Baptist21 will continue to release the GCR Task Force videos from each member as they are released. This one from J.D. Greear fits greatly with our current series “The Future of Church Planting in the SBC.” He talks about the Primacy of the Local Church and good parachurchism. Check out this video. And check out J.D. Greear and his ministry, he is someone that future pastors should learn from in the opinion of baptist21.
The second video is from “The Nines.”
From the Leadership Network Website:
What if you could sit down across your desk with some of the best leaders in today’s church and hear what they would say to you? That’s the idea behind THE NINES. Leadership Network asked some of the church’s greatest communicators: “If you had nine minutes to talk one-on-one with thousands of church leaders, what is the one thing that you would tell them?”
The Primacy of the Local Church should also help the mission board make church planting its primary concern (maybe only concern). The main focus of a home mission board should be the planting of churches. It should be a church planting network. Why? Jesus promised that He would build His church (Matt. 16:18), not just save individual people. When the Church at Antioch sent Paul out to accomplish the Great Commission he went planting churches not just evangelizing individuals disconnected from a community of believers. Christ is purchasing and building a people who are in community with one another (Acts 2:42-47). The local church is the manifestation of Christ’s Kingdom community on earth. So, the local church is the body commissioned by King Jesus with the task of carrying the Gospel forward. This is done as the Gospel is declared with our lips and displayed with our actions. The primary way that the Gospel is to be displayed is in the way in which believers within local churches demonstrate the cross-love of Jesus of Nazareth as they take care of one another (cf. John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:10-23). This will mean meeting the needs of those in the family of faith first of all, but also displaying mercy to those in the larger community. The Church is the community commissioned to take care of the needs of people (not the government), both chief needs (salvation) and felt needs (mercy ministry). The Church is commissioned with discipling and training its people, more so than seminaries or bible colleges. Finally, the Church is the chosen vehicle that demonstrates to the Prince of the Power of the Air that his rule has ended. Therefore, to be of utmost effectiveness, a home mission board should be about planting these “outposts of the Kingdom”. Why do we say all this about the church? Because the Church will most effectively meet the problems in our cities and country. So, it is our job to plant as many of them as we can to address the great need of the world. If we plant healthy, vibrant churches we will experience better missions, better mercy ministries, better discipleship, better church planting, resurgence of baptisms, and more ministers called out. A great article to read about the church and parachurch ministry is an article by Russell Moore entitled, “Jesus Didn’t Die for Your Campus Ministry.”
The Primacy of the Local Church will set in place a Church-focused Strategy. Here is the strategy, “Find the churches who are already planting healthy churches and let them set the pace.” The main strategy of this church planting network should be to find churches that are planting well, support them, and teach others to follow their pattern. The mission board should find those churches that have the vision to do this and have a track record of doing it well. There are many examples here to follow. One pattern could be that of FBC Woodstock and Pastor Johnny Hunt. They pick strategic areas that need churches and they bring in men who they think are capable of planting and they train them on site for nearly six months. They train additional staff for a couple of months and they encourage people to go with the church planting team and make up the church’s initial core group. They then send them out with great financial resources. These churches have proven to be successful. Here is what Danny Akin said about them in an interview in 2008 with the Western Recorder, “First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Ga., which has started three churches in the Las Vegas, Nev., area and funded them initially with $500,000 each. Each church now runs more than 1,000 members.” This is a model to emulate. The church planting network should come along side of a church like Woodstock by: 1) giving them the resources necessary to do this on an even greater scale and 2) helping them model this for other churches. For churches that are smaller, they could emulate churches like Open Door Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC (here is a baptist21 podcast with Open Door’s Pastor Dwayne Milioni). So far Open Door has planted 3 churches with 3 more in the works very soon. All of them are viable and the plants are even looking themselves to plant other churches. Open Door has planted on a small scale because of resource limitations, but if they were to be aided by a church planting network they could send many more out. For very small churches, this church planting network could help them form “networks” or associations with other local churches in which they pool money together and help each other plant churches. The main call of the board should be to come along side all these churches and help them plant. Churches that for whatever reason feel that they absolutely cannot plant but still have a passion to see churches planted in order to reach North America would still be able to give to the church planting network to be a part of something greater than themselves through the Cooperative Program.
