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Church-planting workshop set, to offer help for associationscomment (0)

January 3, 2008

By Sondra Washington

During his college years, Hugh Richardson participated in a church plant. As a pastor, he led the “mother church” of another congregation. Still it wasn’t until Richardson came to Shelby Baptist Association as director of missions that he became more active in church planting.

After attending Basic Training for Church Planters sponsored jointly by the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM) and North American Mission Board (NAMB), Richardson realized the need to develop churches that target and appeal to specific population groups.

“One church, though we would like to reach everybody, won’t be able to do that,” he said.

Now Richardson is a NAMB-certified basic training workshop presenter to other church planters. “Because the Lord is bringing the world to Alabama, there is a lot of opportunity before us,” he said. “We need to seize the opportunity.”

To help other associational leaders become effective church-planting strategists, the SBOM and NAMB will offer a workshop Jan. 22–23 at Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center in Talladega.

Using a tool called the Associational Church Planting BackPack, NAMB speakers John Bailey, Kenny Rains, Les Dobbins and David Terry will “unpack” the process of church planting, focusing on awareness, commitment, equipping and reproducing.

God is calling out people all over Alabama to start new churches, according to Otis Corbitt, an associate in the office of associational missions and church planting for the SBOM.

“This [training] is designed to equip you to be effective not only in understanding the power of church planting as a evangelistic tool but also to equip you to assist the new church starts in your association to be successful to grow and thus to build the kingdom of God,” he said.

During the event, Bailey and Rains will also introduce NAMB’s newest church-planting strategy, EPOCH. “An epoch is a period of time in history, and we are facing a new time for the church where we have to be missionaries in our own communities,” Corbitt said.

“We are learning now that North America is a mission field, and much of our ministry in the past has been predicated on the idea that people around us have a church background or an affinity for the church.

“But we are learning that in Alabama, ... many of the people in our communities have no church background at all, which means we have to act to them as missionaries do overseas,” he said. “That’s what EPOCH is designed to do.”

Corbitt hopes this workshop will help improve and expand the current efforts of Alabama Baptist church-planting leaders.

“I hope to see our associational missionaries take advantage of these different tools as well as to see increased growth and interest in church planting all across the state,” he said. “We are doing a lot of things really well in Alabama in the area of church planting. We want to make the things we do better and more widespread.”

For more information or to register, contact Corbitt at 1-800-264-1225, Ext. 332, or ocorbitt@alsbom.org.

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