Year after year I continue to be reminded of God’s great power and grace as He works through new church plants across North Carolina. In these church plants God is changing lives and doing wonderful things that can only be the result of His working.
By the end of 2011, the Baptist State Convention Church Planting Team reported 89 new church plants, which included Anglo, Hispanic, Asian and African-American churches. Other types of churches included cowboy, Montagnard, Haitian and Burmese. Our Asian church planting consultant works with 37 different language groups. There are presently more than 230 languages spoken in North Carolina. Over one-half of the churches we assist in planting speak a language other than English.
Our church planting team tells me we are well on our way to another fruitful year in church planting, and for that I give God all the praise. I thank you for supporting missions through the Cooperative Program, the Annie Armstrong Offering and the North Carolina Missions Offering in order to make church planting in North Carolina possible.
Often times I hear people ask why we need to plant churches when we already have many churches in North Carolina doing great things for the Kingdom. One reason is population growth; if we do not plant new churches, we will not reach our state’s growing population. I believe church planting is so important that I have included it as one of our Convention’s 7 Pillars for Ministry.
Tom Billings, executive director of Union Baptist Association in Houston, Texas, shared last month during a meeting with North Carolina Directors of Missions that in order to reach the unchurched population of North Carolina we need to plant a minimum of 25,815 new churches based upon these new churches averaging 200 in attendance. Mark Gray, our church planting team leader, says that new church plants reach people for the Lord at three times the rate of existing churches. Therefore, if we do not plant churches, we miss a critical opportunity to reach people with the gospel. Our prayer is that healthy church plants will multiply by planting other healthy churches. Last year our new churches reported 2,651 professions of faith, as well as 79,550 evangelistic and cultivative contacts during the year. Our church plants also report an 82 percent survivability rate over four years, making the average survivability of church plants in North Carolina higher than the national average.
Church planting is not easy, and your church can make a tremendous difference in the lives of new churches and church plants by becoming a church planting partner. There are various ways you can do this, and I invite you to visit ncbaptist.org/churchplanting to learn more. You can also contact Mark Gray at (800) 395-5102, ext. 5550, or [email protected].
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” 1 Peter 2:9