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By Joe Conway
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The North American Mission Board (NAMB) is
partnering with the 9Marks collective, a network devoted to pastor support,
church health and church planting, to host a church revitalization conference,
Tues., Oct. 27 at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. 9Marks exists to
equip church leaders with a biblical vision and practical resources for
displaying God’s glory to the nations through healthy churches.
The one-day event will feature 9 Marks president and Capitol Hill
Baptist senior pastor Mark Dever. Also featured at the conference will be Mark
Clifton, NAMB Church Replanting national strategist and Los Angeles church
planter and urban strategist D. A. Horton, among others. Dever has written
extensively on the subject of church health.
and I in this next generation have the opportunity to step in there and with
the help of the Spirit of God to actually see churches turn around to see new
life come into churches,” Dever said.
The four years since NAMB launched its Send North America strategy has brought
renewed energy to Southern Baptist church planting and a focus on expanding the
Gospel in some of the most influential population centers in the United States
and Canada. The overall health of church plants, and planters, has improved
with numerical evidence. Increased baptism rates, along with significant
strides in church plant survival and missions giving, are hallmarks among the
Perhaps drawing less attention, but no less energy, is the issue of
church health across the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). That is where the
Send North America emphasis of partnership over process has ignited a movement
of church revitalization. Church planting centers and individual churches
continue to see church health as critical to church planting. Unhealthy
churches, experts agree, should not plant churches.
Clifton, a church planter with experience in Canada and the U.S., most
recently help revitalize a dying congregation in Kansas City. He has been
leading church revitalization gatherings for NAMB with Woodstock Baptist Church
senior pastor Johnny Hunt for the past year.
“A church that does not produce fruit is dying; even if the bills are
being paid and people continue to attend,” said Clifton. “Each year over 900
SBC churches close their doors. Each week we plant 20 SBC churches and we close
Clifton said some of the common symptoms of unhealthy churches include
valuing the process of decision making over the outcome, valuing member preferences
over the needs of the unreached, the inability to pass leadership to the next
generation and eventual irrelevance within their community.
Churches which observe the warning signs should move toward more healthy
practices in all these areas. Clifton recommends serious reflection and
decisive action for planters hoping to help revitalize a congregation.
“They need to realize it is first and foremost it is spiritual warfare
and prepare accordingly,” said Clifton. “Church planters need to love the
remaining members and warm their hearts to the Gospel. They need to intentionally
develop young men to build leadership.”
Clifton said simplification goes a long way to help churches turn back
toward health. He encourages churches to re-engage their communities and serve
them with radical generosity.
For more information about the 9Marks & NAMB Church Revitalization
Conference, visit http://9marks.org/event/2015/10/9m-namb. View a video
invitation from Mark Dever at http://www.namb.net/9Marks. If you have a question about church
revitalization, visit http://www.namb.net/revitalization or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joe Conway writes
for the North American Mission Board.
Date Created: 9/4/2015 2:50:29 PM
By Sara Shelton
WASHINGTON, D.C. – With
nearly 5.8 million people living in the Washington, D.C., area, Send North
America: D.C. city coordinator Clint
Clifton knows local church planters
can’t do it alone.
“To make any significant
progress in Washington, D.C., it’s going to take a major commitment from
partners,” Clifton explains.
Clifton and his team of planters at Send North America: D.C. have found their
partners in the leadership and congregation of Cross Pointe Church in Duluth,
Ga. Under the leadership of James Merritt, Cross Pointe pastor and former
Southern Baptist Convention president, the staff and congregation have quickly
come behind the D.C. initiative to see more churches planted in the area this
“Planting healthy, self-sustaining churches in urban areas like our nations
capital will take a coalition of committed and connected churches,” explains
Mark Maynard, missions pastor at Cross Pointe. “Our goal is to provide a way
for churches of all sizes to partner in church planting in Washington, D.C.”
In collaboration with Send
North America: D.C., Cross Pointe hopes to act as a multiplying church center
for the Washington, D.C., metro area. Their goal is to plant and multiply churches
first in the District of Columbia and then across the entire metro area.
To kick-off their
partnership in 2013 and begin to share their strategy for multiplying churches
in the city, Cross Pointe hosted pastors from five different states to
participate in a D.C. church planting strategy meeting.
“From that January
meeting, all five churches joined our D.C. church planting collective,” said
hope is to get five more partners at this weekend’s vision tour. One
church plant, Pillar D.C., will launch this summer.”
Those in attendance heard
from Merritt and Clifton as well as Send North America Northeast Regional
Mobilizer Kevin Marsico. Together, the men cast the vision for a strategy to see churches
planted and multiplied in D.C. over the next five years.
“We are so encouraged that there was a positive response from churches that our
pastor invited,” says Larry Herndon, executive pastor at Cross Pointe Church.
“It’s great to know that there are other churches interested in partnering
together to plant churches according to God’s plan.”
Looking ahead, the team at
Cross Pointe will launch specific churchwide campaigns as well as host
additional strategy meetings to share the vision of multiplying churches and
seek out additional partners for the planters working in Washington, D.C. For
Clifton, the support of Cross Pointe has helped spur on the work of church
planting and evangelism in the city of D.C.
“Like William Cary’s famous
quote, ‘I will go down, if you will hold the rope,’ new churches simply will
not be planted if existing churches aren’t willing to hold the rope,” Clifton
says. “Dr. Merritt and the Cross Pointe team have not only agreed to ‘hold the
rope,’ but they are passionately advocating that others join them in doing so.”
For more on Send North America:
D.C., visit namb.net/cities.
