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OPINION

Wright spotlights church planters in video

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--A prospective church planter needs to have "hard strengths" in leadership and a track record of success, a Texas pastor told Bryant Wright in a new video at www.pray4sbc.com.
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Steve Stroope, pastor of Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, Texas, has partnered with Wright's Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., in several church plants, including Journey Church in New York City and South Bay Church in Silicon Valley, Calif.

In a discussion with Wright about seven traits of potential church planters, Stroope said: "We are looking for hard strengths. These are movers. They are doers, not just thinkers. There are a lot of people who talk church planting. They have read all the books, but they can't pull the trigger. They don't ever get around to implementing something."

Stroope also said he isn't as concerned about what people have done in the past as he is whether they have succeeded.

"I want someone who has a record of success at whatever they have done in the past," Stroope said. "It doesn't matter if they have run their own business or if they were a grade-school teacher or whatever. I want to see a record of success, because it's not what people tell you they can do, but what they have actually done that makes a difference."

Even the smallest congregations can be successful in planting churches if they join a team, Stroope added.

"One of the things we learned when we helped plant the church in Manhattan ... was that we can do things together better than we can do then individually," Stroope said. "We gathered together about a dozen churches and we all put a little money in. We all put a little expertise in. We all sent teams and together we were able to provide the necessary support. ... You don't have to be a huge part, but just be a part of a team of churches that is interested in planting churches."

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Smaller churches teaming to sponsor a church plant can help the new work "go farther faster" than it could on its own, Andy Wood, pastor of South Bay Church, told Wright in the video interview.

"Sometimes smaller churches feel they can't make as big a difference because they don't have as big a budget or maybe as big connections, but there are lots of churches ... that are making huge differences by planting churches," said Wood, who said 95 percent of the people in the San Francisco Bay area don't know Christ.

The need for churches to balance their missions focus between North America and overseas is great and, if more churches worked together as teams, the potential for reaching people with the Gospel is unlimited, Wood said.

"There are areas in North America that are tremendously unreached with the Gospel," Wood said. "If we could all together collaborate and say, 'Hey, we're going to do whatever it takes to reach both the nations overseas and the nations which reside here ..., the capacity of what God could do globally through our churches is unlimited."

Wright concluded the interviews with a call for his audience to consider planting churches.

"Multiplying the kingdom through church planting is so biblical. I have just had the privilege of finishing a series on Paul's first mission trip, the first mission trip in the history of the church," Wright said. "There was a clear mission to his trip: preaching the Gospel, planting churches and discipling those new believers in those churches. I hope your church will consider planting a new church to build up the Kingdom of God."

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Compiled by Baptist Press senior writer and assistant editor Mark Kelly. The complete interview with Stroope and Wood can be viewed at www.pray4sbc.com.

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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