New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:29 pm

Michael Wrenn wrote:
Timothy Bonney wrote:
Michael Wrenn wrote:I'm disenchanted with the CBF. They seem only interested or capable of church plants in college towns or suburban areas. There are none anywhere near my rural area.


That may be a matter of resources and also demographics. It is pretty hard to start a new church in a rural area. In many rural areas where often population is shrinking and many small churches are struggling would it really be a value to the kingdom to start another church to compete with already struggling churches? Would such a church plant have much of a chance at success?

Like it or not, college towns and suburban areas is where people are moving to. Here in Iowa we see growth in the urban areas and decline in the rural population. So in small rural towns that already have many types of churches and a shrinking populace is there a real benefit to starting one more?


What if John Wesley had thought that way? There wouldn't have been all those little Methodist churches dotting the countryside around here.

I have wanted to be involved with a CBF church, but the closest one is 90 miles away.


Ed: Michael, What does the number of little Methodist churches in your corner of Mississippi have to do with CBF? John Wesley has been dead for 124 years and times have changed. Some Methodist conferences now have a program of selectively closing small marginally effective churches in places where populations have declined and encouraging them to affiliate with another Methodist church within a reasonable commuting distance.

Tim has given you a very pragmatic reason as to a probable cause for the lack of CBF churches in your area.

While we have have been active in CBF from its inception, my wife and I haven't been members of a "CBF Church" since we left Louisville in 1998, in the past 17 years our activity has primarily been participation in and support of the CBF regional organizations where we have been (Central and North East) and attending a number of national CBF Assembles. In fact Trudy served a term as Moderator of the BFNE (Baptist Fellowship of the North East) she also served on the National Coordinating Council, when she was serving two ABC-USA Churches in the Adirondacks.
And a few years ago the historic Burnt Hills BC, Burnt Hills, Ny, hosted the spring meeting of BFNE with John Pierce Editor of Baptist to day as the primary speaker.

I have been reminded as I type, a good Contact for you may be Rev. Jason Coker , pastor of the Wilton Baptist Church, Wilton Connecticut. WBC is a CBF Church and Jason is a native of Mississippi, as such he still has close ties to that area as coordinator of the CBF supported "Delta Hands for hope". You may try contacting him through the church website http://wiltonbaptist.org/

Jason is also the Recording Secretary for the National CBF restructured Coordinating Council.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Michael Wrenn » Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:58 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:
Ed: Michael, What does the number of little Methodist churches in your corner of Mississippi have to do with CBF? John Wesley has been dead for 124 years and times have changed. Some Methodist conferences now have a program of selectively closing small marginally effective churches in places where populations have declined and encouraging them to affiliate with another Methodist church within a reasonable commuting distance.

Tim has given you a very pragmatic reason as to a probable cause for the lack of CBF churches in your area.

While we have have been active in CBF from its inception, my wife and I haven't been members of a "CBF Church" since we left Louisville in 1998, in the past 17 years our activity has primarily been participation in and support of the CBF regional organizations where we have been (Central and North East) and attending a number of national CBF Assembles. In fact Trudy served a term as Moderator of the BFNE (Baptist Fellowship of the North East) she also served on the National Coordinating Council, when she was serving two ABC-USA Churches in the Adirondacks.
And a few years ago the historic Burnt Hills BC, Burnt Hills, Ny, hosted the spring meeting of BFNE with John Pierce Editor of Baptist to day as the primary speaker.

I have been reminded as I type, a good Contact for you may be Rev. Jason Coker , pastor of the Wilton Baptist Church, Wilton Connecticut. WBC is a CBF Church and Jason is a native of Mississippi, as such he still has close ties to that area as coordinator of the CBF supported "Delta Hands for hope". You may try contacting him through the church website http://wiltonbaptist.org/

Jason is also the Recording Secretary for the National CBF restructured Coordinating Council.


Ed, thanks for the link.

My only point was that if Wesley had only been interested in reaching people in urban areas, there would be very few Methodist churches in rural areas today. It's amazing how all these denominations talk about starting churches, but they only want to start them in suburbia, or they'll go all the way to Africa or South America. Are rural areas in this country not as important as these other areas? Like I said, I'm glad Wesley didn't feel that way.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Sandy » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:02 pm

Michael Wrenn wrote:
Sandy wrote:
Michael Wrenn wrote:I have wanted to be involved with a CBF church, but the closest one is 90 miles away.


