Why Plant More Churches?

Recent Question from an honest member of a local church. “What’s the thinking behind the Louisiana Baptist Convention planting all these new churches? Why not just send more people to great churches like mine?” 

Answer: There are Three Major Problems with this kind of thinking as I see it.

  1. The problem of the numbers. How many does your church seat? “1,200”. Let’s say your church fills its building 4 times each week. That’ll be 4,800 people attending church. Praise God! I’ve studied your community, and there are actually 125,000 people that live there, and after much research, liberal estimates show that only 10% of them attend an evangelical church. Another 10% attend Roman Catholic churches based on research and liberal estimates. That still leaves 100,000 people that are not going to church anywhere. Where are we going to put that many people? If all the current evangelical churches in the community filled their facilities twice each Sunday, there would still be no room for the majority of these people.
  1. The problem of the people. I’ve been to your church and I like it. Most of the people look a lot like me and dress like me and the music fits what I like to listen to. I feel very comfortable there. The preaching speaks to me, because I’ve been in church all my life and I like good Bible preaching. However, did you know that there are a lot of those 100,000 people who have never been to church. They don’t know who Noah or Abraham or Moses are, and they would be a little lost just opening a Bible for the first time. They also listen to different kind of music, their lives look a lot different than mine and yours because of race, upbringing, past mistakes, etc. So, we need to start ALL DIFFERENT KINDS OF CHURCHES, FOR ALL DIFFERENT KINDS OF PEOPLE along with making our churches more comfortable for everyone.
  1. Saturation vs. Parish Strategy. Louisiana Baptists and most evangelicals have a saturation strategy of evangelism and church planting. Until EVERY PERSON has had the opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel, we keep doing EVERYTHING we can to deliver the gospel and disciple them. And the Evangelical community has found that church planting is one of the most effective means of doing that. Roman Catholics and other liturgical churches have a Parish Strategy, meaning, we’re going to plan to have one church for an area or part of town, and assume that everybody that needs the gospel will respond at or through that church. It doesn’t consider the number of people, or types of people in the strategy, limiting the number of people that can be reached through the church.

Does that make sense?

Response: “YES! I understand!”

  1. I was actually thinking about how many people in my neighborhood don’t go to church. Out of 70+ homes there is only 2 or 3 of us that go to church on Sunday.
  2. And you know, you’re right, I wish they would, but they probably would not all feel comfortable in a church like mine.
  3. And yes, we believe we should do everything we can to share the gospel with our community.

What are some ways that my church could help??!!

Yes, There are Towns in Louisiana Without a Southern Baptist Church!

Louisiana has 304 Census Designated Areas, noted as cities, towns, and villages by the Census Bureau. A few years ago, out of curiosity, I did a little digging into how many of these might not have a Southern Baptist Church. I knew of a few, but didn’t expect that number to total almost 100! Now, if you’ve ever looked at this list, you won’t recognize many of these places unless you are from there. A few even have a population of less than 10! The Missions and Ministry Team has sought to keep this list updated and add it to the numerous things that play into good church planting strategy and missiology for Louisiana.

Not all of these places necessarily need a new church. Some of these towns have active churches near them. It’s not the objective of the Louisiana Baptist Mission and Ministry Team to start churches, just to say we did. If it’s a strategic need and if God calls His people to answer that need; we will assist in starting a church in these geographic locations.

Not all of these places are without evangelical witnesses. We are not saying that all of these places are without the witness of an evangelical congregation. We celebrate the work of faithful evangelical partners who are seeking to reach our state and we’re happy when we find that a community has an active witness of the Gospel in its midst. When we find that little to no active gospel witness is present, the priority rises.

Not all the places in Louisiana that have a church are saturated with the Gospel. A more shocking statistic than the number of communities without a Southern Baptist Church is the low percentage of people that actually attend the Southern Baptist and evangelical churches that are already in existence. Most parishes across Louisiana, have less than 10% of the population attending SBC churches on any given weekend. Many areas, even across the south, have too few churches to reach even 30% of its population with the gospel.

Louisiana’s need for new churches in no way compares with the need in other parts of North America. The fact that Louisiana has towns with no SBC churches has challenged me to remember pioneer areas across North America and the world with zero access to a gospel advancing community of believers. As a missionary friend says, “As you go to the church of your choice this weekend, remember those with no church to choose.” Let the reality of Louisiana’s need, remind us of the unfinished task before us in carrying out Christ’s Great Commission.