Jon and Nathan Akin
Part 3 of this series will deal with streamlining this church planting network
In all of the talk about the Great Commission Resurgence (GCR), part of the conversation usually drifts to what will help energize the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Many believe that the denomination is at defcon4 (though a small minority sees no issues with declining baptisms, membership, giving, and other ominous factors). What will help revitalize the churches that make up the SBC and their mission efforts at home and abroad? What will energize younger pastor’s participation in and hope for the SBC? We do not propose to have all the answers, but we, along with many others, do think one thing is vital to the future of the SBC and the continued participation of young pastors. We must have a vital North American Church Planting Network, and right now we just do not seem to have one. The North American Mission Board (NAMB) appears to be in upheaval with leadership uncertainty, frustrations with planting, and a lack of a unified approach. This is not to say that the North American Mission Board does not do some effective and good things. NAMB has been used of God to plant many healthy churches. But can we do better? Can we develop a church planting strategy that has a higher success rate and is more directly tied to the local church? We think the answer is “Yes!”
We want to propose what a vital church planting network might look like and be characterized by. Since the SBC has an existing home Mission Board this proposal will of necessity offer suggestions that call for some change in that existing board. However, we are not naïve enough to think that the vision we propose will be easily implemented when there is an existing structure in place. Much of this discussion will focus on what such a church planting network might look like built from the ground up. We also understand that much more than what we will lay out here goes into this kind of network.
The Primacy of the local church – this network must be characterized and driven by the primacy of the local church as the body created by King Jesus to plant other churches. Ultimately, local churches rather than mission boards “run point” on planting churches. Why? The church is the one commissioned to do this. Not a home mission board. Acts 13 shows us that the Church at Antioch under the power of the Holy Spirit recognized, commissioned, and sent Paul and Barnabas for the purpose of church planting. So what is the role of the church planting network? Ultimately, the network or the board is to be a servant to the churches of the SBC. Our local, state and national entities were NOT created to DO the work of the local church. National church planting networks are merely to serve the church. The New Testament gives the mandate to churches to multiply and not to mission boards. J.D. Greear, of the Summit Church and the Great Commission Task force, has written several articles about “parachurchism.” He writes, “Parachurch ministries (and, denominations and networks) exist to facilitate the ministry of the local church…denominational networks are simply functional tools that churches can use to accomplish the mission given to them… Good parachurch ministries facilitate the ministry of the church. Bad parachurch takes ministry from a local church and does it for her. Bad parachurch says, ‘Give us money and people and we’ll do ministry for you.’” We believe, unfortunately, that our North American church planting network has operated under the bad parachurch category in the past, supplanting the church as the vehicle that plants churches.
The Primacy of the Local Church in planting would mean a better selection process - In the New Testament and throughout most of Baptist life, the church has been the one that confirmed the call of the pastor. We must recover this in Baptist life; not every “Billy Baptist” that says he thinks it is time to go into vocational ministry is called out. The person’s internal calling must be confirmed by the external calling of his local church setting him apart for ministry. God calls people to ministry through the church. This, again, is the pattern we see when the Church at Antioch recognized the calling of Paul and Barnabas to mission and sent them out (Acts 13:1-3). If the churches will do this, then they can mark out the ones they think are fit to be Planters (based on elder qualifications in the NT). They will have the advantage of seeing these men on a day in day out basis and so will know them even more intimately than a board or a network can. They will know how these men love their wives and their children. The Church will know and see their ministry gifts as they are exercised in the fire of local church ministry. And the Church will then be responsible to send them out, this is great because the onus will be on that church and most churches would not waste time and resources on one that is not called and competent. This process would avoid sending isolated individuals disconnected from local church ministry. It would also weed out disgruntled planters who want to start something new because they do not see anyone else “doing it right.” Church planting pastors need to first follow the godly leadership of an older pastor before they plant. They must be able to submit to authority before they can be in authority.
