EDITORIAL: Church-Planting Potential
10/22/2010 12:34:52 PM
Often, a testimony of what God has done in the past inspires people for what God intends to do in the present. With that in mind, consider this account from the Southern New England area of ministry for the Church of God of Prophecy in the 1980s under the leadership of Bishop Willie R. Boone. Bishop Boone stepped over to his reward last year, and this testimony is certainly in honor of his work for the Lord.
Southern New England was predominately Catholic in faith, but Bishop Boone felt God was calling the churches of that area to plant new churches aggressively. He launched into what was then called a Home Mission Program for Southern New England. When he arrived, there were 11 churches, approximately 300 members, $4,000 in the bank, and 75 percent of his salary was supplemented from the International Offices. Some individuals had told Bishop Boone, "Don’t kill yourself, take your time." But God seemed to be saying, "Now is the time to plant new churches in Southern New England."
In his first Ministers’ Convention, Bishop Boone spoke to the ministers, asking them how they could raise funds for this new Home Mission Program. They immediately launched a call for each member to contribute a dollar a day for the first 50 days of the year, and $10,000 was raised that year to begin. It had been seven years since a church had been planted in Massachusetts, eight years for Connecticut, and longer still for Rhode Island. Bishop Boone stressed that he was not afraid to use the funds raised for new churches because he was looking for a greater rate of return than any bank could give. At one new mission, he gave $5,000 in support, and soon the church had 75 members, fully supported their pastor, and contributed $3,000 a month in tithes. Bishop Boone said, "Now, that is what I call a good return!"
Bishop Boone worked to see the fruit of his vision and passion for new churches. The area budget rose to more than $100,000, his salary was fully supported, they grew to 23 churches, and the membership doubled. Obviously, the Southern New England Home Mission Program is a testimony of the power of church-planting to evangelize effectively.
As you read this issue, perhaps God will stir your heart that a new church can be planted in your area. Perhaps your church could become a mother church to birth an entirely new congregation. Perhaps you will feel impressed to support a new church-plant in your area with funding, prayer, ministry support, and encouragement for the leaders and workers. Wherever your passion and vision take you, this truth remains: there is not a more effective means of evangelization than planting a new community of believers.