Sara Shelton writes for the North American Mission
Date Created: 5/30/2014 11:46:05 AM
WASHINGTON, D.C. – When Nathan Knight moved his family to the northwest area of Washington,
D.C. in May 2009, he did so with the intention of planting Restoration Church
with friend and ministry partner Joey Craft. Both recent graduates of
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, the two desired to plant a church in
an urban area, a place where the nations were represented and the potential for
influence was abundant, but, most importantly, where the need for a strong,
gospel-centered church was evident.
“We weren’t from D.C. and we didn’t know anybody when we
arrived,” Knight recalls. “But it came down to the simple fact that there was a
need in Washington D.C. and we were willing to fill it.”
However, the work of church planting is a sometimes slow and
daunting process, leading Knight to take a more unique path to growing his
“Whatever we could do to get people in a conversation or
into our homes for a meal to get to know them better… that was our ministry,”
Knight says. “We were just trying to be intentional on the streets and in our
daily lives to build relationships and a presence in the community.”
For Knight, that included taking a job at the local
Starbucks, coaching a little league team, playing in a tennis league and
joining a community softball league.
“We call it the ‘ministry of the mundane,’ simply seizing
the more mundane, everyday moments and opportunities we all live in to draw
people into conversation and relationship and, eventually, to Christ.”
It was in one of these moments that Knight met Tyrone and
Edna, a homeless couple who regularly sold newspapers outside of Starbucks.
Knight spoke with them regularly, eventually inviting them into his home to
participate in a Bible study. The couple came to the first meeting and rarely
missed another one after that.
Eventually, with commitment and friendship from Knight and
the team at the fledgling Restoration Church, both Tyrone and Edna surrendered
their lives to Christ and became dedicated members to the ministry of the
“I had no idea that when we were praying for persons of
peace to help us connect in the community that those prayers would be answered
with two homeless people who sat out in front of one of the most highly
trafficked areas in the city,” Knight says. “Everyone knew Tyrone in
particular, and he would always tell people how much he loved Jesus and Restoration Church. Because of him, I was
able to share the gospel with scores of people.”
When the Restoration Church officially covenanted in March
2010, Tyrone and Edna were considered a part of the congregation. And when
Tyrone died last November after a heart attack, it was the congregation of
Restoration Church that surrounded and supported Edna.
“Our church has really come around Edna. It’s been a joy to
see her served and built up through Christ in this time.”
Knight preached the sermon at Tyrone’s memorial service,
held just up the street from the spot where he met the couple years ago.
“At the service, I was able to preach the gospel to both the
lawyers and the homeless, the black and white, saved and lost, all because of
Tyrone and his life well lived.”
Now almost four years into ministry in the city, Knight and
the team at Restoration Church are still seeking out these everyday moments to
intersect the lives of D.C. residents like Tyrone and Edna with the gospel of
Christ. Though outreach in such a liberal, well-educated area can be difficult,
the church has been blessed with continued growth and inroads in ministry
within the community.
“We always have a sense that what’s next on the horizon for
our church is just the next appointment someone in our congregation might have
to meet with someone over a meal or a coffee to share
their lives. For us, the small things build into great things when lives begin
to reflect Christ to the watching world.”
For more on
Restoration Church, visit restorationchurchdc.com.
Date Created: 3/7/2013 9:36:31 AM
FAIRFAX, Va. – “Find out where God is
at work and join Him there.”
This thought from author Henry Blackaby was in Ron Jones’
mind as he set on the path to plant
Capital City Fellowship near Washington, D.C. Having moved from the buckle of
the Bible belt in Texas to pastor a large, established church in the
area, Jones’ passion for planting spurred in his heart the desire to see a new
work started in the city.
“Church planting is sort of in my DNA,” Jones explains. “I
really think everybody in ministry ought to plant a church or be a part of
planting a church. It’s a very powerful experience.”
While in New Orleans for the 2012 Southern Baptist
Convention, Jones attended a pastors’ lunch hosted by the North American
Mission Board. There, he heard the vision cast for Send North America, NAMB’s strategy
to help churches and individuals become
active in all regions of North America to lead people to faith in Jesus Christ
and start new churches.
“That is truly a God-sized
vision,” Jones says of the strategy. “We were already thinking through and
being encouraged in planting a church in D.C. but we really wanted to get in
stride with what we felt God was going to do through Send North America: D.C.”
Jones officially partnered with
Send North America: D.C. and set to work laying the foundation for Capital City
Fellowship. With the support of NAMB and partner churches in Colorado, New
Mexico and Virginia, Capital City Fellowship officially launched weekly
services in January 2013.
The church is already running more than 100 regular attendees
and growing. The congregation meets on the campus of George Mason University in
Fairfax, Va., a suburb just outside of D.C. Though a temporary location,
meeting on the campus has opened the door for Jones and his team to minister to
the Fairfax community as well as the students matriculating at George Mason.
“I love the proximity we have
to the next generation by meeting on a university campus.”
Reaching those who influence
both this generation and the next is at the heart of the vision behind Capital
City Fellowship. Jones hopes to not only see his church grow, but to eventually
plant other churches just like it throughout the D.C. area and even in other
capital cities across North America.
“If we can plant
Bible-believing, gospel-centered churches in and around the places where our
nations’ leaders are, just merely by proximity we’ll have an opportunity to
influence those who influence our nation,” Jones says. “We have a vision to
plant a network of churches across the nation’s capital, but also in capital
cities around the United States. That’s at least 50 churches working to see
Christ glorified in our country.”
For now, the focus remains on
building momentum at Capital City Fellowship to point the surrounding community
back to Christ. Jones and his team believe that the work they are doing will
succeed, not because of their efforts but because of the one who called them to
“Jesus said, ‘I will build my
church and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.’ If Jesus builds it, the
people will come. I’m just along for the ride.”
For more on Capital City Fellowship, visit
Date Created: 3/4/2013 2:45:41 PM
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