How can we respond to places with no church?

  1. Pray! Pray for laborers (Luke 10:2). Pray for open doors (1 Corinthians 16:9).
  2. Take a vision tour. In 2020, our team will be conducting one day Vision Tours and Windshield Surveys in many of these towns with no SBC Church. Email me at lane.corley@louisianabaptists.org and let me know if you’d like to help with and be a part of these tours.
  3. Adopt a town to pray for and plan to reach out through a day of prayer walking or other outreach event. Let us know if you’d be interested in reaching out in a city or town without a church.

Where are these towns? Here’s a list of the top 50, listed by CDA / Town / City or Village, Parish, Association, and Population. Email me at lane.corley@louisianabaptists.org if you’d like the entire list, or if you know of other places in Louisiana that don’t have an SBC church presence.

Town/CityParishAssociationPopulation
1. TerrytownJeffersonNOBA24,216
2. Bayou CaneTerrebonneBayou21,173
3. EstelleJeffersonNOBA16,791
4. GardereEast Baton RougeBAGBR11,229
5. WoodmereJeffersonNOBA11,114
6. TimberlaneJeffersonNOBA10,655
7. South Fort PolkVernonVernon9,293
8. Oak HillsEast Baton RougeBAGBR8,980
9. Old JeffersonEast Baton RougeBAGBR8,283
10. GallianoLafourcheBayou7,650
11. Eden IsleSt. TammanyNSBA7,631
12. St. GabrielIbervilleBAGBR7,094
13. MerauxSt. BernardNOBA7,073
14. Village St. GeorgeEast Baton RougeBAGBR6,802
15. InniswoldEast Baton RougeBAGBR6,772
16. VacherieSt. JamesBAGBR5,689
17. ChackbayLafourcheBayou5,647
18. GramblingLincolnConcord Union5,184
19. ElmwoodJeffersonNOBA5,037
20. EastwoodBossierNWLA4,547
21. RichwoodOauchitaNELA3,378
22. Buras-TriumphPlaqueminesNOBA3,358
23. LutcherSt. JamesBAGBR3,345
24. BruslyWest Baton RougeBAGBR2,721
25. ChauvinTerrebonneBayou2,682
26. Abita SpringsSt. TammanyNorthshore2,584
27. Bayou GaucheSt. CharlesNOBA2,557
28. North Fort PolkVernonVernon2,432
29. EdgardSt. John the BaptistNOBA2,315
30. RosepineVernonVernon2,235
31. GaryvilleSt. John the BaptistNOBA2,225
32. Boothville-VenicePlaqueminesNOBA2,220
33. MontzSt. CharlesNOBA2,140
34. LabadievilleAssumptionBayou2,092
35. HendersonSt. MartinEvangeline1,885
36. Belle RoseAssumptionBayou1,837
37. ParadisSt. CharlesNOBA1,616
38. AmaSt. CharlesNOBA1,361
39. New SarpySt. CharlesNOBA1,203
40. CullenWebsterWebster-Claiborne1,133
41. PaincourtvilleAssumptionBayou1,070
42. EmpirePlaqueminesNOBA1,054
43. LeonvilleSt. LandryAcadia1,042
44. RosedaleIbervilleBAGBR983
45. Grand CoteauSt. LandryAcadia964
46. SupremeAssumptionBayou859
47. ParksSt. MartinEvangeline831
48. MermentauAcadiaAcadia815
49. KillonaSt. CharlesNOBA815
50. ConventSt. JamesBAGBR711

Check out our Engage Map for and interactive look at locations of Louisiana Baptist churches, church plants, and target locations for new churches – https://www.engagemap.org/louisianabaptists/EngageMap.

Start Something!

Recently I was with a group of church leaders and the issue of reaching the lost came up. One of the leaders asserted that it seems the churches are all going after the same people, while the truly lost in our communities have little outreach to them. He’s absolutely right. Many of our standard church outreach activities are white noise to the growing number of NEVER churched in our communities. Maybe its time to Start Something new to reach the lost in your city.

