Insights on Congregational Multiplication from George Bullard
2019 is a year for launching a church planting movement 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.
A bold annual goal for church planting is that we would launch seven new congregational expressions per year. 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 where an existing congregation is a ReStart or a RePlant. 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 in our associational context. This will involve discovering ways to reach 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 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 churches 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.