Is there a particular characteristic or something specific you are expecting to find in a "CBF" church? Some of them do have a distinctive "moderate Baptist" identity and atmosphere, but many of them are only CBF because of a group of their members, and there's not anything particularly distinctive that sets them apart from numerous other SBC congregations. Last time I saw any statistical information, about 90% of CBF congregations were still providing financial support for the SBC through the Cooperative Program.


Hopefully those freedoms left out of the "new" SBC, such as the freedom not to believe in scriptural inerrancy, to affirm women as pastors, the freedom not to believe in penal substitution. I am very traditional on morality and ethics, but I am more of a moderate theologically, with some conservative and "liberal" views sprinkled in. I also don't believe in OSAS.


It sounds like you are looking for a church affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists, more so than CBF. Given that a high percentage of CBF congregations still remain within the SBC, I'd say that may be evidence to prove that the "new" SBC isn't as restrictive on those freedoms as you think it might be. And since CBF doesn't get into defining doctrinal positions, nor has it "affirmed" women as pastors, but more or less leaves those things up to the individual churches, you might have to drive further than 90 miles to find one more suited to your particular perspective. A lot of conversation in CBF was given to distinguishing themselves from Southern Baptists by approving of women serving as pastors, but in actual practice, few CBF congregations have called a female pastor. And if penal substitution and eternal security are deal breakers for you, I don't think you'll find a CBF congregation that would be compatible.

Not sure exactly where you are geographically, but there are some Alliance of Baptist congregations in your general neck of the woods, and that sounds more along the lines of what you are looking for. There is some overlap there with CBF.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:14 pm

Michael Wrenn wrote:My only point was that if Wesley had only been interested in reaching people in urban areas, there would be very few Methodist churches in rural areas today. It's amazing how all these denominations talk about starting churches, but they only want to start them in suburbia, or they'll go all the way to Africa or South America. Are rural areas in this country not as important as these other areas? Like I said, I'm glad Wesley didn't feel that way.


Ed is actually right on target. Wesley went where the people where. His first Methodist Societies (not churches) were in cities like Bristol and London. What it amounts to is that Wesley started societies where there was a response and not where there were not people.

Wesley had little to do with the Methodists in the US. That mostly was Francis Asbury. Asbury sent circuit riders to where the people were in the westward expansion and where people responded. The small towns that have Methodist churches now were growing booming places in Asbury's day. Not the shrinking over-churched locations that they are today.

As Ed said, Wesley's been gone a long time. The world is a lot different and we have to go with how it is and not how we wish it would be.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Michael Wrenn » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:31 pm

Sandy wrote:It sounds like you are looking for a church affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists, more so than CBF. Given that a high percentage of CBF congregations still remain within the SBC, I'd say that may be evidence to prove that the "new" SBC isn't as restrictive on those freedoms as you think it might be. And since CBF doesn't get into defining doctrinal positions, nor has it "affirmed" women as pastors, but more or less leaves those things up to the individual churches, you might have to drive further than 90 miles to find one more suited to your particular perspective. A lot of conversation in CBF was given to distinguishing themselves from Southern Baptists by approving of women serving as pastors, but in actual practice, few CBF congregations have called a female pastor. And if penal substitution and eternal security are deal breakers for you, I don't think you'll find a CBF congregation that would be compatible.

Not sure exactly where you are geographically, but there are some Alliance of Baptist congregations in your general neck of the woods, and that sounds more along the lines of what you are looking for. There is some overlap there with CBF.


Interesting. But I know I couldn't be part of the Alliance of Baptists, as I am traditional on such matters as abortion and homosexuality.

You said: "And if penal substitution and eternal security are deal breakers for you, I don't think you'll find a CBF congregation that would be compatible." Do you really think I would be expected to hold to OSAS and PSA in order to be a member of a CBF church?

I live in northwest Mississippi. The nearest CBF church to me is in Olive Branch, MS, about 90 miles away. here is their website: http://www.olivebranchfellowship.org/
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Sandy » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:35 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:Wesley had little to do with the Methodists in the US. That mostly Francis Asbury. Asbury sent circuit riders to where the people were in the westward expansion and where people responded. The small towns that have Methodist churches now were growing booming places in Asbury's day. Not the shrinking over-churched locations that they are today.