  • When was the last time you assessed your community for the real needs of people?
  • When was the last time you thought about the unchurched in your town and how to bring the gospel to them?
  • When was the last time you asked hard questions about the effectiveness of your churches ministry in making contact with the lost?
  • When was the last time you looked at the demographics around your church?

This years Missions and Ministry Summer Luncheon tour will focus on these questions. We want to learn about your community and highlight some needs that may be great avenues for sharing the gospel. We want to talk about starting some new fights with modern day issues affecting people in our state. Join the Missions and Ministry Team at one of our Summer Luncheons across Louisiana in June and July.

Visit LouisianaBaptists.org/Compassion to find and register for a meal and discussion.

Is My Church RePlant Ready?

RePlanting has become a hot topic for denominations. With 65%-80% of churches in decline and many communities transitioning demographically, new visions and strategies must be developed to reach people with the Gospel and build healthy congregational life. Sometimes, churches can’t go on as they are to accomplish that purpose. RePlanting is a way to redeem the property, organization, and investments of previous generations for the vision of a church to reach a people and a place for Christ. Among Louisiana Baptists the need is great. Surveys of Associations have found that potentially 190 churches will close in the next 3-5 years. That’s more than 10% of our current congregations!

RePlant Ready Churches Needed

The Louisiana Baptists Missions and Ministry Team have partnered with now, 50 RePlants since 2010. Many of them have received funding through the Cooperative Program and Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering for Church Planting and Building Renovation efforts. Our need today is more healthy churches that will say “Yes!” to RePlanting and serve as a sponsor, mentor, or sending church to churches at or near closure.

What does it look like to be a RePlant Ready Church? As we’ve reviewed our current list of RePlant, we find some common denominators among the churches involved. Here are a few:

  1. A Passion for God and the Lost. Healthy church planting and replanting start with a desire to see people saved and obey Jesus’ Great Commission.
  2. Eyes Open to the Needs of the World. Churches that multiply are looking for opportunities to be a blessing and spread the love of Christ. They look at the world through the eyes of Christ, who saw the crowds and had compassion on them (Matthew 9:35).
  3. Growing through Healthy Systems that Produces New Disciples. RePlanting and multiplication is not a strategy to get your church growing. Multiplication is a way for churches that ARE healthy and growing to extend their healthy dna outward for the kingdom. Multiplication will reveal unhealth faster than anything. Get your systems healthy and multiplication will be the result.
  4. Unified through Relationships and Purpose. A recent RePlant that was the result of two congregations merging, testified of 100% unanimous vote by both congregations. This didn’t happen automatically. Great patience and clear communication by the leaders produced unity of relationships and purpose. Dealing with disunity is a must before embarking on a large multiplication effort like RePlanting.
  5. Discovers a Community or Communities in Need. With eyes open, churches that multiply see the needs of a community and in the case of RePlanting, a sister congregation in need, and seeks to respond.
  6. Ready to Send a Team of Leaders and Laborers. Churches that multiply well, prepare to send and give so that God’s kingdom can grow. Strategies and systems are in place to raise up leaders to go.

If your church is RePlant Ready or would like to assess your Readiness, let us know (Click here to fill out a form). We’d love to see your church take this multiplication journey. Contact one of our Church Planting Strategist for more information.

James Jenkins: james.jenkins@louisianabaptists.org
Carlos Schmidt: carlos.schmidt@louisianabaptists.org
Lane Corley: lane.corley@louisianabaptists.org
Lee Green, Multiplication Assistant – lee.green@louisianabaptists.org
Office – 318.448.3402
multiplyLA.com

Check out the resources at LouisianaBaptists.org/RePlantReady for more information and first steps for RePlanting in Louisiana.

Church Multiplication vs. Church Planting

When talking about planting new churches, I prefer the term church multiplication. Why? Most churches lack margin and without margin financially and with volunteers, they don’t believe that they can plant another church. It’s an option for one day IF we are able. But multiplication is a must for every church and a path to every church getting healthy and getting involved in planting new churches. Every church, to be healthy, MUST multiply. We must multiply ON-CAMPUS through new disciples, servant-leaders, groups, and ministries. Then multiplication in a healthy church WILL move OFF-CAMPUS through multiplication of ministries, outreach events, missions partnerships, AND new congregations in some form.

