Wednesday, August 1, 2012

NAMB's contra-status quo church planting conference

The SBC increased the total number of churches by exactly 37 in 2011, that's 37 net new churches or less than one per state convention. Pathetic.

OK, NAMB, you are our main entity in this area. Do something about that.

What NAMB is doing in regards to church planting is their Send North America initiative and it looks to me like this has made NAMB the center of gravity in the SBC for church planting. The Send North America Conference 2012 of yesterday and Monday is prime evidence of that. 

The conference was near me at Johnny Hunt's megachurch in Woodstock, GA and I was privileged to attend. 

The idea is that the SBC needs to plant thousands of churches just to keep apace with population growth and shifts.

At the moment the SBC is an imperceptibly moving slug in church planting and that at a time when we need to be a racehorse. Send North America is NAMB's grand initiative that aims to change this. Good for them.

While I wasn't the oldest person at the conference, the energy for church planting rightfully resides in sub-baby boomers. Nothing wrong with youth and energy even if they seem to have an almost religious objection to tucking in a flapping shirt tail. No problemo...just an observation.

J. D. Greear, Jimmy Scroggins, and David Platt all talk very fast to an old codger like me but I like what they say. I missed Platt's appearance but Greear and Scroggins, if I listen fast enough, are saying the things I like to hear.

If you move beyond our usual way of planting SBC churches, an extisting church has a split and a splinter group starts a new church nearby, SBC church planting is a mysterious thing, a patchwork quilt of support from churches, associations, and state conventions.

I still don't understand exactly how NAMB is going to plant all these churches. It's complicated. Maybe I didn't listen fast enough.

NAMB seems to be saying that they will devote their considerable resources to helping a church and a church planter do what they feel called to do with an emphasis on major cities and places where the extisting church/population ratios show greater needs.

This strategy has meant redirecting NAMB's kickback funding for many state conventions. While some have hotly objected, I'm persuaded by the justification for the change.

Fact is, the status quo hasn't been working too good for Southern Baptists and NAMB, thankfully and finally, is at the forefront of changing the status quo.

I'm all for it.


Bob Hadley said...


Good article and I like you am concerned about what we as a denomination are doing in keeping up with the changing dynamics of our corner of the world where God has planted us physically. While the concept of planting all of these new church starts sounds great etc, I am wondering if anyone has considered the failure rate of new church plants and how that factor will or will not be any different going forward as money from NAMB and various sources changes.

While I have no idea what the success/failure rate is with churches if it is anywhere as close as new business starts I would personally find that alarming. It is like one putting all their eggs in one basket hoping it pays off. Also, it would seem to me that planting a church would be infinitely more difficult than simply pastoring an established church and here we are, using the youngest and least experienced folks to plant churches. Not sure how that is going to work out?

I certainly hope that NAMB is headed in the right direction and I am sure they are all much smarter and wiser than I am but these issues are most certainly ones that I for one hope have good answers for.

God bless you sir!


Tim Dahl said...

I think they could do a good job here. Granted, they can't manufacture church planters; but they can be the hub around which planters gather for education, accountability, funding and connectivity/relationships.

For instance, our local association (Tarrant Baptist Association) does a really good job of it. They do an especially good job of training, background checks, and connecting church planters with supporting churches. Also, another good example to follow is Northwood in Keller. They do a great job of training/recruting of church planters.


William Thornton said...

Bob, I get the sense that namb is acutely aware of the church failure rate.

Anonymous said...

The last thing we need in the Dallas Metroplex is a bunch of new Baptist churches. Instead they need to figure out how to make the ones they have do the things they are supposed to do.

And I guarantee you that the answer isn't yet another mega-church pastored by some egotistical super hero.

William Thornton said...

Here's what I got from NAMB: The emphasis is on areas outside the heavily churched south. NAMB has identified 29 strategic cities that need church planting emphasis and no city in Texas is on that list. And, while there was a megachurch presence at the conference, most of what I heard was from pastors whose philosophy is to start new, autonomous churches with their best members rather than to build a bishopric.