It seems that the Methodist ecclesiastical structure lends itself to the church pushing for mergers and consolidations of congregations in over-churched areas. When we lived in Southern Missouri, the pastor at the FUMC in town also preached at two other churches out in the rural area, "half time" churches they were called, since they met only every other Sunday when he was there. They were four miles apart, and eventually, they merged and met at the church that had the newer facility. By the time we left, they had consolidated that congregation with the FUMC in town. It made sense, though both churches together probably didn't add 25 people to the total attendance.

Is that a common practice in the UMC, or do they still like to dually assign pastors?
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Sandy » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:45 pm

Michael Wrenn wrote:You said: "And if penal substitution and eternal security are deal breakers for you, I don't think you'll find a CBF congregation that would be compatible." Do you really think I would be expected to hold to OSAS and PSA in order to be a member of a CBF church?


I could only speak for those CBF churches with which I am familiar, and where I was once a member. The answer would be most likely that you wouldn't be expected to hold to those doctrines to be a member, but no SBC congregation I've ever belonged to would have required that, either. Perhaps there are some which require strict adherence to the primary, secondary and tertiary doctrines of the church in order to be a member, but not many.

You wouldn't be expected to hold to those doctrines, but you'd sure get an earful of their being preached and taught.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Michael Wrenn » Wed Jul 22, 2015 4:53 pm

Sandy wrote:
Michael Wrenn wrote:You said: "And if penal substitution and eternal security are deal breakers for you, I don't think you'll find a CBF congregation that would be compatible." Do you really think I would be expected to hold to OSAS and PSA in order to be a member of a CBF church?


I could only speak for those CBF churches with which I am familiar, and where I was once a member. The answer would be most likely that you wouldn't be expected to hold to those doctrines to be a member, but no SBC congregation I've ever belonged to would have required that, either. Perhaps there are some which require strict adherence to the primary, secondary and tertiary doctrines of the church in order to be a member, but not many.

You wouldn't be expected to hold to those doctrines, but you'd sure get an earful of their being preached and taught.


I do remember talking to the pastor's wife at Olive Branch and asking if they held to OSAS; she said yes.

Maybe you're right. Maybe there's no reason to drive 3 hours to church and back when I could hear those doctrines preached around here. But that's one reason I stopped going to church around here. I got to the point I could no longer sing, "There's power in the blood", Washed in the blood", "There is a Fountain...", and hearing that Jesus paid our sin debt, and that God killed Jesus in our place. I couldn't take any more of that.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:00 pm

Sandy wrote:Is that a common practice in the UMC, or do they still like to dually assign pastors?


Yes, that is very common. We have many "two point charges" (a charge is the place or places a pastor is assigned to) and even some that are three or more churches with one pastor in multi-point charges.

Here in Sioux City we have three "station churches." That means churches where the pastor has just one church/charge, the three larger churches in town. My church is one of the three station churches. (Meaning the preacher is stationary. :) )

Then there are seven other UMC churches in town. Six of which are in three different two point charges and one of them has a part-time pastor who is what we called a Licensed Local Pastor. She is not ordained and is not seminary trained but has completed a certification course to be licensed to pastor a church. She is only there ten hours a week.

Some multi-point charges add up to a full-time position and some don't.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Michael Wrenn » Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:04 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Ed is actually right on target. Wesley went where the people where. His first Methodist Societies (not churches) were in cities like Bristol and London. What it amounts to is that Wesley started societies where there was a response and not where there were not people.

Wesley had little to do with the Methodists in the US. That mostly was Francis Asbury. Asbury sent circuit riders to where the people were in the westward expansion and where people responded. The small towns that have Methodist churches now were growing booming places in Asbury's day. Not the shrinking over-churched locations that they are today.

As Ed said, Wesley's been gone a long time. The world is a lot different and we have to go with how it is and not how we wish it would be.


You are of course right about Asbury and America Methodists. But I'm right about the Wesleyan principle of taking the Gospel to wherever the people were, whether in urban areas, small towns, or the most isolated boondocks.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Jul 22, 2015 5:49 pm

Michael Wrenn wrote:You are of course right about Asbury and America Methodists. But I'm right about the Wesleyan principle of taking the Gospel to wherever the people were, whether in urban areas, small towns, or the most isolated boondocks.