Start multiplying and you WILL BE a church planting church.

How do we get started?

  • Multiply New Disciples by sharing the gospel and bringing new people into the kingdom. Train your church in personal evangelism and lead them to see their community as a mission field.
  • Multiply New Servant-leaders by having a monthly leadership development round table for existing and potential leaders. Begin a mentoring relationship with teachable and hungry disciples.
  • Multiply New Ministries by looking at the needs in the body that are currently not being met and commission a leader or team to tackle the need.
  • Multiply Off-Campus Ministries and Outreaches by asking the question “Where is the church not?” Look for opportunities like local multi-housing communities, local nursing homes, local compassion oriented agencies, etc.
  • Multiply Mission Partnerships by planning an annual mission trip, a vision tour to an underserved part of your state or region, co-sponsoring a new church in your area or state, etc.

Multiplying at these levels will lead to growth, health, and the hunger to keep the multiplication going at every level, including new communities where a church or campus may be needed.

Get in touch:

lane.corley@louisianabaptists.org – if you need to help with ideas and scenarios for multiplying your church or if you’d like to network with other multiplying churches in your area. Connect with our Louisiana Baptists Multiplication Network for events to help you work on strategy and systems for healthy multiplication. Attend one of our upcoming Multiplication Ready or RePlant Ready Events in 2019 for more info and ideas.

Is My Church Multiplication Ready?

The Louisiana Baptists Missions and Ministry Team is making our final push toward the goal of planting 300 new churches 2020. Since 2010, our convention has worked together to plant 235 new churches! The result has been over 13,000 new commitments to Christ! and many new fronts opened up for meeting spiritual and physical needs across our state. While every Southern Baptist church is invested in church planting through giving to the Cooperative Program and our State, National, and International Missions Offerings, only around 280 churches in Louisiana (out of 1,624) have taken the next step and gotten involved in direct MULTIPLICATION through sending people, direct financial sponsorship, or starting a new campus or location.

As we make this final push to 300 new churches, we want to invite you to explore your church’s multiplication readiness. We will have a series of luncheons across the state this year that will help you see the possibilities of and opportunities for multiplication for your church. Every church CAN get involved in Church Planting Multiplication!

Why Should Multiplication Readiness Concern Me and My Church? Three Reasons:

  1. Readiness to Multiply is a Mark of Health and Maturity. Healthy churches generally are multiplying churches. Healthy churches multiply new disciples, new leaders, new groups, new ministries, etc.,etc. As the multiplication train gets rolling, it is often the case that God moves His people to look to a neighboring community or people group in need to multiply the gospel to. Is it time for your church to consider a multiplication project? Or is it time to explore why your church is not seeing greater multiplication inside? How do we get started? What resources are available? Join us for one of our Multiplication Ready luncheons to explore these questions.
  2. Healthy Church Multiplication requires Healthy Sending or Sponsor or Parent Churches. As Bob Roberts says in his great book The Multiplying Church, “The future of faith in America (and anywhere in the world, for that matter) is not tied to planting more churches, but in raising up of mother congregations of every tribe, tongue, denomination, and network that are reproducing… The hope is in pregnant mother churches.” The healthiest new churches often come from mother churches that are reproducing and multiplying in all aspects, spilling over into new communities and people groups through church planting and evangelism.
  3. Reaching our state and our nation is more than just one church can accomplish. Across Louisiana, church attendance is in decline. In almost every association, less than 10% of the population are in attendance in a Southern Baptist Church on any given weekend. The number of unchurched and dechurched people is climbing. To reach new generations of people, new fronts must be opened against lostness. Church Planting and Multiplication has proven to be a great tool in reaching people in Louisiana and beyond. 13,000 and counting have responded to the gospel through one of our 235 new churches. Imagine the possibilities as we continue to multiply through 2020 and beyond.

Explore the possibilities, available resources, and current opportunities with your Louisiana Baptists Missions and Ministries team this year as we make our final push to 300 new churches by 2020.

Starting an Associational Church Planting Movement

Good strategy should create the right conditions for a church multiplication movement to reach every people group & population segment in our communities. Here’s five steps to an associational strategy for church multiplication:

Step 1: Mobilize an Associational Missions or Church Planting Team.
Intentionality will be best maintained by men & women with a heart for missions & church multiplication who work in concert with the Director of Missions & other partners to strategize for reaching the lost in the area.

