Category Archives: Church Planting
Jesus wants you to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-20). Do you have one hour to get equipped to make disciples? Here is an outline with handy, short videos that can get you ready for a disciple making mission. All you need is a few blank sheets of paper.
Why do we make disciples? Link (2:04)
Who can I reach? Link (4:09)
What do I say?
When am I going to do it? Link (4:05)
A lot more great videos to equip you to start a movement at the site: Link
Catching up on some reading this week. You know why. Lol! Reading about another Viral Outbreak that came to us from Asia. Ying and Grace Kai’s Training for Trainers: The Movement that Changed the World. There are several books about T4T, but this is actually Ying’s side of the story. Very instructive to get the heart of the author and orchestrator of a movement that in 10 years, led to 1.7 million baptisms! (and that’s just the ones they know about). This movement has spun off many other expressions of the same kind of principles and practices that Ying Kai began with a group of 30 farmers in 2000. The beauty and the secret of T4T is simplicity. Simplicity leads to reproducibility. Simplicity and reproducibility are key ingredients in viral movements. Considering a reset in your ministry, this book will get you thinking!
The simple step-by-step process:
- Develop a list of unsaved people in your network of relationships.
- Teach your group how to tell their story, repeatedly practicing to become fluent in sharing their story.
- Teach the story of Jesus, repeatedly practicing to become fluent in teaching the story of Jesus.
- Have them commit to share their story and the story of Jesus with five people each week.
- Don’t encourage the growth of one small group, but train everyone to become trainers of their own small group.
- Never give up on anyone.
T4T type disciple making should be the commitment of every Christian, but leaders in this movement concede that only about 20% of people that are trained will follow-up with obedience and action. This is only for doers of the word. But how much time and energy do we spend trying to keep and attract those who only hear. T4T helps you develop a vision for discipling those who have the capacity and heart to disciple others.
Here are just a few of the quotes that jumped out at me:
- We are always inviting people to come to our church…. But Jesus said we are to go and find lost persons.
- It is not until one can train others that they can grow into a true disciple.
- Share the gospel with at least five people each week.
- I may say that I am a Christian, but if it is only knowledge of the truth and I have never really worked in the kingdom of God, then I am just a nominal Christian and not a true kingdom citizen.
- It is our duty to sow seeds broadly and we should not limit where and when we sow.
- God sees our heart to serve and not how talented we are.
- Too much discussion leads to no action.
- Keep things simple so that anyone is able to do it and everyone is willing to do it. Once things begin to get complicated, people start to put it off and not do it.
- We should not encourage them to bring others into our small group. We are training them to become a trainer. They must start and train their own small groups.
- So long as Christian perceive of discipleship as knowledge or simply doctrine, they fall short of the life-changing, world-changing power of true discipleship.
- In every community with whom we share the gospel, there will be men and women who are already under the Holy Spirit’s conviction.
- The Great Commission instructs that we are to go, not invite them to come to us; that everyone is to be engaged in attempting to reach everyone, everywhere; and we are to make disciples, not just church members or converts.
- Whatever is taught, it should not be a knowledge dump, but training simple enough so that the new believer can grasp and replicate what has been taught.
- The real test of success is the trainee taking what he has learned, and training a fellow believer…
- The relationship with God will lead to an international outflow of gospeling and discipling.
A little update from my day job….
Louisiana Baptists Church Planting Advisory Council Meeting was held yesterday. The Council heard reports on New Churches across Louisiana, Church Planting Training, Compassion Ministry, and State Missions Offering allocations for Church Planting. Here’s a synopsis:
- 86% to our goal of 300 new churches from 2010 to 2020.
- 33 projected church plants for 2020. Two churches started in January. Six new churches in process for February.
- 57% of new churches started since 2010 have been non-anglo. 82 African-American, 35 Hispanic, 12 Asian, 18 Other.
- In the pipeline for 2020 – 8 new Hispanic churches, 2 Portugese, 2 Asian (Burmese and Cambodian).
- 64 churches started in North Louisiana (25%);193 in South Louisiana (75%), including 70 new churches in New Orleans or 27%.
- 3,749 Baptisms in church plants and replants since 2010 – 14.5 per church plant. (includes first 3 years of ministry)
- 13,977 Commitments to Christ reported by new churches since 2010 – 54 per church plant. (includes first 3 years of ministry)
- Because of the generous giving of Louisiana Baptist Churches to the Georgia Barnette State Mission Offeringin 2019, we were able to increase supplements to church plants and replants by over $10,000 per plant and give each current church plant in Louisiana a bonus at the end of 2019.