When there are people to take it too yes. We have several churches closing a year in small towns with shrinking populations. You go where the people are. You don't go start churches were people are either leaving in droves or where people are already going to church. Methodists aren't into proselyting.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Michael Wrenn » Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:13 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Michael Wrenn wrote:You are of course right about Asbury and America Methodists. But I'm right about the Wesleyan principle of taking the Gospel to wherever the people were, whether in urban areas, small towns, or the most isolated boondocks.


When there are people to take it too yes. We have several churches closing a year in small towns with shrinking populations. You go where the people are. You don't go start churches were people are either leaving in droves or where people are already going to church. Methodists aren't into proselyting.


There were lots of Baptist churches being started in these hills or already started when the Methodist circuit riders began establishing Methodist churches all those years ago.

Looks like the modern-day Methodists and "mainstream" Baptists and others are not only not into proselyting but also not into caring about reaching the most isolated individuals in rural areas. That is foreign to the spirit of Wesley. Of course those areas and individuals are still being served by the churches that were planted 150 or more years ago.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:35 pm

Michael Wrenn wrote:
Looks like the modern-day Methodists and "mainstream" Baptists and others are not only not into proselyting but also not into caring about reaching the most isolated individuals in rural areas. That is foreign to the spirit of Wesley. Of course those areas and individuals are still being served by the churches that were planted 150 or more years ago.


Michael, I'd suggest that there are almost as many small Methodist churches in hills and hollows as there are of any other group. Our denomination is largely rural to this day. (As are Baptists by the way). Go to the Iowa UMC (iaumc.org) website and look at how many of our 700+ churches are in a small towns. In fact of the over 100 churches in the NW District where my church is, most of the churches by far are in small towns. there is a Methodist church in almost every small town in Iowa. You'd find that the majority of our churches in Iowa are still in small towns.

So I don't get the rant about not starting churches. We have small town churches. lots and lots of them. We just don't start new churches where there are no people. We also don't start churches on top of our own churches (a problem Baptists do have). And we seldom start a church just to have a Methodist church in an area where people are being well served by other Christian groups or where one of our churches already went under.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Michael Wrenn » Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:51 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Michael Wrenn wrote:
Looks like the modern-day Methodists and "mainstream" Baptists and others are not only not into proselyting but also not into caring about reaching the most isolated individuals in rural areas. That is foreign to the spirit of Wesley. Of course those areas and individuals are still being served by the churches that were planted 150 or more years ago.


Michael, I'd suggest that there are almost as many small Methodist churches in hills and hollows as there are of any other group. Our denomination is largely rural to this day. (As are Baptists by the way). Go to the Iowa UMC (iaumc.org) website and look at how many of our 700+ churches are in a small towns. In fact of the over 100 churches in the NW District where my church is, most of the churches by far are in small towns. there is a Methodist church in almost every small town in Iowa. You'd find that the majority of our churches in Iowa are still in small towns.

So I don't get the rant about not starting churches. We have small town churches. lots and lots of them. We just don't start new churches where there are no people. We also don't start churches on top of our own churches (a problem Baptists do have). And we seldom start a church just to have a Methodist church in an area where people are being well served by other Christian groups or where one of our churches already went under.


See the part I bolded. That was my suggestion, too. My point in this conversation was/is that if there are churches of only one theological leaning in a given area, and a new variant of a denominational family is interested in planting churches, why do they restrict that church planting effort to suburbia, urban areas, and college towns but leave out rural areas. I just don't understand that. And I don't think I have been on a rant, so I don't know why you describe it as such.

I'm about to the point of saying that if these efforts don't care about people like me, then I should not care about them. I have been in touch with CBF, and all they can say is, well, we don't have any churches in your area. Well, I know that; that's why I contacted them, thinking someone might care to try and change that. One reason I founded my own communion was because of that. But I am still an isolated christian, and I am not gifted at church planting. I am mostly a facilitator of the ministry of others.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:40 pm

Michael writes in part "My point in this conversation was/is that if there are churches of only one theological leaning in a given area, and a new variant of a denominational family is interested in planting churches, why do they restrict that church planting effort to suburbia, urban areas, and college towns but leave out rural areas."

