But when he completed CPCT training the next day, Gallimore believed he now had a workable plan to start new churches in three neighboring counties in need of churches.
CPCT, sponsored by the North American Mission Board, is designed to address concerns churches may encounter when deciding to plant. CPCT gives every attending church team the opportunity to develop and get feedback to their plan for starting a new church.
"The second day of the training we began to design plans and began to envision how we could implement those plans," Gallimore said of the sessions at the Nashville-area Brentwood Baptist Church in mid-August. "I think that's what is missing so often in other conferences. They have the 'let's go out and get them,' but you don't actually get the pick, the ax and the shovel out and start building the foundation. We actually presented our plan for planting a church.
"You don't just come away with ideas. You come away with a plan."
Thirteen years ago Gallimore planted Tennessee Valley Community Church in rural Paris, Tenn., to reach the community's unchurched. The church plant has grown to more than 750 in attendance and baptized 450 people.
Now, thanks in part to CPCT, Tennessee Valley Community Church plans to start new churches in three neighboring counties where nearly 170 members and church attendees live. Gallimore came to the CPCT training with the vague thought to plant one church in the area. He left with concrete plans to start three.
CPCT is a key part of the North American Mission Board's strategy to encourage and help Southern Baptists start 15,000 new churches during the next decade. In bringing the training to churches, local associations and state conventions, NAMB usually holds CPCT sessions in church settings. While the training encourages churches to consider planting anywhere there is a need, it focuses on preparing churches to plant in the underserved areas of North America, particularly NAMB's 32 Send North America cities of key metro areas across the United States and Canada.
CPCT covers the biblical basis for why North America needs more churches and provides practical coaching as churches develop their own plans. The training helps pastors and church leaders learn to answer objections to church planting, avoid common mistakes as a parent of a new church and find a church planter (inside or outside of the church). NAMB considers the training a critical next step once churches accept God's call to plant.
"It's a great tool for any church desiring to be a supporting, sending or multiplying church," said Shane Critser, NAMB's team leader for church and missionary discovery. "It's absolutely worth a leader's time to attend."
Bob Lowman, director of missions for the 130-church Metrolina Baptist Association in Charlotte, N.C., said the training, which his association hosted in June, played a key part in the association's efforts to plant more churches.
"The best method of planting churches is for churches to plant churches," Lowman said. "We need to be about multiplication if we are going to reach the community around us and the culture we live in. That mindset is important, and the CPCT helped us grasp that in a more significant way."
In addition to local churches, staff from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and the South Carolina Baptist Convention attended the sessions. By the first few months of next year, the Metrolina association plans to hold several shorter CPCT sessions -- each just a few hours long -- that will preview at least one extended training session.
The Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions also has made the training a key part of its efforts. Lamar Duke, the convention's lead church planting strategist, said Alabama convention hosts regular "Basic Training" for church planters throughout the state. He is working toward a minimum of 20 CPCT trainers available to help churches learn how to be effective "mother churches," with a goal of at least 150 sending churches to be trained through CPCT next year.
"We're getting some momentum toward church planting in Alabama," Duke said, "but we need the sending churches to come alongside of these church plants so planting can happen in a more healthy way."
To find out more about Churches Planting Churches Training, including future dates and locations, visit namb.net/CPCT.
Tobin Perry writes for the North American Mission Board. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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