What is the state of the church planting movement in North America? Where are we, and where are we going?

Nearly 100 current and future church planters met for dinner and networking at the fall kickoff banquet of the Fellowship of North American Church Planters, where these and other questions were answered, Sept. 20. Steve Lee, professor of church planting, and Clarity Thoreson, president of the fellowship, organized the evening focused on the church planting movement in North America.

After enjoying a complimentary barbeque dinner, students from numerous degree programs heard of how God is working through church planting everywhere from Texas to Vancouver, Canada.

Lee noted the threefold mission of the fellowship: to promote church planting and raise awareness, to encourage current and future planters along their journey, and to pray for planters and revival in their cities. With this in mind, speakers involved in church planting spoke of the ministry opportunities throughout many different contexts.

Richard Taylor, who serves as church planting associate with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, told students of the network available through the SBTC. Afterward, Tarrant Baptist Association Executive Director David Bowman revealed the explosive population growth of Tarrant County and discussed the need for planting both at home in Texas and in metropolitan and international cities such as Vancouver, Canada. Ryan Ross, missions minister at Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church, explained the need in another strategic city, Baltimore, Maryland. Finishing up, Robert Webb, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Kaufman, Texas, encouraged the fellowship with details of a church plant project in Troy, New York.

Southwestern is active and engaged in the church planting endeavor. Through strategic networks at multiple levels, church planting students can gain both classroom and hands-on learning; not just the theory but also the practice. Current church planters represent the activity of the movement today, and future planters, like those in the fellowship, represent the church planters of tomorrow.