Ed: Michael, who do you expect to pick up the tab for starting a CBF church in your back yard, perhaps you? You have already said there are several little Methodist churches in your area, may we assume that there are also some SBC and possibly an independent, Presbyterian or Pentecostal maybe even a church related to one of the several Black denominations. Yea, I have some differences with each of those but if for some reason I couldn't move and there was no ABC-USA or CBF church, I would probably visit the Black church with the shortest worship time if they where cool to me, I would go to one or other of the groups listed above, all of them have folk who love Jesus and believe he arose from the grave and ascended into heaven and is coming again. And teach the 10 commandments, so I can worship with them and generally keep quiet about our differences. My tithe would go to the church where I attended and my offerings would be spread around ABC-USA and CBF entities, or maybe the other way around. The truth is some areas can not afford all the churches they have let alone something they have never experienced.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:41 pm

Michael Wrenn wrote:See the part I bolded. That was my suggestion, too. My point in this conversation was/is that if there are churches of only one theological leaning in a given area, and a new variant of a denominational family is interested in planting churches, why do they restrict that church planting effort to suburbia, urban areas, and college towns but leave out rural areas. I just don't understand that. And I don't think I have been on a rant, so I don't know why you describe it as such.


Do look at what Ed said above me. We are having parallel thoughts here.

If you are in a small rural area with some available churches then the odds are there isn't enough of a population to start another church or several other churches of the many kinds of churches around.

I called it a rant because you basically accused United Methodists (or maybe me) of not following John Wesley because we'd not waste our time planting a church for the sake of denominational variety in an area that probably can't support many more churches.

We need to be planting new churches where there is a need for new churches for the sake of leading people to Christ. That's the priority of the gospel that Wesley would have supported. The priority isn't the creation of a buffet menu of churches so that Christians can find just the church that agrees with them. Or so that our favorite denominational flavor will be provided.

And in fact Wesley never had any intention of creating a new church ever. Wesley didn't plant churches at all. He planted Methodist societies. He was forced into helping create the Methodist Episcopal Church by the circumstances of the Revolutionary War in the US. He stayed a priest in the Church of England for the rest of his life and didn't advocate that the Methodists in England become a Church.

So please get off trying to tell a Methodist how and when Wesley would create churches when he never intended to do so in the first place. </end of my rant against your rant>
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Michael Wrenn » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:52 am

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Michael Wrenn wrote:See the part I bolded. That was my suggestion, too. My point in this conversation was/is that if there are churches of only one theological leaning in a given area, and a new variant of a denominational family is interested in planting churches, why do they restrict that church planting effort to suburbia, urban areas, and college towns but leave out rural areas. I just don't understand that. And I don't think I have been on a rant, so I don't know why you describe it as such.


Do look at what Ed said above me. We are having parallel thoughts here.

If you are in a small rural area with some available churches then the odds are there isn't enough of a population to start another church or several other churches of the many kinds of churches around.

I called it a rant because you basically accused United Methodists (or maybe me) of not following John Wesley because we'd not waste our time planting a church for the sake of denominational variety in an area that probably can't support many more churches.

We need to be planting new churches where there is a need for new churches for the sake of leading people to Christ. That's the priority of the gospel that Wesley would have supported. The priority isn't the creation of a buffet menu of churches so that Christians can find just the church that agrees with them. Or so that our favorite denominational flavor will be provided.

And in fact Wesley never had any intention of creating a new church ever. Wesley didn't plant churches at all. He planted Methodist societies. He was forced into helping create the Methodist Episcopal Church by the circumstances of the Revolutionary War in the US. He stayed a priest in the Church of England for the rest of his life and didn't advocate that the Methodists in England become a Church.

So please get off trying to tell a Methodist how and when Wesley would create churches when he never intended to do so in the first place. </end of my rant against your rant>


I'm not buying that any area can't support another church. All it takes is a need, and two people. Considering that the USA is now being evangelized by African Christians and churches, I'd say that many here are not doing something that they need to do.

Wesley didn't intend to create another Church (denomination), but when rebuffed by the CoE, he went out into the fields and preached. He and his followers took the gospel where the Anglicans wouldn't and didn't -- to the most rural areas. That's what happened in the US. So, no, he didn't intend at first to start a new denomination, but he and his fellow laborers surely weren't averse to starting new churches in the most remote places imaginable.