Pray for Louisiana Church Planters who are on the front lines of reaching people and meeting needs in our state.
Lake Charles is projected to be one of the fastest growing communities in Louisiana for years to come. Oil and gas and chemical manufacturing are booming and have only slowed down slightly with drops in oil prices. Carey Baptist Association and Director of Missions Bruce Baker serve this area, representing Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis Parishes. Planters and partners are needed to reach a growing population and a key area for our state for years to come. Check out some data on this area:
- Population of Carey Baptist Association: 241,662 (up 3% since 2010). Calcasieu, Jefferson Davis, and Cameron Parishes.
- Worship Attendance in 72 SBC churches: 9,128 Only 3.8% of the population worshipped in a SBC church on any given weekend in 2018.
- Bible Study Attendance: 5,227 (down 20% since 2010). Only 2.2% of the population attended Bible Study in an SBC church on any given weekend in 2018.
- 72 SBC churches for a church to population ration of 1 to 3,356 residents. Our state average & our goal for each association is 1 to 2,850. NAMB suggests 1 to 2,000 as a good mark. 12 new churches would be needed to get to 1 to 2,850 in the Lake Charles area.
- 57 SBC churches in Calcasieu Parish for 1 to 3,563. 10 churches in Jefferson Davis Parish for 1 to 3,158.
- Only 10 non-Anglo SBC churches for 1 to 6,714 church to non-anglo population.
- Evangelical Population: 59,161 or 24% of the population.
- Those with No Religious Affiliation or None’s: 65,878 or 27% of the population. So there are now more None’s than Evangelicals.
- Roman Catholic Population: 83,950 or 35% of the population.
- Mainline Protestant: 11,157 or 5% of the population.
- 7,302 students currently attend McNeese St. University.
- 63% of Carey Association churches are under 100 in attendance. 38% under 50 in attendance.
- 28% of Carey Association churches with zero baptisms in 2018.
- Projected Job Growth is 2.5% in 2020 and 3.1% in 2021.
Pray for planters and partners.
Louisiana has 304 Census Designated Areas, noted as cities, towns, and villages by the Census Bureau. A few years ago, out of curiosity, I did a little digging into how many of these might not have a Southern Baptist Church. I knew of a few, but didn’t expect that number to total almost 100! Now, if you’ve ever looked at this list, you won’t recognize many of these places unless you are from there. A few even have a population of less than 10! The Missions and Ministry Team has sought to keep this list updated and add it to the numerous things that play into good church planting strategy and missiology for Louisiana.
Not all of these places necessarily need a new church. Some of these towns have active churches near them. It’s not the objective of the Louisiana Baptist Mission and Ministry Team to start churches, just to say we did. If it’s a strategic need and if God calls his people to go; we will assist in starting a church in these geographic locations.
Not all of these places are without evangelical witnesses. We are not saying that all of these places are without the witness of an evangelical congregation. We celebrate the work of evangelical partners who are seeking to reach our state and we’re happy when we find that a community has an active witness of the Gospel in its midst. When we find that little to no active gospel witness is present, the priority rises.
Not all the places in Louisiana that have a church are saturated with the Gospel. A more shocking statistic than the number of communities without a Southern Baptist Church is the low percentage of people that attend the Southern Baptist Churches that are already in existence. Most parishes across Louisiana, have less than 10% of the population attending SBC churches on any given weekend. Many areas, even across the south, have too few churches to reach even 30% of its population with the gospel.
Louisiana’s need for new churches in no way compares with the need in other parts of North America. The fact that Louisiana has towns with no SBC churches has challenged me to remember pioneer areas across North America and the world with zero access to a gospel advancing community of believers. As a missionary friend says, “As you go to the church of your choice this weekend, remember those with no church to choose.” Let the reality of Louisiana’s need, remind us of the unfinished task before us in carrying out Christ’s Great Commission.
How can we respond to places with no church?
- Pray! Pray for laborers (Luke 10:2). Pray for open doors (1 Corinthians 16:9).
- Take a vision tour. In 2020, our team will be conducting one day Vision Tours and Windshield Surveys in many of these towns with no SBC Church. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know if you’d like to help with these tours.
