"To make any significant progress in Washington, D.C., it's going to take a major commitment from partners," said Clint Clifton, city coordinator for the Send North America: D.C. team working in conjunction with the North American Mission Board's national church planting strategy.
Clifton and his team of local planters have found a partner in Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, Ga. Under the leadership of Cross Pointe pastor James Merritt, a former Southern Baptist Convention president, the staff and congregation have quickly come behind the D.C. initiative to see more churches planted in the area this year.
"Planting healthy self-sustaining churches in urban areas like our nation's capital will take a coalition of committed and connected churches," said Mark Maynard, missions pastor at the Atlanta-area Cross Pointe. "Our goal is to provide a way for churches of all sizes to partner in church planting in Washington, D.C."
In collaboration with the Send North America: D.C. team, Cross Pointe hopes to serve as a multiplying church center to plant and multiply churches first in the District of Columbia and then across the metro area.
To kick off their partnership in 2013 and begin to share their strategy for multiplying churches in the nation's capital, Cross Pointe hosted pastors from five states to participate in a church planting strategy meeting.
Those in attendance heard from Merritt and Clifton as well as Send North America Northeast regional mobilizer Kevin Marsico. Together, the men cast the vision for a strategy to see churches planted and multiplied in D.C. over the next five years. One church plant, Pillar D.C., will launch this summer.
"From that January meeting, all five churches joined our D.C. church planting collective," Maynard said. "Our hope is to get five more partners at this weekend's vision tour." The tour of potential D.C. church planting sites is scheduled June 6-7. To participate, email email@example.com; additional information about Send North America: D.C. can be accessed at namb.net/cities.
Looking ahead, the team at Cross Pointe will launch specific church-wide campaigns as well as host additional strategy meetings to share the vision of multiplying churches and to seek out additional partners for the planters working in Washington, D.C.
For Clifton, the support of Cross Pointe has helped spur on the work of church planting and evangelism in the city. "Like William Carey's famous quote, 'I will go down, if you will hold the rope,' new churches simply will not be planted if existing churches aren't willing to hold the rope," he said. "Dr. Merritt and the Cross Pointe team have not only agreed to 'hold the rope,' but they are passionately advocating that others join them in doing so."
Larry Herndon, Cross Pointe Church's executive pastor, added, "It's great to know that there are other churches interested in partnering together to plant churches according to God's plan."
For information on upcoming church planting strategy meetings at Cross Pointe Church, contact Mark Maynard (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Sara Shelton 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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