Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


The Impact of a Single Church

  • Jim Townsley
  • Mar 20, 2008

In 1754 a man by the name of Shubal Stearns moved from Tolland, Connecticut to Sandy Creek, North Carolina where he started the Sandy Creek Baptist Church. The initial group consisted of eight men and their wives, mostly relatives of Stearns. The church quickly grew from sixteen members to over six hundred. Soon the church had extended its influence by starting additional churches as far west as the Mississippi, southward as far as Georgia, eastward to the Atlantic, and northward to the Potomac. In 17 years, it had become mother, grandmother, and great grandmother to 42 churches, from which sprang 125 ministers." Ultimately it is estimated that three thousand churches were established from the influence of this single church.The influence of this single church was so great that this new frontier of the South became dotted with Baptist churches. A careful study of the location of Baptists today will quickly reveal that the majority of them are in the South in the so called, "Bible Belt." The response to the biblical command to go into all the world resulted in the establishment of thousands of churches. This occurred during the early migration of colonial settlers in early America. This church had a vision, and seized the opportunity for the cause of Christ.

Do we see the opportunity before us today? The mission field is coming to us. Asians, Hispanics, Africans, and multitudes of others are migrating to our shores. Many of them are coming form countries that are considered closed to the gospel. What an opportunity to reach the lost and start churches, not only in America, but to send these new believers back to their closed countries to start churches.

What plans do you have to start a church in the near future? Do you hope to start a church in America? If churches are to start churches then who will start them if you don't. If you live in the Bible Belt, where churches are plentiful you may think starting churches in America is unnecessary. But the truth is that most of America is unevangelized, and large cities are without even one gospel preaching church. The Northeast, the West, and every major city is destitute for Bible preaching churches. Imagine the impact on our country if hundreds of churches caught the vision like Shubal Stearns and started scores of churches. Every church can and should do something to help in the starting of independent Baptist churches in America.

Consider some of the things your church could do to help in this timely cause:

1. Talk about church planting to your congregation and to your preacher friends.

2. Challenge young men and little boys to become church planters.

3. Financially support church planters.

4. Set aside 10% or more of your missions money specifically for church planting in the United States.

5. Hire a young man on staff and train him to go out and start a church.

6. Survey areas, near and far, that need a church and pray for a man to go to that area.

7. Send a team of people to help a new church plant through visitation and soul-winning.

8. Become a reproducing church. (Where the pastor is the leader and the church family has as its goal the reproducing of a new church.)

9. Pray for men in your church to start a church.

10. Send a family to help for a period of time in a new church plant. (Church sitting)

11. Print, provide, or distribute John and Romans.

12. Help prepare a meeting place. (It may include remodeling)

13. Provide names of pastors to a church planter to help him raise monthly support.

14. Help with the design and development of the new church's church website.

15. Print or provide money for prayer cards.

16. Provide needed items. (Computer, printer, piano or keyboard, tracts, New Testaments, communion set, offering plates, a pulpit, etc.

A good example for every fundamental church to follow would be the church at Jerusalem. A church following the example of the Jerusalem church would be a thriving church with souls being saved, baptized, and taught. In addition, simultaneously it would be training and supporting church planters to reach the surrounding areas. Finally, it would be concerned about the souls in the regions beyond and be supporting, praying, and sending their best members. When it comes to the surrounding area, they would have a burden to reach specific towns. The church, led by the pastor, would devise a plan to hold meetings and train a young man to go. Special meetings and visitation would be conducted by the church members and services started. The young couple would be commissioned to become the pastor of the church and ongoing financial support provided as well as counsel.

Every church should have a plan to start a church somewhere. Starting a church on purpose is different from starting a church from a split. If every fundamental Baptist church had a plan over the next twenty years to start four new churches, and if half of the new churches started one church we would have over 100,000 Independent Baptist Churches in America within that time frame. This would result in our mission support increasing five times its current level and we would produce five times as many foreign missionaries as at present. We could change the face of our nation and the world.

Every church must recognize the importance of getting the gospel to the ends of the earth by being strong at home and by starting more mission minded churches. May God help us to get the vision!