I am really loving being a part of a great “missions organization” here at Forest Park!? I have always considered myself a North American missionary–what us old schoolers might have called “Home Mission Board Missionaries (slide projector anyone??).”? I am amazed at the extreme amount of churches that Southern Baptists plant here in the states.? These are some older stats (about 5 years old) but they are amazing!? We as Southern Baptists plant about 25 churches per week!? Amazing!? As many as all other Evangelical denominations combined!? Pretty stinking awesome . . . but let’s not get a big head too quickly!? There are actually over 80 churches per week that close their doors for good!? Not good at all!? As John Mark Clifton said on a video for the Church at Finley Crossings, “we are losing the race to plant churches in North America.”? That calling and passion for planting churches has driven me for almost a decade and still continues to this day!
However, the weariness of planting a church began to settle in and I began to pray, “God, there has got to be a better way to plant churches and reach the unchurched.” I truly believe that this “new” concept of multisite is A better way to start new churches and reach the unchurched.? I say, “new” in quotes because it is really not new at all–just new here in the states.? Dr. David Cho actually began this concept of multiple campuses in Korea.? This led to an explosion of expontial growth in his Full Gospel congregation.? As of 2007, they are the world’s largest congregation with well over 800,000 members.? I say “A”? better way because I don’t believe that “traditional” church planting is NOT by ANY MEANS dead or not effective AT ALL.? Traditional church plants need to be intentionally planted all around the world! The problem that I, and many others, experienced first hand is the lack of critical mass and support to sustain the first 3 or 4 years.? Just thinking out loud here . . . but we might think about supporting church plants AFTER launch when the core team has come down from their initial giddiness when they were drunk on vision and couldn’t fail!? However, it’s not all about money either–Ed Stetzer’s research has confirmed that. . . but that is for another post all together!
What is great about this era of church growth and church planting is that we can have our cake and eat it too!? We can plant traditional churches and launch multisite campuses all under the same umbrella of Southern Baptists who care more about lost people than our personal preferences!? One of the best things about being a Southern Baptist is this amazing thing called Cooperation!? We have the Cooperative Program that helps fund Kingdom work all around the world.? We are truly better together!? Here in Missouri, we have a way to support the work of church planters through the Missouri Missions Offering. Go here and check out how you can continue to support the the work of God in Missouri.? As a former “receiver” of support from this offering, it is definately appreciated.