- Adopt a town to pray for and plan to reach out through a day of prayer walking or other outreach event. Let us know if you’d be interested in reaching out in a city or town without a church.
Where are these towns? Here’s a list of the top 50, listed by CDA / Town / City or Village, Parish, Association, and Population. Check out our Engage Map for and interactive look at locations of Louisiana Baptist churches, church plants, and target locations for new churches – https://www.engagemap.org/louisianabaptists/EngageMap.
- Terrytown – Jefferson – NOBA – 24,216
- Bayou Cane – Terrebonne – Bayou – 21,173
- Estelle – Jefferson – NOBA – 16,791
- Gardere – East Baton Rouge – BAGBR – 11,229
- Woodmere – Jefferson – NOBA – 11,114
- Timberlane – Jefferson – NOBA – 10,655
- South Fort Polk – Vernon – Vernon – 9,293
- Oak Hills – East Baton Rouge – BAGBR – 8,980
- Old Jefferson – East Baton Rouge – BAGBR – 8,283
- Galliano – Lafourche – Bayou – 7,650
- Eden Isle St. Tammany NSBA 7,631
- St. Gabriel Iberville BAGBR 7,094
- Meraux St. Bernard NOBA 7,073
- Village St. George East Baton Rouge BAGBR 6,802
- Inniswold East Baton Rouge BAGBR 6,772
- Vacherie St. James BAGBR 5,689
- Chackbay Lafourche Bayou 5,647
- Grambling Lincoln Concord Union 5,184
- Elmwood Jefferson NOBA 5,037
- Eastwood Bossier NWLA 4,547
- Richwood Oauchita NELA 3,378
- Buras-Triumph Plaquemines NOBA 3,358
- Lutcher St. James BAGBR 3,345
- Brusly West Baton Rouge BAGBR 2,721
- Chauvin Terrebonne Bayou 2,682
- Abita Springs St. Tammany Northshore 2,584
- Bayou Gauche St. Charles NOBA 2,557
- North Fort Polk Vernon Vernon 2,432
- Edgard St. John the Baptist NOBA 2,315
- Rosepine Vernon Vernon 2,235
- Garyville St. John the Baptist NOBA 2,225
- Boothville-Venice Plaquemines NOBA 2,220
- Montz St. Charles NOBA 2,140
- Labadieville Assumption Bayou 2,092
- Henderson St. Martin Evangeline 1,885
- Belle Rose Assumption Bayou 1,837
- Paradis St. Charles NOBA 1,616
- Ama St. Charles NOBA 1,361
- New Sarpy St. Charles NOBA 1,203
- Cullen Webster Webster-Claiborne 1,133
- Paincourtville Assumption Bayou 1,070
- Empire Plaquemines NOBA 1,054
- Leonville St. Landry Acadia 1,042
- Rosedale village Iberville BAGBR 983
- Grand Coteau St. Landry Acadia 964
- Supreme Assumption Bayou 859
- Parks village St. Martin Evangeline 831
- Mermentau village Acadia Acadia 815
- Killona St. Charles NOBA 815
- Convent St. James BAGBR 711
Louisiana Baptists have planted 22 Churches so far in 2018.
- 6 in North Louisiana, 16 in South Louisiana
- 6 in New Orleans
- 13 non-Anglo. 8 African-American, 3 Hispanic, 1 Asian, 1 Multi-Ethnic
- 234 Churches Planted
- 56 in north Louisiana, 178 in south Louisiana
- 61 in New Orleans
- 128 non-Anglo. 70 African-American, 31 Hispanic, 10 Asian, 17 Other
Our goals have been to plant 300 churches by 2020; to plant more in south Louisiana where 70% of the population lives; at least 20% of plants in New Orleans where 20% of our population lives; and to plant more non-Anglo churches, increasing the diversity in Louisiana Baptist life.
- Since 2010, Church Plants have reported 13,208 Professions of Faith and 3,536 Baptisms. Church Planting continues to be one of the best ways to evangelize communities.
- Since 2010, churches have been planted in 100 of Louisiana’s 304 cities and towns and 41 of Louisiana’s 64 Parishes.
- Now, RePlanting is ramping up, with 25% of last years new works being replants and 40% this year.
66 churches away from our 2020 goal of 300. With each new church comes new brothers and sisters in Christ, new fronts on meeting real needs in communities, and more glory for our great God as the gospel bears its fruit across Louisiana.
