This past September, I was asked by Mark Hallock, Regional Replanting Coach of the Rocky Mountain Region of the North American Missions Board, to serve on his replanting team. I remember the first conversation well—it was over a late dinner at the Black-Eyed Pea in Englewood, Colorado. It was there that I was once again acquainted with the expression: “We’re building the plane as we’re flying it.”
What is replanting? More than 70 percent of Southern Baptist churches are either plateaued or declining in number. Fifteen percent of all churches are within two years of shutting their doors. In fact, over 900 SBC churches close their doors every year (approximately 17 per Sunday). Replanting seeks to reverse the trend to keep us losing any more gospel presences in North America. Replanting seeks to start a process to see if churches are willing to face the leadership challenges and changes necessary to turn things around and go from surviving to sound to thriving.
John Mark Clifton, the head of the replanting initiative at NAMB, tells us more about what this is all about:
We are in the process now of identifying and calling on churches ready to replant, starting the process of assessing those interested and called to replant (assessments, internships, sending), and beginning in the Fall holding one-day conferences on the subject of replanting and revitalization here in the West.
At the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, MO, NAMB will hold a National Replant Gathering June 11-12. I would encourage all of you interested in learning more about this ministry or about your direct involvement to attend. You’ll see the great lineup of speakers, but more importantly, you’ll network with those who have a passion for this and (like you) hate to see any more churches and gospel presences close.
I am thrilled at what God is doing—not just with church planting, but church replanting. Visit the NAMB Replant blog at http://www.namb.net/replant.