As I encourage pastors of established churches to consider church planting, I am often asked, “Where would you plant a church in our area?” One of the best ways to answer that question is to draw a circle around your church that reaches a radius of up to 30 miles, depending on the population density of your community. This becomes your circle of accountability. The basic idea is to take responsibility for making sure that every man, woman, and child within that circle gets repeated opportunities to see and hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This will require a demographic study in order to be more aware of who lives in that circle. You can accomplish that in three ways: (1) Visit government websites for basic census information. (2) Access www.thearda.com, for free, to gain detailed information about religious affiliations in your area. (3) Visit peoplegroups.info to get a better idea of the specific people groups living near your church. Both sites are user friendly.
In many cases, you will find that there are tremendous church-planting opportunities within your circle of accountability. Why? Because, likely, your church is reaching only a small fraction of the people who live within that circle. Many of these people, especially those from different people groups, are not going to visit your church; however, they could be reached through a church-planting process designed to connect with them in a culturally sensitive manner.
Regular Baptist Church Planting is eager to help you navigate this process. If you want more information or some help in making sense of the data, feel free to contact me at cjewell [at] garbc [dot] org. I’d be glad to offer assistance and connect you with other tools that will help you fulfill the Great Commission in your own backyard.
National Church Planting Coordinator
for Regular Baptist Ministries