by Clare Jewell
When I was the pastor of Lakewood Park Baptist Church in Auburn, Indiana, we put a high emphasis on “connection.” We committed ourselves to developing healthy relationships within the church family, facilitating group prayer, and promoting the significance of mutual encouragement. Because of our church’s size, we knew that connections would not happen in our congregational worship settings, so we created smaller groups within which people could get to know each other at a deeper level. These groups were organized as several medium-size Adult Bible Studies on Sunday mornings. The groups ranged from 20-50 adults each and allowed people to connect in significant ways. Deacon care assignments were integrated as well so that each deacon attended the same ABS as the families assigned to them.
This same concept is vital in any national movement. For real momentum to occur, smaller, regional units must be committed to the overall agenda and purposes of the entire organization. Denominations and networks with a solid track record of church planting on a national level have done just that. They have identified and developed regional hubs to spur and ignite new church plants. Because these movements are regional, they have a far greater awareness of the demographics, needs, potential partners, and key resources available to spark a movement of reproduction. Multiple churches are able to communicate effectively within the smaller network. Leaders can be developed and deployed in a more strategic manner. Local ownership leads to greater involvement and increases the likelihood that laypeople will engage at a significant level.
For these reasons, I am praying for pastors with a heart for church reproduction to step forward and serve as regional catalysts for church planting. I am looking for regional “hub” church leaders who can help bring churches and leaders together to saturate a geographic area with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This approach will maximize stewardship of resources while greatly enhancing our capacity to plant more and more churches in communities that desperately need the witness of a Bible based, Christ centered, Baptist church.
If you are interested in serving in this type of role, or if you know of a church leader with a solid track record of growing and releasing leaders, please contact me at cjewell [at] garbc [dot] org or (260) 466-9678.
Clare Jewell is national church planting coordinator for Regular Baptist Ministries.