You can be a part:
I’ve heard this one for years when church planting comes up among pastors. A couple of responses:
1. Who said we’re trying to plant small churches? That’s never the goal. The goal is to reach people for Christ. Church Planting is one of the means. God, the context, the partners, and a lot of other things often determines the size of the church. If you don’t want to see another small church, get involved and help us plant a big one!
2. This may say more about your vision and belief in God’s ability than the local church planting strategy. In every apple is an orchard. In every believer is a potential to reach more. In every group of believers, no matter how small is the potential for a movement. Let’s believe God for bigger things.
3. “We don’t need another small church…” Unless your lost and on your way to hell. Then you need a small church, medium size church, mega church, or whatever kind of church to come and get you and share the good news of God’s grace and salvation! Let’s not forget that this is about heaven and hell, not our own ego or discomfort.
4. And remember, God has no small churches and no big pastors. God doesn’t show favoritism (James 2:9). God doesn’t see as man sees (1 Samuel 16:7). The kingdom is upside down – to be great, be a servant; to be first, go last; to live, you’ve got to die. Can’t you imagine with me that the God that governs an upside down kingdom values and cheers on the small church as much as the big church?
Church Planting is a great means of evangelizing and discipling a community. Until every person is reached, let’s strive to do everything possible to reach them. Including planting small churches, big churches, and all kinds of other churches to see the kingdom come as earth as it is in heaven. And today, every church can get involved in church planting, church replanting, multi-site development. Pick your pleasure and lets reach people for Christ.
This month, Louisiana Baptists will mark new churches number 228 and 229, since 2010. The goal is 300 by 2020. We’ve passed the milestones of 10,000 new commitments to Christ, and celebrated 150 and 200 churches planted. Another interesting stat to watch for me has been the breadth of church planting in Louisiana. With the next two plants, we’ll mark the 100th city or town to have a new church planted in it since 2010. And keep in mind, Louisiana only has 304 incorporated cities and towns. Grateful for our church planters, partner church’s, and all who contribute to the Cooperative Program and State Missions Offerings to see churches planted across Louisiana.
We actually still have some significant towns without a Southern Baptist church in Louisiana, and a few with little or no evangelical presence. So our work continues…
And if you’re wondering WHY? Why plant churches in Louisiana, see my post entitled Recent Q&A: Why Plant Churches.
I spend a lot of time talking and thinking about church buildings. From older churches trying to rethink their 1960’s built classrooms to new churches trying to fit the nursery into a school hallway. Buildings are important to churches. I wish it weren’t so sometimes. Because they are SO EXPENSIVE! And a church building eats money 7 days per week, when most churches use it 2-3 days per week. Being Portable is a good option to cut cost, but even portable church doesn’t guarantee effective contextualized ministry in a community or the multiplication of disciples. Often times pastors express to me the limitations of the building to ministry and multiplication.
What guidance can we find in the New Testament for the use of buildings for church? Not much. The idea of building a church for worship, etc. had not come into its own yet. We see homes, parties, synagogues (Jewish teaching centers), mountainsides, the Jewish Temple, and lake shores utilized for the ministry of Jesus and the local church. And then one of my favorite spaces mentioned in the Bible is “the Hall of Tyrannus” in Acts 19:8-10:
8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months, arguing and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some became hardened and would not believe, slandering the Way in front of the crowd, he withdrew from them, taking the disciples, and conducted discussions every day in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.
We don’t know a lot about this lecture hall, but what we do know can give us some principles of thinking Biblically about buildings.
- It was a Public Place – I’ve written about the need for churches to be located in familiar, visible locations HERE. This Hall was evidently in the city center and a well-known place.
- It was a Place for Disciples to Gather – Paul took the disciples from the synagogue, where they were unwelcomed, to this hall where he could train them further in evangelism and life on mission. It was a place for gathering disciples.
- It was a Place to Interact with Unbelievers – Non-believers were invited in and comfortable with this space. Discussions were held that no doubt served to evangelize the lost and equip the saved.
- It was a Place for Disciples to Be Sent Out – All of Asia heard the word of the Lord! Wow! That’s serious multiplication. Who was spreading this word? And without radio, podcast, live streaming? No doubt, those who were being equipped and trained by Paul and others at the Hall.
