Let’s Take a Look at our Congregational Multiplication Opportunities
Insights on Multiplying Congregations from George Bullard — November 29, 2018
2019 is a year for launching a church planting effort within the Columbia Metro Baptist Association fellowship area. I have been spending time thinking, talking, and praying about various aspects of our Multiplying Congregations strategy, and I want to share some insights with you.
We must be bold! I want to give voice to a bold goal that would challenge us as a family of Baptist congregations in the Midlands of South Carolina. While we may or may not reach our bold goal the first year, we must challenge ourselves beyond what we can see to allow God to help us discern what is not visible to us at this point, but which may be within the heart of God for us.
My bold annual goal for us in church planting is that we would launch seven new congregational expressions per year focused on various target groups. Some of these congregational expressions will be among target groups or communities of African-Americans, Anglo-Americans, or Non-English/Non-Anglo language and cultural groups. I would love to see at least one congregational expression launched each year that intentionally focuses on being multi-cultural/multi-ethnic from the beginning as a witness to breaking down racial and ethnic barriers.
One or two or these congregational expressions may be a where an existing congregation is a ReStart or closes and allows for a RePlant to take place. One or two may be a new campus of an existing congregation, or some other innovative model. One or two may involve an existing congregation relocating to a new place or several congregations merging to create new capacity to reach new people with the gospel.
These new congregational expressions need to reflect the variety of lifestyle segments of which we are becoming more aware as we engage in research on our associational context. It will involve discovering ways to reason the seven birth generation cohorts who live in our associational context. This means many new congregational expressions will not look like our current congregations. They may be different because with an unchanging gospel we want to effectively connect with varying strategies and styles the full diversity of people God has placed in our associational context.
It is appropriate to ask, “Don’t we have enough congregations?” I would suggest that a better question is, “What are we willing to do to reach the preChristians, unchurched, underchurched, and dechurched people within our growing and diversifying context?”
To be bold we are going to need many congregations to step up to be sponsors of new congregational expressions. I believe that churches plant churches using the best church planters and core groups of leaders that feel called to plant the new congregational expression. I believe the starting point is sponsoring churches.
Is God calling your church to sponsor a new congregational expression during 2019 or beyond? If so, let me hear from you at 803.622.0923 or GeorgeBullard@ColumbiaMetro.org.
Multiplying Congregations focuses on starting new congregational expressions through various strategies for the multiplication of congregations to reach preChristians, unchurched, underchurched, and dechurched people. This strategy is led by a Multiplication Leadership Community of pastors, staff members, and lay leaders from member congregations and other congregations with whom CMBA cultivates a network relationship.
For more information, contact MultiplyingCongregations@ColumbiaMetro.org.
I Know a Place, a People Group, or a Congregation: One beginning point for the starting of a new congregational expression is to pull together a gathering of spiritually passionate people in your church. Get them to talk about, engage in research, and pray about a geographic place such as a neighborhood, community, or town, or a specific demographic or lifestyle group of people among whom new congregational expressions need to be started.
God is at work in many CMBA churches-in-association seeking to inspire you to think about planting a new congregation, starting a new campus, coming alongside an existing congregation to enhance their ministry, launching a dinner or micro church in a neighborhood or apartment complex, and various other ways of extending Christ-centered congregational ministry deeper into clusters of preChristians, unchurched, underchurched, and dechurched people rather than just skimming the surface.
However, action is not likely to take place without giving some focused talking, planning, and praying about where and how God might be leading your congregation. The size of your congregation is not the issue. The magnitude and majesty of God’s calling is the issue.