DULUTH – Working in collaboration with associational mission strategists around the state, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board is launching a new church planting network designed to meet the needs of our church planters. The demographic landscape of Georgia’s population has changed drastically over the last decade, and the percentage of lost people has increased, according to the Association of Religion Data Archives.
Rolando Castro will serve as the Church Planting Network consultant. Castro joined the GBMB after serving 14 years at the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware as the church planting and church development strategist. A native of Costa Rica, Castro has experience as a church planter there as well as in Maryland.
"We understand from a biblical and practical perspective, that the only way of experiencing a church multiplication movement in Georgia is by focusing our efforts and resources on our established churches," Castro said. "They are the ones called by God to raise and train leaders who will become the future ministers in their own congregations, but also church planters, international missionaries and pastors to other churches."
Castro has served for the past year as the Northwest region missions consultant, which has given him experience working with local Georgia Baptist churches. His role will be to encourage the communication between planting assessment teams, mother church, association, missions consultants, sister churches and the planter. Castro will remain a part of the Missions team, which is a part of the larger Church Strengthening team.
"Nothing can happen without our churches as the engine of the train," Castro said.
With frugality, accountability and deliberate strategy, one central piece of this joint effort is an intentional partnership among the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, the sending or mother church pastor, associational Baptist leadership, a regional missions consultant and the church planter.
All of the partners will understand their interconnection and the goals of the network from the pre-launch to the celebration of the new church. They will covenant to share resources, offer accountability and coaching, create missional opportunities for sister churches and undergird the entire process in prayer.
This covenant will include a commitment to a code of conduct and adherence to Baptist beliefs. It will also foster a greater depth of understanding of our Baptist identity and purposes for missional giving and allow time for meaningful associational involvement with sister churches. And with partner churches taking mission trips to help the new plant, this collaborative effort does not have to be so lonely.
In order to build a greater church-planting pipeline in Georgia, ongoing recruitment, assessment and celebration will highlight the milestones in the new church’s birth. A primary tenet for this new network will be the understanding that churches plant churches.
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