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SBC church planting noted by Christianity Today magazine


FRESNO, Calif. (BP) — Church planting by Southern Baptists, and California Southern Baptists in particular, has caught the attention of Christianity Today magazine.

An article, titled “Go and Plant Churches of All Peoples,” featured church planting in several denominations across the United States as the “default mode for evangelism” and the key factor in helping them grow.

“No denomination invests more in church planting than the Southern Baptist Convention,” senior writer Tim Stafford wrote in CT’s September edition. “America’s largest Protestant body wants to double its number of congregations in the next 20 years, to 100,000.”

Richard Harris, senior strategist for missions advancement with the North American Mission Board, recounted that established churches report 3.4 baptisms per 100 resident members, while new churches report 11.7 per 100. “It’s not hard to conclude,” Harris said, “more new churches would lead more people to Christ.”

Churches being started today “are not your father’s Southern Baptist churches,” Stafford wrote, mentioning an “opportunity tour” he took in the San Francisco-Oakland area focusing on where churches need to be started. The tour was featured in the California Southern Baptist newsjournal in December 2006.

The article reported that 60 percent of the SBC’s new churches focus on ethnic minorities.