(May 16, 2023) GodReports shares encouraging news regarding successful churchplanting planned with assistance from combined churches…
The continent’s largest church planting network, the North American Mission Board’s Send Network, has announced that Southern Baptist churches have planted more than 10,000 new churches across Canada, the U.S. and its territories since 2010.
Last year alone, supported by Send Network, the Southern Baptist Convention’s more than 47,000 churches worked together to plant 745 new churches.
Church plants increasing yearly
‘We are always excited to see an increase in churches planted year over year,’ said North American Mission Board (NAMB) President Kevin Ezell. ‘But our focus remains on the quality of the churches planted, which is why we’re more grateful that the survivability rate remains strong. Our goal is to see churches planted that impact their communities for years and multiply to reach more communities where churches are needed.’
The 745 planted churches are in addition to 126 existing, previously unaffiliated churches that joined the Southern Baptist Convention the same year, as well as another 46 new campus churches started by existing SBC churches – for a total of 917 congregations added to the convention in 2022.
Churches rallied to help reach nations
‘We could not be more grateful for the way our churches have rallied around the mission of church planting in recent years,’ said Send Network President Vance Pitman. ‘As we join in God’s mission to reach the nations, churches are engaging communities with the gospel, making disciples, and seeing churches planted as a result.’
Notably, more than half of last year’s 745 church plants identified as majority-minority ethnic or multiethnic. This diversity continues the trend of the 10,000 churches planted since 2010, with some 849 of the churches planted since 2010 reporting their congregation as primarily African-American and 1,486 predominantly Hispanic congregations.
Desire to reach all people, especially the under-reached
This is reflective of the changing demographic of the U.S., and Send Network churches’ desire to reach all people with the good news of the gospel.
The work toward greater diversity has been strengthened in recent months by a partnership of the National African American Fellowship and Send Network to identify and support African American planters called to start new SBC churches in under-reached African American communities throughout North America.
And the newly launched Send Network Española is starting 13 new residencies – in addition to seven existing such programs – to raise up Hispanic church planters targeting key cities that are home to a collective 11 million Spanish speakers.
Another of the ways NAMB has further expanded church planting efforts in recent years has been through the development of Send Network’s more close-knit partnerships with Southern Baptist state conventions. There are 21 state conventions and associations that have bolstered their cooperation under Send Network through such a partnership.
Geographically, NAMB’s primary ministry emphasis has been on cities and regions outside of the South, focusing intentionally on areas where Christian and Southern Baptist influence has been weakest. In non-South states, Southern Baptist churches planted since 2010 have accounted for nearly a quarter, 23 percent, of baptisms reported by the convention – indicative of the church plants’ influence and strong emphasis on reaching new believers.
Unveiling the network’s future
In light of this momentum, Send Network plans a milestone event the week of the SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Aimed at unveiling the future of the network and helping pastors, planters and ministry leaders find opportunities for dynamic partnerships to multiply churches, it’s dubbed ‘NEXT: Mobilising the Church to Seek the Kingdom.’
For church planters who choose to be endorsed by Send Network, the organisation leverages the collective giving of its churches – including $68.9 million given last year solely for North American missions work – to provide substantial benefits, resources, training, coaching, and care for the planters, their families and church planting teams.
There are currently about 1,500 Send Network-endorsed church planters, a designation earned only after a rigorous assessment process done in close coordination with the church that is sending an aspiring planter.
GodReports.com, founded by Mark Ellis in 2009, is devoted to promoting Christian missions by sharing stories and testimonies from missionaries and mission organisations. (Photo NAMB) _________________________________________________________