Texas Baptists reaching an expanding state through church starting

by Paul Atkinson on March 20, 2017 in Faith

What breaks your heart? When you see a people group, a community or a neighborhood that is not being reached with the Gospel, are you compelled to action? Does your heart break when you see someone who may never hear the name of Jesus unless you do something? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you might be an ideal church starting candidate.

Texas Baptists Church Starting works to equip church planters with the skills, encouragement, mentoring and coaching, strategies and funding needed to successfully plant a church in an unreached area or with an unreached people group. Through years of implementation, evaluation and refinement, we have developed a remarkably effective model for reaching the lost in a community. Today, thousands of people are making professions of faith and being baptized because of the efforts of new church plants around the state. If your heart breaks for the lost, this process might be one God is calling you to.

Church Starting is a collective effort, but it is also the pursuit of a unique and personal experience with God. The Texas Baptists Church Starting Experience consists of partners interested in assuming the responsibility God has given them. It provides new churches with assistance in 20 Critical Success Factors and 100 behaviors which include:

  • Vision Empowerment
  • Church Type
  • Core Group Development
  • Launch and Development
  • Planter Commitment
  • Planter Development
  • Planter’s Spiritual Vitality
  • Doctrinal Integrity
  • Covenant Expectations
  • Partner Relationships
  • Member Relationships
  • Coaching Relationship
  • Facilities and Location
  • Furniture and Equipment
  • Administrative Maturity
  • Financial and Legal Matters
  • Organization and Structure
  • Discipleship Strategy
  • Evangelism Strategy
  • Missional Reproduction

The Church Starting Team also provides materials which support these success factors and behaviors.

Church Starting is not just for traditional churches but a wide range of church experiences which include, but are not limited to, Acts 29, African American, Biker, Burmese, Contemporary, Country, Cowboy, Filipino, Hispanic, Karen, Korean, Liberian, Lisu, Mizo, Myanmar, Soma, Zimbabwean, Zotung and any other affinity imaginable.

In 2016, Texas Baptists Church Starting began a new chapter. A Residency program called the Church Planting Center was created. It is our prayer that this process will encourage, facilitate and connect churches in their work to fulfill God’s mission of reconciling the world to Himself. We know that when all parties have a clear, strong, common vision, new churches can grow, reproduce and replenish mission funds.

Our goal is to provide a process for developing church planters through residency programs in partnership with local churches. This residency program can be applied across cultures, areas and creative strategies while valuing our Texas Baptists process and policies. This process is designed to create a church planting community by providing training and fellowship opportunities for church planters and leadership of existing church plants.

This intensive training process includes formal and informal components exhibited in three hours per week in the classroom, covering topics such as administration, coaching, preaching, strategy planning, evangelism/discipleship and leadership. In addition, the residents spend seven hours a week being mentored in a local church plant that is similar to the style and affinity that the resident feels called to plant. It equips church planters to plant churches when the program is completed.

Each candidate must present a preliminary church planting proposal that includes their calling, vision, values and demographics. Each resident must be a member of a church that is affiliated with Texas Baptists. The Church Planting Center is a partnership between the affiliated church in full cooperation with Texas Baptists, the Church Planting Center leadership team, and Texas Baptists Church Starting.

Many people only think of a church start in the first year, but the reality is that we as Texas Baptists work with a new church start for five years. During that five years we see a church go from not only supporting itself, but planting a new work which needs support. They truly become missional – not only in statement, but in action.

Texas is growing exponentially. Church Starting must keep up if we are to impact our changing demographic and culture. Our desire is for Texas Baptist churches to plant churches that will reach people groups that they are not reaching.

If God is calling you to plant a church, call us.  

If God is calling your church to plant and sponsor a church, call us.

If you want to join God in this work of reaching the lost of Texas, you can give to the Cooperative Program.

For more information about starting a church, contact Paul Atkinson at 888.244.9400 or paul.atkinson@texasbaptists.org. You can also visit texasbaptists.org/churchstarting for more details.

Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.

The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

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