On a Sunday afternoon in January, 2009, about 80 people gathered in Asheboro, NC, to officially constitute Providence Baptist Church. The culmination of more than four years of labor and prayer, the time had come, and a host of attenders and friends joined to celebrate the joyous occasion.
In a real sense, Providence Baptist began with Beacon Baptist, which itself was officially born on a similar occasion in 1973. Over the years, Beacon has grown numerically and doctrinally into the church we are today. Along the way, people began attending from locations beyond Alamance County. Drawn to the expository pulpit and reformed theology, some have driven regularly up to ninety miles one way to worship with us on the Lord’s Day.
Several folks came from Asheboro, about forty-five miles south of Burlington, becoming faithful members for several years in spite of the long commute. However, it is difficult to participate fully from such a distance, and how do you invite family and friends to join you when you travel forty-five to fifty minutes to church?
Church buildings are a polarizing possibility. Some people love buildings. Other people hate them. Having been mobile now for 13 years, most of Coram Deo’s congregation is bullish about the potential of permanent space. But in earlier years, our church had a strong “anti-building” sentiment. And both points of view are always present within any congregation. So when it comes time for a church to pursue property, leaders must lead wisely and strategically, grounded in theological conviction.
In a rather “accidental series,” I’ve written an evaluation of the church planting movement, followed by my thoughts on why your church won’t be able to find a pastor, and then gave some instructions on how to start a home church. Each of these articles had the common thread of the dismay over the condition of the church in our day. Now I’d like to complete these thoughts with a further word about church planting. I am convinced that the church planting movement, with all its failures, has been responsible for much of the sickness of the church today, and those who care about the health of the church should avoid the funding of church planting efforts, especially through networks and denominational agencies.