Sunday, July 01, 2007

Layman's Guide to Church Planting

Dr. Stan Reeves is many things. He is the husband and father of a growing family. He is the webmaster of Founders.org. He enabled me to get this blog up and running. He teaches engineering at Auburn University. He also serves as an elder at Grace Heritage Church in Auburn, a church that he helped plant, in Auburn.

For the last few years Stan has been thinking about the need to encourage others to become involved in church planting. As one who is not called to vocational pastoral ministry, he brings a very helpful perspective to that issue. Often, faithful men who are not pastors let themselves believe--wrongly--that since they are "only laymen" they cannot facilitate a church planting effort. Stan has written a very helpful article to demonstrate that this simply is not true.

Reformed Baptist Fellowship is running this article as a 7-part series. It is worth reading and spreading to others. Part one is already online.

9 comments:

Stephen Morse said...

Tom; we have been working here in Chattanooga TN for almost a year planting a Founders Friendly SBC church and the man with the original vision for it owns a house painting company. We regularly have 55-60 people meeting in his basement with new families visiting us every Sunday and we are (Lord willing) signing a lease for our first meeting place on Monday afternoon.

We have been blessed with a number of 'lay' men who are passionately working to throw the Word of Christ on the soil of our community. I firmly believe that Christ is the Head of His church and He is working to grow it through the establishment of Word-centered, servant-hearted, Son-focused, Father-honoring, Spirit-empowered covenant congregations.

I am looking forward to seeing how we can work with the Founder's ministry to establish many more of these bodies.

visit us at www.christchurchofchattanooga.com

GUNNY said...

Our Founder-Friendly church plant (Providence Church in Garland, TX) is celebrating its one-year anniversary this month. Praise be to God.

We're in the process of planting a church in Madison, WI. It's in the early stages, but we've got a planter and there are some other potentially willing to move up there. We're hoping to drop our paratroopers in there sometime next summer.

I said all that to say, this ... you're prayers are all appreciated and these thoughts of Stan Reeves are helpful.

For example, "Third, a man who is willing, able, and active in sharing the gospel will be a far more effective tool in a church plant than one who is not. Evangelism is a key to healthy church planting. A new church should not be thinking primarily in terms of drawing people from other churches but drawing people from the world into the church."

I too am excited about the Founders' efforts in church planting.

Gig 'em from the Lone Star State,
Gunny

Sterling VanDerwerker said...

We've been through the same thing here in Greensboro. With only PCA, OPC reformed believers in the area, we had absolutely no Baptist church in the area that was clearly interested in reformation proclimation of the Doctrines of Grace. After leaving a local SBC congregation that went seeker, market driven, we spent 12 weeks *enjoying* :-( the local baptistic churches. When my dear wife of 20 years, who was raised in an Christian home and never missed a church meeting unless ill, said to me "do we have to go to church today?" I knew that I had to do something.

About a month earlier I had stumbled across a sovereign grace local startup church meeting in a home. Since I was considered physically mature (50 years old) I was in the habit of the extent of my sabbatarian practice of a Sunday afternoon nap which overlapped their meeting time. The next weekend I sacrificed the sleep and went to visit the small congregation. To my surprize they had just ended their meeting together as the pastor (who had been ordained in a local independent Baptist church) was so overworked that he neglected his family. He was convicted of that obvious sin and attempted to merge with another like minded church without success. I contacted the church via email prior to my visit and received a response while I made the trip to their meeting place. We arranged to meet and discovered like minded theology and practice, and over a two month period of each bemoaning the current state of the church, arranged to meet in our home for a monthly preaching and teaching home Bible study. Immediately following the first meeting the families called for meeting every other week, and following the second meeting each family comitted to meeting weekly. We met in the home for about two months, moved to a large apartment over a horse barn (really modern horse barn so you dont think we suffered more than we did) and then to a conference room in a local hotel. We've grown in number and now meet in a larger conference room and have an average of 50 people regularly attending and about twenty five received members.

The biggest challenge that we have is finding oversight. Plain and simple, the assistance we've requested from a fine local Reformed Baptist congregation, the RBList and several other baptistic reformation minded organizations has been disappointing. We requested oversight and NO funding at all, and still are not interested in funding support but our requests for oversight have fallen on deaf or unwilling ears. We've kind of given up on finding a congregation to pray for us, help with guidance in situations and perhaps another face for our congregation to hear preach. I'm not whining or chiding, but the Founders group could be a great source of help for us. Has there been any discussion concerning the Founders helping people like us and young pastors who are like minded?

We've also recently had conversations with a young SBC pastor who is a reformed thinker who is struggling with a small SBC congregation that is aging and within the context of the seeker models that overwhelm those small congregations, he is having difficulties maintaining his church body while working through the changes the Scriptures bring when preached with doctrinal correctness and clarity. This is another situation that would benefit from a group of regional *plant* minded founders churches.

I'm going to suggest that pastor Dustin S. Segers expand on this comment via our church blog, which he maintains (quite well I must say!).
www.graceinthetriad.blogspot.com.

We would love to hear from any of you who may be willing to help pray, exhort, train and therefore support us (remember, not financially).

Thanks for the subject and for your recognition of the body planting Sovereign Grace Baptist Churches*!

Sterling VanDerwerker
Shepherd's Fellowship of Greensboro
Sovereign Grace Baptist Church

*by the way, we are cessationists

MarieP said...

Just wanted to leave a comment that we just received the latest Founders Journal at the SBTS library, and I found your article on the Ten Commandments (yes ten, not nine) most refreshing. Thank you!

Tom said...

Stephen, Gunny and Sterling:

Thanks for letting others know of what your churches are doing. There is more going on in church planting than I think any of us really knows about. I learned today of a church plant in south Florida that is doing very well, and they started without much encouragement from any other church.

We need to provide a network of communication and fellowship for these types of efforts. Please pray that the Lord will lead us to do just that.

Marie:

Thanks!

GUNNY said...

Amen, I've been a big fan of Founders Ministries since I learned of them in '97. I've enjoyed materials, friends, conferences, publications, and our Lone Star Founders Fraternal.

However, I can really see generations looking back on Founders energy in church planting efforts potentially eclipsing every thing else.

I'm so excited and encouraged to hear of these new church starts and by the prospect of more on the horizon.

Chris Jordan said...

I am encouraged by the Founders blog in general and this post specifically. I am part of a new church that started Jan '07. I never dreamed that I would be a part of starting a new church, but by God’s sovereign hand, here I stand, I can do no other.

At Christ Church of Metro Atlanta (located in Duluth, GA), the worship attendance has been steady and God has blessed us along the way with meeting space and finances. We are still getting establishing and plan on accepting official membership soon.

One thing we strongly believe in is the importance of purity in the church and membership accountability. We love Christ and His sheep too much to turn a blind eye and let someone slip away into their sin and say its ok.

It is nice to know there are many churches that hold the same convictions of establishing Christ Exalting, Biblically Faithful, Doctrinally Accurate, Authentically Worshipful, Disciple making, and Church reproducing congregations.

If there are others of you in Georgia, please let me know.

Our website is www.christchurchma.com

Chris Jordan

Stan said...

I thought I'd let everyone know that I've just posted Part 2: Show Respect to Spiritual Leadership. Feedback is appreciated!

Stan said...

In case anyone is still even reading this thread, I've just posted . Feedback is appreciated!