Step 2: Conduct an Area-Wide Feasibility Study or Probe.
A probe of the area should include intense demographic & ecclesiographic research. To maximize buy in, it may also include organizing a vision tour or windshield survey across the area with Pastors & church leaders. A probe may also include polling pastors & staff members & key leaders in the community about the need for new churches & ministries in the region.

Step 3: Map the Strategy based on the Probe.
Combining extensive data collection with soundbites from organized efforts to determine needs, the church planting team should then be ready to go to a map & start pinpointing potential locations for churches & ministries. The Louisiana Baptists Engage Map can be a great tool for this & church planting priorities can immediately be available for recruiting planters & resources to projects determined by the the Church Planting Team via the world wide web.

Step 4: Discover & Develop qualified planters & team members.
Once we know who we need to reach & where, we can best determine who we need to be looking & praying for to take on the mission of planting a church in that area. It will also help the state convention in planning resources & training events that will best assist planting in the region. Armed with data & vision for meeting the specific needs of communities we can be more intentional in gathering resources & recruiting partners & team members.

Step 5: Network church planting leaders & enthusiasts for celebration, encouragement, health, & recruitment.
Engaging the lost community through church planting will lead to stories that need to be told, wounds & scars that need to be healed, & greater interest in diving into the church planting pool. A regular network meeting in the region will be a great tool to keep the movement going & keep points going onto the map & multiplication of disciples, groups, & churches going for years to come.

Utilizing this strategy, one of our Louisiana associations has started 14 new churches since 2000, with only one failed plant. That’s a 93% success rate! The Louisiana Baptists Missions & Ministry Team is here to assist with 10-3-1 Strategy Development. We can assist you & your team with each of these steps as we move toward a strategy that engages every person in Louisiana with the Gospel.

Making Big Plans for Easter

Celebration Church’s St. Bernard Campus has grown from 110 in 2009 to 485 in 2016 in weekly average attendance. Easter Sunday attendance has grown from 206 to 1,380 in that time frame, serving as a great catalyst for overall growth. Patrick Eagan, Celebration St. Bernard’s Campus Pastor, recently spent some time coaching church planters in the Baton Rouge area on how to make the most out of Easter. Get Patrick’s Notes HERE. This can serve as a great playbook for planning Easter or other Big Attendance weekends at your church. Patrick said, “Most of us will not be able to double our weekend attendance by simply praying harder and trying harder.” We need a plan! Here are a few great starter questions for planning from Patrick’s presentation:

  1. What would it look like at your church if the fullness of the power of God met the fullness of the efforts of man?
  2. If you successfully doubled your weekend attendance, would there be room for everyone?
  3. Is it possible to add worship services to your usual line up?
  4. What is the long-term growth vision for your church?
  5. What is the challenging but reasonable goal for your end of year attendance?
  6. How will you identify and follow-up with guests on Easter Sunday?
  7. What specific elements of the worship service will encourage guests to come back?
  8. What post-Easter events can we leverage guests toward?

Get the whole doc and do what you can to get ready for a big weekend of planting seeds and growing God’s kingdom. Always grateful for Celebration Church and their generosity of lessons learned and best practices.

By the Numbers: 2016 Louisiana Baptist Church Planting Report

Louisiana Baptists finished 2016, with 33 churches planted across our state. Surpassing our goal of 30 for the second straight year. We are grateful for a great spirit of multiplication happening across Louisiana.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 4 in North Louisiana, 29 in South Louisiana.
  • 15 in New Orleans, 7 on the I-12, 4 in Baton Rouge, 2 in Lake Charles, 2 in Central LA, 1 in Lafayette, 1 in Houma/Thibodaux, 1 on I-20.
  • 12 Anglo, 15 African-American, 3 Multi-Ethnic, 2 Hispanic, 1 Asian.
  • 7 Multi-Site Developments, 6 Re-Plants
  • $1.3 million in Cooperative Funding invested in Church Planting supplements.
  • $330,000 in Georgia Barnette State Missions Offering Grants invested in Church Plants.

