Church planting workshops conducted at four locations this week emphasized that every Kentucky Baptist church can be involved in multiplying disciples, leaders and churches.
Bland Mason, a former Kentucky Baptist pastor who left Kentucky to plant City on a Hill Brookline in Boston — and since then the church has multiplied by planting seven other churches and partnering to assist in many other new works — encouraged church leaders to teach that church planting is not a program, but a culture of the church.
And he gave various examples of small churches that have made Kingdom impact by planting churches and partnering with church planters.
RELATED: Check out more stories on church planting here.
4 types of churches
At the Jan. 24 workshop at the Kentucky Baptist Convention Building, evangelism associate Kenny Rager told attendees there are four types of churches:
• A cooperating church, which impacts lostness by praying for church planters and investing through the Cooperative Program and the state’s mission offering.
• A supporting church, which partners with a church plant by praying, participating and providing for needs as the Lord leads.
• A sending church, which impacts lostness by sending planters and helping them be equipped and resourced for multiplication.
• A multiplying church, which impacts lostness by discovering, developing and deploying church planting teams.
“Whatever the church size or budget, God can take that and begin to move you to see churches planted,” Mason told church leaders, recalling that when he and his family moved to Boston in November 2008, he connected “with one of the few Southern Baptist church plants that had survived there.”
From 1998–2008, there was a 90% failure rate for church plants.
Five critical steps
Mason said there are five critical steps toward multiplying churches — own it, assess, count the cost, build a roadmap and take the next step.
“Church planting is inherent in the Great Commission,” he said related to the ‘own it’ principle.
“How can you possibly do that (disciple) without a church? The church is the incubator for disciples.”
He noted in Scripture that baptism quickly became associated with planting of local churches. “Teaching is a lifelong journey — how can we teach somebody to obey unless we are walking along with them on a daily basis? Paul planted churches — we have been a church planting denomination.
“I bought into the vision of planting a church that planted churches. I knew Boston didn’t need a church of 10,000 people but needed 10 to 20 churches of 100 to 200.”
He cited the financial reality of that premise. “If God gave us 1,000 people today, I don’t know where would put them,” he said. “There are no spaces to rent, and it would cost $10 million to buy a building.”
Bring other churches to the table
Mason addressed the issue of church size and said that should not be a deterrent to be involved in church planting. “Nobody says planting church has to be big. I’ve seen churches as small as 50 people plant a church. It is never a solo project — it is always bringing other (churches) to the table.
Pastors and church leaders have to own it — you cannot make it a project. If you have never planted a church, you have not owned it. This is a journey to build a different culture in your church, it is not a program.”
Attendees went through a gospel culture assessment early in the workshop session.
Mason pointed out a strong partnering church in located in Dallas, Georgia — in the middle of nowhere.” He said it has planted dozens of other churches, and the church worked with churches which averaged anywhere from 50 to 200 people, and encouraged those churches which couldn’t take on a church plant by themselves to go there and learn how they could be involved.
Mason said one of the challenges for a church planting mentality in Boston is the turnover of people attending church and the need to continue to emphasize the need to multiply churches.
“We are a very transient city — I realized in October that our church was 50% different than it was 14 months ago,” he said. “Those 50% didn’t understand why we planted — they were not against it, they just didn’t know anything about it.”
The workshop focused on the costs of church planting, which is more than just the financial aspect.
“Kingdom-mindedness means you are going to send your best,” Mason noted. That means replacing someone who leaves to plant. “We like to see attendance and numbers grow, so you have to realize it’s not a bad thing (when some leave your church to be involved in a church plant). There is a financial cost for sure, and partners help with the financial cost.
4 common reasons churches don’t get involved
Mason noted four common reasons churches don’t get involved in church plants:
• They don’t have people to send
• They don’t have the money
• Their people aren’t ready
• They don’t feel led to plant churches.
“I think that is a discipleship issue,” Mason said, encouraging leaders to “address these ideas before they come up. As you introduce planting, address the issues that are going to come up.”
He talked about the reality that many often think size of their church is an issue to deploying a church planting effort.
“If you are trying to plant with other churches, then size doesn’t matter — other churches can often make up the difference. Your church exists because some other church planted it,” he said.
Mason said when churches were planted many years ago, it “was probably a bigger sacrifice than it is today. Imagine how hard it was to send people to another community knowing you might not see them again for years.”
He provided advice on helping pastors take clear steps in building a gospel-driven evangelistic culture in their church with the goal of reaching the lost and raising up leaders for the harvest.
In a workbook provided to attendees, leaders were given 10 ways to pray for a planter (from a planter), ways to participate with planters, 10 questions for a meaningful participating with a planter and ways to provide for needs as the Lord leads. That information is available from the KBC evangelism team.