intent on helping churches change their approach to discipleship so they can be fully engaged in fulfilling the Great Commission.
To help churches make this change, Generate Renewal Grants enable churches to partner with experienced consultants, getting those churches back on track with the mission of God. A course called Generate Unstuck Churches is another tool that can help churches take this step. Churches can register for this course at generate.church/renewal and work at their own pace to reengage in the life-changing work of proclaiming the gospel and making disciples.
In the midst of trials like COVID-19, it’s easy to focus on what we can’t do. It’s natural to complain and long for the good old days that were interrupted so significantly. I have little interest in looking back. We will never find the next God-given opportunity in our rearview mirror. We won’t move forward by going back. We can bemoan the loss of what was, or we can use the reality of what is so the gospel can go forth in a manner that makes sense in our post-Christian culture.
God has sovereignly and lovingly provided an extended pause to our everyday routines so we could stop, reflect, and think and evaluate the best path forward. Generate is here to help you do that.
Clare Jewell is director of Generate.