Jon and Nathan Akin
In part 2, we will continue to examine the primacy of the local church and how it should impact our church planting.
The website Pray4GCR will regularly be releasing videos by the members of the GCR task force. Each member has been asked a couple of questions to spur their video interview. Up first is Dr. Albert Mohler on “Could We Be Doing More?” Let’s continue to pray for this task force as they seek to move a Great Commission Resurgence forward.
Part of Baptist21’s purpose is to acknowledge that “We are grateful to God for the Southern Baptist Convention and the heritage that has been given to us as Southern Baptists. We do indeed stand on the shoulders of giants, men and women of God, who have persevered in contending for the faith and declaring Jesus to the nations in cooperation with one another… without the faithfulness of great Southern Baptist leaders of the past we would not be here today.”
In the spirit of our purpose, we would like to draw our readers’ attention to a new podcast that highlights one of those giants of the faith. Recently, the W.A. Criswell library has announced that all of his sermons are available for free MP3 download and that they are launching an initial podcast of his 1961 sermon series through the book of Revelation. This is great news. Dr. Criswell Pastored the First Baptist Church, Dallas for more than 50 years. Dr. Criswell was an expositor and during his time he was known as one of the most powerful preachers in the world. He is most well known for preaching straight through the bible over a 20-year span at FBC Dallas.
What is the Criswell Library? From their site: “The W. A. Criswell Sermon Library, a collection of over two thousand sermons Dr. W. A. Criswell preached during his fifty-five years of ministry at the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas.”
What can be found on the Site? This site contains videos, audio, manuscripts, featured monthly sermons, CLASSIC Criswell sermons, and sermon outlines. You can search the site by date, category, topic, and verse. Because he preached through the entire Bible you can find a resource for almost any text you are preaching or teaching!
Stay tuned for further podcasts to be launched from the Criswell Library and take advantage now of the many sermons available for free download.
Why Does Baptist21 Want You to Know About This Website and Podcast? We want you to get to know and love Dr. Criswell. He had longevity at one pastorate that is worthy of emulation. He was an expositor that thundered away in the pulpit. He is a hero that helped us turn the tide from liberalism in the SBC. And many of us personally love his oratory ability from the pulpit. We should honor men like this who have passed down the faith to us, we can think of no better way than putting his vast resources to use in our day. We hope that you will get to know about his life and his preaching. Here are a few tributes to Dr. Criswell and a site set up by the SBC to honor Dr. Criswell.
What have others said about Criswell? “Dr. W.A. Criswell was a giant in the land, and it is now hard to imagine Baptist life without him. He towered over our denominational life for a half-century, casting a shadow that shaped at least three generations of pastors and Baptist leaders. His robust pulpit ministry led to a recovery of biblical exposition among Baptist preachers and those of other evangelical denominations. He was a bold champion for biblical truth, and this great lion gave courage to thousands of others. He was larger than life, and his influence will continue long after his death. His pastorate at First Baptist Church in Dallas set the pace for the rise of great multi-thousand-member congregations all across the nation. His ‘Schools of the Prophets’ armed preachers with the tools to preach the Word with power.
Beyond all this, his personality and charm were titanic in proportion to his person. The whole character of a room changed the minute W.A. Criswell entered. He loved people — and his warmth could charm the hardest heart. Even those with whom he disagreed could not help smiling when they talked about him. He was living, breathing, Baptist history — flawlessly dressed, Bible in hand, ready to preach. He had many friends, but no peers. He was a proud graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he was by any measure the most famous graduate of this school in the 20th century. Southern Seminary will be forever proud of this great graduate. He was a great encourager to me as president. When I saw him last, he asked that I take a blessing back to our students. ‘I will never get to meet you young preachers in this life,’ he said. “But preach the Word — and know that I will be waiting on heaven’s lowest step to greet you when we all get to heaven.’ His eyes sparkled as he envisioned the scene. I thank God for the life and ministry of W.A. Criswell, and for the opportunity to have known a giant of our times.” R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
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