The 2016 School of Church Planting was held June 13-16 at Bible Baptist Church in Shiremanstown, Pennsylvania. Eighteen attended this summer’s four-day training seminar. Participants in the last two years have included both seasoned and potential church planters from the United States, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, Ghana, Indonesia, and Canada.
Over the last 31 years hundreds of church planters, missionaries, pastors, and students from nearly 40 countries have attended the School. The SCP focuses on Bible-based, transcultural, and timeless principles rather than merely on the latest church-planting fad or model.
Iron sharpening iron
This how-to-plant boot camp is an intensive time of “iron sharpening iron,” with veteran church planters Dr. Ken Davis, Roger McNamara, and Dan Whitcher sharing their wisdom and experience in launching and growing new churches. These three SCP presenters have over 100 years of practical experience in establishing and developing churches in the USA and abroad.
The annual seminar experience includes 27 hours of interactive classroom instruction and sharing times between fellow students. This is made possible by the host church graciously providing lunch and supper on-site, enabling SCP participants and presenters to invest much quality time together in a peer learning environment. To keep costs down for the church planters, families from the host church normally also provide lodging to SCP registrants.
Church planting resources
All participants are given a church-planting resource manual as well as a thumb drive loaded with practical resources for church planters. Prior to attending the School, students are encouraged to purchase and read the 650-page text, The Y—B—H (Yes, But How?) Handbook of Church Planting, coauthored by McNamara and Davis (available at amazon.com)
This year the entire 27 hours of classes were videotaped by Chris Brown and Doug Murray of TechMin Network (http://techmin.org), who plan on making the sessions available in the near future. During the School, Brown also shared ways TechMin is willing to assist newly launched churches and be a resource for church developers.
Who can benefit from the SCP?
The School, sponsored by Baptist Mid-Missions and its Team North America, is designed for Bible-believing Baptists committed to fulfilling the Great Commission. Church planting and growth are vital components of our Lord’s final command. According to many missiologists, intentional church planting is the best way to fulfill Christ’s last mandate and to reach those far from God in each generation.
The SCP is geared for pastors desiring to lead their congregation in parenting a daughter church, for agency missionaries, and for independent church starters. The seminar is applicable to seasoned planters and candidates prayerfully considering church-planting ministry. Often, Bible college and seminary students attend, as well as recent graduates seeking God’s direction for their lives. Academic credit is available to SCP participants from Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania.
Help for prospective and seasoned church planters
In recent years the SCP has developed a two-track teaching approach. Track One focuses on what it takes to prepare for and actually launch a healthy new church, walking registrants through the first three stages (conception, prenatal development, and birthing) of the church-planting life cycle. Track Two focuses on growing the young church plant and leading it to reproduce a daughter church. It is designed for church planters who are two years or more into their planting project.
Track Two of the School of Church Planting will be offered next year. The 2017 School will convene in mid-June at Hamilton Hills Baptist Church in Fishers, Indiana.
For more information on this annual training seminar, see www.bmmschoolofchurchplanting.org.