Sixteen church leaders gathered in June for the 32nd Annual School of Church Planting, hosted by Hamilton Hills Baptist Church in Fishers, Indiana. The leaders, representing a broad spectrum of independent Baptists, came from Washington, Idaho, Minnesota, Michigan, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Two were apprentice church planters serving with Baptist Mid-Missions, and two were seasoned missionaries with Baptist Church Planters. But for the first time in the history of the School of Church Planting, the majority of men were young pastors seeking to grow small or plateaued churches.

What attracted leaders’ interest in the program this year? This summer’s Track Two seminar studied the theme “Leading Your Church to the Next Level.” The School of Church Planting offers two tracks of course material taught on alternating years. The program’s leaders designed Track Two for church planters and missionary teams who have launched a new church and desire to learn how to grow it, leading it to health and corporate reproduction. Pastors of established congregations also attend to discover principles and best practices of outreach and church growth that are applicable to church revitalization efforts.

The four-day seminar includes 27 hours of classroom instruction, plus enriching interaction and times of sharing with the teachers and fellow participants. Men who have “been there and done that” lead each session. Seminar presenters included Dr. Ken Davis, director of Baptist Bible Seminary’s Project Jerusalem; Roger McNamara, veteran church planter with Baptist Mid-Missions; and Dan Whitcher, church planting coordinator for Baptist Mid-Missions’ North American efforts. Among them, the instructors have more than a hundred years of experience in planting, renewing, and pastoring churches. Davis and McNamara are also coauthors of The Y-B-H (Yes, But How) Handbook of Church Planting, which several schools use.

Sponsored by Baptist Mid-Missions, the School of Church Planting is open to pastors, missionaries, and Bible college and seminary students, as well as prospective, new, and seasoned church planters from independent Baptist and Bible church traditions. Since the School’s inception, more than 590 church planters and leaders from 18 mission organizations and 37 countries have participated in this intensive “boot camp” training.

Ken Davis urges Regular Baptist pastors and planters who desire to birth a daughter church under Regular Baptist Church Planting’s Genesis Initiative to attend the 2018 School of Church Planting June 11–14 at City Light Baptist Church, Culpeper, Virginia. Through Track One, attendees will focus on the key tasks that are essential to launching a healthy new church and consider the conception, prenatal, and birth stages of the church planting life cycle.