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In the year 1900, Mississippi’s population was 1,551,270. That year, Southern Baptists impacted the state through the ministries of 1,562
churches and 55 associations in partnership with the Mississippi Baptist Convention. In the year 2000, Mississippi’s population was
2,844,658 and the Mississippi Baptist Convention was composed of 2,077 churches and 68 associations.
In a 100-year period the state of Mississippi experienced an 83% increase in population, but only a 33% increase in the number of
Southern Baptist churches. In 1900, there was one Southern Baptist church for every 993 persons living in the state. In the year 2000, there
was one Southern Baptist church for every 1,370 persons in the state. Mississippi’s population continues to grow, while more than half our
residents are unchurched. Mississippi Baptists need to strengthen and revitalize existing churches, but also plant new churches in strategic
locations that can reach all Mississippians with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is easy to assume that Mississippi is overchurched, but in proper perspective Mississippi is a mission field so populous that it can’t
be won to Christ without starting new churches. God is bringing people to Mississippi from literally all over the world! It is our
opportunity to plant an authentic, culturally relevant Southern Baptist church in strategic locations to reach the more than two million
residents of the state who do not attend any church. We are constantly challenged to present the never-changing message of Jesus Christ to
an ever-changing society and culture. In response to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ, a church planting strategy challenges “On Mission
Christians” to evangelize globally and make disciples of all people groups.
Experience demonstrates that churches that plant other churches tend to experience more rapid growth than those not involved in
reproducing. God seems to bless these churches in miraculous ways.
Someone has said:
“To grow something that lasts a season, plant flowers,
To grow something that lasts a lifetime, plant trees,
To grow something that lasts through eternity, plant churches.”
In a recent publication, Seven Steps to Planting a Church, the North American Mission Board, S.B.C. presents a compelling argument for
planting new churches:
The M.B.C.B. through its Church Planting Department partners with the North American Mission Board, local churches and
associations to plant new churches throughout Mississippi. Cooperation is a Baptist distinctive and is of significant importance to Southern
Baptists. God can give the vision for church planting to any individual or group; however, transitioning from vision to plan, place and
process is best done through cooperative effort and teamwork. The Church Planting Department will endeavor to organize a support network of
partners to enhance the success possibilities for every new church planted.
There are numerous resources available when the state convention, association, local churches, and caring individuals offer what God has
entrusted to their care. The first avenue of resourcing focuses on DISCOVERY of a location, need, and the resources available to start a new
church. Some Discovery tools include: demographic analysis and field assessments, associational probes, sponsorship covenants,
consultations, key churches, financial assistance through limited congregational grants, and a prayer ministry for church planting.
The second avenue of resourcing focuses on DEVELOPMENT of the church planter and mission. This includes orientation, assessment, basic
training, mentoring, networking and implementation of human resources and support services.
The third avenue of resources focuses on DEPLOYMENT of a core group of volunteers, trained specialists, skilled leaders and sponsoring
churches committed to being labor intensive in building Acts 1:8 congregations, comprised of “On Mission Christians,” who will ultimately
become involved in a Church Planting Multiplication movement.
Mississippi Baptists have many opportunities to become involved in a church planting movement by praying, giving, going, and serving.
The assigned task of the Church Planting Department is to encourage churches and associations to carry out the Great Commission,
beginning at home in Mississippi. As a key strategy for the Mississippi Baptist Convention, church planting will improve the church to
population ratio and membership to population ratio in every county of the state and bring multitudes to know Christ as their personal Lord
The local Southern Baptist association is the best place for initial contact about church planting. Most associations have developed a
missions committee (council/team) for the purpose of addressing the need for new churches within the association. Many local churches have
great interest, leadership and resources to invest in beginning new churches. The Church Planting Department of the MBCB is always available
to partner with others in church planting possibilities.
The Church Planting Department, in partnership with associations and churches, will lead Mississippi Baptists to plant as many
new culturally relevant, reproducing churches as needed to reach the non-Christian and unchurched population of Mississippi.
The Church Planting Department will strategically and catalytically partner with every viable unit of Mississippi Baptist Life to
discover, develop, and deploy the best possible resources and support systems for starting healthy, reproducing, evangelistic,
Baptist congregations, wherever needed in Mississippi.
The following key principles are critical to making important and discerning decisions related to both established and new
churches. The following are the most important of our core beliefs:
Research and experience have led most church planters to function within the boundaries of the following:
It is important to recognize that the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board and the Church Planting Department
must practice good stewardship with funds entrusted to their care. Because the need is great and funds are limited,
this necessitates a concerted effort on all parties involved to invest funds as prayerfully, frugally, carefully and
strategically as possible.
Funds must be allocated according to priority needs. The intent of the Church Planting Department is to
prioritize funding where the following can be assured:
Some church planting projects will cost more than others. Not every church plant needs enormous amounts of money.
Some can be done without help from outside sources, and such should be encouraged. This allows M.B.C.B. funding to
be directed to the areas and persons of greater needs. The Church Planting Department utilizes various funding
formulas. These options seek to provide financial support in keeping with the need of the target location or people
group while affirming the leadership plans and contributions of the local church and/or association that may serve
as a sponsoring entity.
It is generally recognized that at some point a new church can take responsibility for its own financial future,
becoming self-sustaining and/or self-supporting, and capable of dealing responsibly with its own future. Some
studies have indicated that a plurality of support from sources other than those that will determine the future of
the new church will often result in unhealthy dependence on the outside sources of funding. The goal for a new
church is to be self-sustaining and self-supporting within two to three years. Exceptions will be made on a case by
To assist new churches by providing financial help to aid them in becoming self-supporting, multiplying churches,
committed to prioritizing the Great Commission. All grant assistance is based upon priority considerations and is subject to
availability of funds.
Grant Assistance for new churches is approved annually with a three-year phase out. Language ethnic Congregations
will be evaluated for further contributions on a case by case basis, should support be deemed necessary for years
four and five. Renewal of a grant is not automatic. Continued funding is considered on an annual basis, with
approval based upon performance review.
Additional aid from the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board is available in the way of training. Church Planters
are to attend Basic Training. Successful completion of Basic Training is required within
one year of application approval or funding will cease. The North American Mission Board offers additional resource
incentives for churches, who choose to participate in the training program, and the Mississippi Baptist Convention
Board will be responsible for expenses related to Basic Training.
This document entitled Mississippi Baptist Convention Board – Church Planting Strategy was prepared by
Dr. Ed J. Deuschle and dated December 1, 2001.
The plan was implemented effective January 1, 2002 and amended on August 5, 2004, by the Church Planting Department.