If you think the rural areas don't need new churches, then the urban areas, suburbia, and the college towns surely don't need them.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:17 am

Ed: Michael, I wish you success in starting a new church in your area, if and when it comes please let me know how it was accomplished. Presently my efforts are going toward helping a few long established churches that are facing a dwindling population base to stay viable. Some in upstate NY are simply maintaining until the last members die, to do so they are burning up assets that I am persuaded could really be used to advance the kingdom in better ways.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:47 am

Michael Wrenn wrote:
I'm not buying that any area can't support another church. All it takes is a need, and two people.


Then by all means, start your own church.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Sandy » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:42 pm

Michael Wrenn wrote:See the part I bolded. That was my suggestion, too. My point in this conversation was/is that if there are churches of only one theological leaning in a given area, and a new variant of a denominational family is interested in planting churches, why do they restrict that church planting effort to suburbia, urban areas, and college towns but leave out rural areas. I just don't understand that. And I don't think I have been on a rant, so I don't know why you describe it as such.

I'm about to the point of saying that if these efforts don't care about people like me, then I should not care about them. I have been in touch with CBF, and all they can say is, well, we don't have any churches in your area. Well, I know that; that's why I contacted them, thinking someone might care to try and change that. One reason I founded my own communion was because of that. But I am still an isolated christian, and I am not gifted at church planting. I am mostly a facilitator of the ministry of others.


I'd have to disagree with you regarding planting churches in order to offer people more "theological leanings." If you lived in Utah, and your only option was a Mormon congregation, that would be one thing. But there aren't very many parts of the country where you wouldn't have several options from which to pick and choose. In my small hometown, population 10,000, in secular Arizona, there were fourteen churches representing a wide variety of denominations and theological perspectives. There was no Church of the Nazarene, and no Church of God, and so in our SBC congregation, we had several families representing both of those groups. Maybe we were more progressive than most, but they were welcomed, not made to be re-baptized because both of those immerse, and were included in the fellowship and leadership of the church. The congregation's doctrinal position stated a very strong, and heavily supported view of eternal security, which didn't seem to bother the folks from those backgrounds which do not believe in eternal security.

There's a difference, at least to me, between disagreeing over interpretation of scripture and doctrine, and breaking fellowship over it. I think people are more likely to consider you a heretic for not believing in penal substitution rather than over eternal security but I don't see why people who hold differing views on those topics can't worship together or be part of the same congregation.

I'm a volunteer with a local, church planting project in that I help groups who come in to town on mission trips to find a place to stay, food, and how to get around on a reasonable budget. The rural areas of Western Pennsylvania are dotted with small congregations that have been here, most for more than a hundred years, made up mostly of the older generation. If you wanted to find a church within 5 miles of my house, in a small rural community in an area that doesn't really have a high church-going population, you could find 3 Presbyterians of different stripes, a Baptist church (ABC), a Bible church, a Christian and Missionary Alliance, 2 Mennonite congregations, 2 different kinds of Lutheran churches, and a Catholic church. But in the city of Pittsburgh, where I work with the church planters for a week in the summer, there are large neighborhoods with a dense population, but few churches. Given the resources required to start a church, and maintain it, and the large number of people who are not connected to one that live in the inner city, I'd say that's where the best effort needs to go.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:45 pm

Sandy,

If anything I've pastored in towns that had too many churches for the population. There are ten UM churches in Sioux City and we can't really sustain that many. Really only four are doing well.

I've also pastored in several small towns where there were multiples of several kinds of churches. I could easily worship in quite a few churches that I have some disagreement with if I were in a pinch.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Sandy » Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:05 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:Sandy,

If anything I've pastored in towns that had too many churches for the population. There are ten UM churches in Sioux City and we can't really sustain that many. Really only four are doing well.

I've also pastored in several small towns where there were multiples of several kinds of churches. I could easily worship in quite a few churches that I have some disagreement with if I were in a pinch.


True story. When I first moved to the Houston area, I lived in Pasadena, which was the blue collar, refinery worker eastern suburb. Within the city limits, where the population was about 120,000, there were 18 SBC affiliated churches, and three independent Baptist congregations. Five of the churches in the center of the city were literally within walking distance of each other, not over a mile and a half away. Two of them, on Main Street, were just a block apart, on opposite sides of the street. Both of those churches eventually re-located to the faster growing part of the town, about five or six miles from their previous location. The only thing that separated the two of them when they moved was a Freeway. They were situated within a half mile of each other.