In 2016, 95 Church Plants in years 1-3 received Cooperative funding through the Louisiana Baptists Missions and Ministries office. These plants reported:

  • 1,329 New Commitments to Christ & 384 Baptisms
  • 26,933 Evangelistic Contacts
  • $222,289 given to the Cooperative Program and $72,948 to local associations.

How are we doing region by region:
2016 Church Planting Report by Region

Since 2010:

  • 163 new churches have been planted. 34 north LA, 129 south LA, 41 in New Orleans. Only 137 more to go to meet our goal of 300 by 2020!
  • 97, or 60%, of church plants have been non-Anglo. 51 African-American, 26 Hispanic, 9 Asian, 11 Other.
  • We’re up to 20 Multi-site Congregations and 21 RePlants (plants on church properties that had closed or were near closure).
  • 2,671 Baptisms have been reported. That’s 32 baptisms every month, 7 baptisms every week, in church plants years 1-3.
  • Churches have been planted in 77 Louisiana cities and towns and 21 of 32 Louisiana Baptist Associations since.

Looking forward to another great year of multiplication in Louisiana and beyond. Jump in and start your churches church planting journey at MultiplyLA.com.

 

On Sponsoring a New Church (Pt. 2)

In case you missed it, read Part 1 here.

 

How does the sponsor church relate to the new church?

An area that sometimes creates conflict is the relationship between the sponsor church and the new church.  A lack of clear expectations, mutually agreed upon lines of accountability, and good communication could turn the church planting experience from a blessing into a disappointment for both the sponsor and the planter.  Before a church decides to enter into a partnership to plant a new church, the following questions should be addressed:

  1. Doctrinal and methodological issues:
  • Are the planter and the new church in doctrinal agreement with the sponsor church? Has the planter read and understood the Baptist Faith and Message 2000?
  • Does the sponsor church understand and accept the methods and style of the new church regarding worship, outreach, discipleship, etc?
  1. Facilities, finances, and legal issues:
  • If the new church is meeting in the sponsor’s facilities, have logistical issues been discussed and agreed upon?  Will rent be paid?  Will help with utility bills be expected?  Is there a plan for the new church to grow into greater responsibility?  There needs to be an understanding about use of facilities, when they are available, who can have keys and access, scheduling of facilities, maintenance, etc.  Is a written agreement in place?
  • Who will handle the new church’s finances?  Is there someone (other than the planter and/or his wife!) who is qualified to handle money?  Is the new church ready to have its own bank account?  How will tithes and offerings be handled?  Is there a plan for the church to take over its own finances?  Who will approve the new church’s budget and expenditures?
  • Who will handle Cooperative Program and other missions giving?
  • What kind of access will the planter and the new church have to the office equipment, telephones, and supplies of the sponsor church?  Is this clearly understood?
  • Do any insurance, liability, social security, annuity, or legal issues need to be dealt with?
  • Is the new church ready to legally incorporate?
  • Is there a clear understanding on how and when funding checks from the sponsor, the association, and the state convention will be handled?
  1. Accountability:
  • What will be the planter’s relationship to the sponsor church’s staff?  Will he be considered a staff member?  Will he be expected to attend staff meetings?  If not, is there a time and a person the planter will be meeting with regularly?
  • If the new church is not meeting in the sponsor church’s facilities, is distance a factor in accountability?
  • Are there other partners besides the sponsor church involved, i.e. co-sponsor churches, local association, state convention?  Are expectations and relationships clear to the planter and to the primary sponsor?  Is the planter free to seek other churches as partners?
  • Does the planter have a relationship with a church planting coach?  Does the sponsor understand this?
  1. Cultural issues:
  • If the new church is of a different language, ethnic, or cultural group, has the sponsor church made every effort to understand cultural differences?  These issues may include communication styles, worship styles, decision making styles, time perspectives, accountability and responsibility perspectives, perspectives on planning, scheduling, and setting goals, discipline of children, dress, use of facilities, food, and many others.
  • Have the sponsor church and new church agreed to seek to understand each other’s differences?  Do they both agree that all cultures are under the judgment of Scripture?
  • If language is an obstacle to communication, is there someone available to act as a translator?

It should be emphasized that every situation is different.  It is important for the sponsor, the planter, and all other partners to discuss these issues before the church is launched and funding begins and to regularly review progress and challenges and to make adjustments as necessary.