The Hall of Tyrannus was a building that made possible the exponential multiplication of disciples. That should be the goal for every church and the hope of every church building project or meeting space.
What challenges does your current gathering space offer for the multiplication of disciples? Number 1 and 3 are most likely challenges for many churches today.
How can you make your church building more of a public space that is useful to the whole community? A few ideas:
- Starting a Daycare, MOPS, or Mother’s Day Out Program
- Starting a coffee shop or diner
- Opening the building for after school programs
- Holding public forums, training events for the community
- Moving into a public space like a gym or a movie theater or school for worship
How can you make your church building a place to interact with today’s unbelievers? Stained glass and steeples are not the answer that they used to be for people experiencing life. A few ideas:
- Think through service times and styles. Later services are easier for young and unchurched families to attend.
- Offer discussion forums for people with questions about life and God. Check out Life Tree Cafe for starter ideas on how to do this.
- Start compassion ministry that deals with real life issues for unchurched people in your community like addiction, teen addiction, poverty, divorce care, grief care, etc. Get started on exploring needs and resources for compassion ministry here.
What ideas do you have for making church buildings more effective in multiplying disciples? What other takeaways from Paul’s use of the Hall of Tyrannus can you share?
In June of 1998, I joined my first church planting team in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We helped in late stage planting of Celebration Church in Rio Rancho and in starting Bible Studies in apartment complexes in Albuquerque’s north side. Since then, Heather and I have set up chairs for church in Apartment complexes, fire stations, store fronts, gyms, schools, a museum, and an old church sanctuary or two. Reflecting in my journal the past few weeks on some of the tough lessons learned and that I’m still learning along this journey. Here’s 20 off the top:
- Judge each day by the seeds you plant, not the harvest you reap.
- Communities have different degrees of spiritual receptivity or soil conditions (see Matthew 13). Timing of results may be dependent upon how long it takes to cultivate the ground.
- Expect to feel like a failure. Be patient. “patience is better than power” (Proverbs 16:32)
- Failure can be a friend. The best lessons have been learned in my failure and weakness. The first four events I planned as a church planter, no one showed up! Best thing that ever happened to me.
- Church Planting = burning shoe leather. Intentionality, determination, perseverance, relationships.
- If you’re not successful, someone behind you probably will be. We all stand on the shoulders of those before us, or we prepare the ground for the success of those who will come behind us.
- If God called you, he’s calling others to partner with you. Believe it!
- God has no small churches, and no big pastors. When you have 25 people, you should preach and serve just like there is 25,000.
- Persons of peace make ministry possible and show God’s favor. Pray for them. Watch for them. From Apartment complex managers, to fire chiefs, to restaurant owners, to community leaders; a successful church plant will have a long list of community people that opened the doors for ministry. Remembering these names and faces along our journey.
- It takes all different kinds of churches to reach all different kinds of people. One church can’t reach everyone around them. Many Christians don’t understand the gap between some lost people and attending their church. We. Must. Plant. More. Churches.
- The value of a godly, faithful wife along this journey is incalculable. I would have quit a long time ago were it not for the faithful love, prayer, faithful service, and counsel of my godly wife.
- Expect criticism. And don’t expect it to ever get easier to digest.
- Don’t compare your work to others. No two church planting scenarios or ministry settings are equal.
- If it seems like God is trying to kill you, He is. Death to self will be an outcome of faithfulness in church planting.
- It’s about the whole world, not just your church. From the beginning, get a vision for the people your church will impact all over the world.
- Expect pastoral competitiveness. Many pastors have had joy at my presence and success as a church planter. Some have sounded like David’s older brother, “with whom did you leave those few sheep?” (1 Samuel 17:28)
- Don’t ignore longstanding rules of thumb as a rule. The things wise, experienced leaders told me that I ignored, almost always came back to haunt me.
- Faithfulness trumps talent on a church planting and leadership team. Look for faithfulness and character first, talent second.
- The resources are in the harvest. The quicker you can turn the harvest (i.e. people reached) into the resourcers of the ministry the better. Mobilize immediately.
- When there are no other answers, perseverance is the answer.
I love church planting. I’ve also hated it a lot of times over the past 20 years. Lol! I’m stilled convinced of something I heard at the very beginning of this journey – “Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven” – Peter Wagner. I hope and pray that God allows me to be a part of many more new starts over the next 20 years.