One of the church plants I worked with this summer here in Pittsburgh is in a neighborhood where there were once several churches, noted by the presence of their buildings still standing, but no active church in the area. Last year, the mission group that came in surveyed the two zip-code area and found over 11,000 residents, of whom just 4 had any church relationship. Their church plant was put there by another recently planted church, in a similar neighborhood on the other side of the river. I think a lot of American cities, particularly in the Northeast, upper Midwest and far west, are in the same shape.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:32 pm

I agree. And yet it is really hard to consolidate churches. United Methodist churches have to vote to close. The denomination doesn't close churches. So there are some churches that should consider a merger or close that are on their last legs and the congregation is spending all kinds of money mostly to keep the heat and lights on. That isn't the best way to use church resources to reach people for the kingdom.
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:54 pm

Ed: Sandy, I have some questions about the experience You report from the Church with which you worked this summer.

1. Was the survey team Southern Baptist from the south?

2. Last summer how long had the new church plant been established?

3. How many members did they have last summer and how many do they have now?

4. Would you name 5 cities in the North East that you believe to be in similar a circumstance.

My team partner and I heard similar reports when we went to the South East Side of Indianapolis in the summer of 1991 for a church planting Praxis, a credit course at SBTS. We found nothing like what had been reported to the home mission board by the Indiana State Convention, when they asked for students from SBTS to do a survey. Unfortunately the more complete account of that experience which I reported on these boards disappeared with the complete archives of this site several years ago. BTW, census track info is more meaningful than is zip code areas when doing Church plating studies.

Here is a table that Google turned up for me on Religious affiliation in Pittsburgh.

Religion Pittsburgh, PA United States
Percent Religious 60.57% 48.78%
Catholic 38.44% 19.43%
LDS 0.40% 2.03%
Baptist 2.31% 9.30%
Episcopalian 0.64% 0.63%
Pentecostal 1.31% 1.87%
Lutheran 2.36% 2.33%
Methodist 4.40% 3.93%
Presbyterian 3.97% 5.51%
Jewish 1.37% 0.73%
Eastern 0.83% 0.53%
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Re: New CBF leader says, 'Let's start some churches.'

Postby Michael Wrenn » Fri Jul 24, 2015 2:48 am

Sandy wrote:I'd have to disagree with you regarding planting churches in order to offer people more "theological leanings." If you lived in Utah, and your only option was a Mormon congregation, that would be one thing. But there aren't very many parts of the country where you wouldn't have several options from which to pick and choose. In my small hometown, population 10,000, in secular Arizona, there were fourteen churches representing a wide variety of denominations and theological perspectives. There was no Church of the Nazarene, and no Church of God, and so in our SBC congregation, we had several families representing both of those groups. Maybe we were more progressive than most, but they were welcomed, not made to be re-baptized because both of those immerse, and were included in the fellowship and leadership of the church. The congregation's doctrinal position stated a very strong, and heavily supported view of eternal security, which didn't seem to bother the folks from those backgrounds which do not believe in eternal security.

There's a difference, at least to me, between disagreeing over interpretation of scripture and doctrine, and breaking fellowship over it. I think people are more likely to consider you a heretic for not believing in penal substitution rather than over eternal security but I don't see why people who hold differing views on those topics can't worship together or be part of the same congregation.

I'm a volunteer with a local, church planting project in that I help groups who come in to town on mission trips to find a place to stay, food, and how to get around on a reasonable budget. The rural areas of Western Pennsylvania are dotted with small congregations that have been here, most for more than a hundred years, made up mostly of the older generation. If you wanted to find a church within 5 miles of my house, in a small rural community in an area that doesn't really have a high church-going population, you could find 3 Presbyterians of different stripes, a Baptist church (ABC), a Bible church, a Christian and Missionary Alliance, 2 Mennonite congregations, 2 different kinds of Lutheran churches, and a Catholic church. But in the city of Pittsburgh, where I work with the church planters for a week in the summer, there are large neighborhoods with a dense population, but few churches. Given the resources required to start a church, and maintain it, and the large number of people who are not connected to one that live in the inner city, I'd say that's where the best effort needs to go.


I'm glad you have had that experience.
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