Since the beginning of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in 1991, many individuals and churches have sought to support and facilitate New Church Starts. The role of the CBF/GA centers on encouraging individuals and churches in the planning of new congregations. This includes providing scholarships to boot camp, legal and administrative assistance, and peer group support. Limited grants are made to the new church starts depending on the situation and the availability of funds. Such grants are given in collaboration with the sponsoring congregation, the new congregation, and the missions committee of the CBF/GA. The role of the sponsoring church is primary in this process. Most church starts succeed because of a strong commitment from the sponsoring church and because of strong leadership from the core planting team.
Churches are started in all sorts of ways. A few of the most common church start strategies are discussed below. The role of CBF/GA varies with each type of start and with the context in which each start exists.
This type of church start revolves around a bi-professional model. The planter provides his/her own salary. CBF National in conjunction with CBF/GA provides specialized training at an annual boot camp for planters. Additional support is given from CBF/National in the form of coaching, promotion, and publicity. CBF/GA provides training in administration and finances. The planter is also encouraged to participate in peer support groups. The CBF/GA owns and maintains a 24-foot trailer containing equipment that can be used on site. This trailer includes chairs, podium, and audio and video equipment. It is loaned to the church planter on a first come, first serve basis. At the present moment several planter lead churches are being developed and have a relationship with CBF/GA. They are:
Gwen and Charles Brown began In Christ We Trust Christian Church in 2005. The church started as a weekly Bible study in their home. The church is now called Cornestone Church and is located in Snellville.
Carrie and Nathan Dean are the starters of Edgewood Church in Atlanta. More information on their church can be found here.
Several years ago CBF National developed a church planter model specifically for the Hispanic/Latino community. Bernie Moraga was employed to lead the effort. By working together CBF National and CBF/GA sought to strengthen the Hispanic work in Georgia. Some of these churches are listed below.
Iglesia Bautista El Buen Pastor (Good Shepherd Baptist Church)
Born and raised in Cuba, Ruth Cuellar is the pastor of this mission of Central Baptist Church in Newnan.
Iglesia Bautista Un Nuevo Amanecer (New Sunrise Baptist Church)
Married couple Edwin Perez and Vilma Manso serve as co-pastors of this Hispanic congregation who worships in the facilities of First Baptist Church of Morrow.
Over the past twelve years sixteen new congregations have been started in Georgia as a result of the work of committed lay men and women. These congregations are quite diverse but do share several important characteristics.
1. They were initiated by a group of lay individuals.
2. Worship services were held in a variety of settings the first four years.
3. A strong passion for developing a CBF church was evident.
4. The congregation found support from within the local community.
5. CBF/GA provided support with administrative issues, pulpit supply, and curriculum materials.
These congregations have formed a support group dedicated to helping other lay groups successfully nurture their new church start. For additional information contact the CBF/GA office.