Planting in Unreached Avoyelles, Realistic Church Planting Expectations, and Other Things from this Week
1. Replanting on the Northshore
Last week I reported that there are 18 ongoing Re-Starts or Re-Plants going on in Louisiana. Met this week with leader of one of the latest going on in the Covington area. Derek Kitterlin is replanting Pilgrim’s Rest Baptist Church near Barker’s Corner. FBC Mandeville is providing sponsorship. A Re-Plant is one in which a church dies to become something new. Usually includes a building, but not always. New identity & organization is birthed. Systems are restored that lead to evangelism & discipleship. We’re seeing great success across Louisiana with up to 1,000% turnarounds in attendance on sites that were struggling. Attendance is already doubled at the site of the former Pilgrim’s Rest. Looking forward to seeing how this develops. Another great turnaround in the works!
2. Planting in Unreached Avoyelles
Got to meet this week with church planters in Avoyelles Parish. Avoyelles is one of Louisiana’s poorest parishes. It also had several towns that have NEVER had a SBC church. That is changing now!
- Life Point Church was planted in 2007 in Marksville. They’ve since moved to Mansura & have spawned a mini-church planting movement.
- Point-of-Life Church is being planted by Norris Landry in Plaucheville. So many great stories already coming out of this work. Bro. Norris retired to plant a church. I tell him, he flunked retirement J. Land has been purchased already. Despite some mild persecution by the local Catholic church, the work goes forward.
- Bayou Life Church is being planted by Louis Charrier in Cottonport. Louis has planted 19 churches in Louisiana. Great work going on in one of Louisiana’s largest towns without a SBC Church.
- Grace Point Church is being planted in Simmesport by Jacob Crawford. Simmesport is a key stop between Baton Rouge & Central Louisiana. It also has a ferry into the Angola State Penitentiary. Looking forward to seeing this work develop.
- James Baptist Church is being planted in Bunkie by Reginald Arvie. This is a partnership between one of Louisiana’s oldest churches, St. James Bayou Chicot, started by Joseph Willis in the early 1800’s, & one of Louisiana’s newest churches, Life Point Mansura. Great story!
3. Church Planting FAQ: How Am I Doing Really?
Most weeks I meet with church planters whose works are not meeting expectations. Their own expectation &/or that of the sponsor church(es). We’re establishing some standards for average & median attendance & giving in church plants at certain points in development in Louisiana to help planters & partners manage expectations. And Lifeway has provided a helpful study called The State of Church Planting that gives Average & Median attendance figures among other data. Here’s some of the numbers:
- Average Attendance in Church Plants in Louisiana – 49.8
- Median Attendance in Church Plants in Louisiana – 35.5
- Lifeway’s Average Attendance for Church Plants Year 1 – 51, Year 2 – 74
- Lifeway’s Median Attendance for Church Plants Year 1 – 30, Year 2 – 45
This is usually encouraging to planters who expect to be at 200 by the end of year two. Very seldom happens that way. Probably less than 5% of the time. However, it is important for works to be on a growth trajectory. I wrote two post with these conversations in mind this month:
4. A few reports from the Missions & Ministry Office this week:
- 13 new churches planted so far in 2013. 6 in New Orleans. 7 Non-Anglo. All 13 in South Louisiana. 20 in development for 2016. 137 new churches planted since 2010.
- 76 baptisms, 336 new commitments to Christ reported Jan-Mar 2016 by church plants in Louisiana.
- Since 2010 – 1,804 baptisms & 9,532 new commitments to Christ. Hopefully we’ll pass 2,000 baptisms & 10,000 new commitments to Christ this year.
- New Orleans – Since 2012 when Send New Orleans launched – 27 new churches started, 348 baptisms, 1,352 New Commitments to Christ. $972,508 in Cooperated Funding provided from Louisiana Baptists Missions & Ministry office for Church Planting in New Orleans.
5. Tangible Kingdom Primer Small Group Study
Taking our third tour through the Tangible Kingdom Primer with a Small Group on Thursday nights this Spring. TK always challenges us to develop & create opportunities for sojourners to experience the kingdom. Some of the things that have birthed out of these groups:
- Guy with mad Billiard skills committed to use them for outreach to other billiard lovers.
- Guy with poker skills committed to invite friends over once a month to play poker & talk about life & God.
- Mother with music background felt led to begin singing in the Community Choir.
- Family decided to begin monthly Block Parties for kids in their neighborhood.
- Highly recommend the TK Primer to help get groups postured outward, primer on missional living, & to open eyes to opportunities that God given gifs, abilities, provisions have provide for us.
Check out a few previous posts on the TK Primer:
- Tangible Kingdom Primer
- The Tangible Kingdom: Posturing Toward Others
- What is Community?
- Outcome Didn’t Matter, Faithfulness Did
- What Does Missional Look Like?
6. Great Moments
A Father baptizes his daughter at Bridge Church on Sunday. Love these moments. Greg Chester actually baptized three of his kids: Grace (pictured), Joshua, & Caleb. These pics never get old.
7. How Many Sacks is Your Church?
Someone proposed a new way to track the growth of Louisiana church plants: How many sacks of Crawfish does it take to feed the crowd? Bridge Church has grown from 2 to 8 sacks now! How many sacks are you?