By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
“The bottom line is it’s about evangelism,” shares Jackson, church multiplication missionary at the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. “That’s what I call the ‘Miracle Gro element’ that every successful church plant has. Evangelism permeates everything they do.”
Jackson details his observations in his new book, “Planted: Starting Well, Growing Strong,” in which he seeks to answer, “What has made new churches grow effectively?”
The book, available in April, reveals ten characteristics evidenced in the fledging early days of growing congregations. Some characteristics are internal, such as allowing everyone to have ownership of the vision. Others are external: getting into the community and out of the building.
“They all play out evangelistically because the heart of the planter is evangelistic,” Jackson says, noting findings from Church Planter Profiles developed by Charles Ridley of Fuller Seminary. These assessments, used to evaluate potential new church planters in the BCM/D, show successful planters are very passionate about lost people.
“In the earliest days of most church plants there are few, if any, people committed to the on-going viability of the new church beyond the planter’s own family,” Jackson writes. “Because this is the norm, the planter’s thoughts and actions are naturally inclined to those who are still ‘unreached.’”
As the church grows, “individuals in the congregation will begin to ‘mirror’ the inspiring leader who has greatly inspired them,” he adds.
“The point of ‘Planted’ is this: new churches are more evangelistically effective than older ones, and the reasons why this is so are not really a mystery!” shares Randy Millwood, author of “To Love and To Cherish from This Day Forward: A Portrait of a Healthy Church,” in an endorsement of the book.
Millwood celebrates the “informed research, testimonies from real practice, and personal anecdotes” contained in the book. “You often see one, but seldom see all three blended together so well,” he says.
Robert E. Logan, author of “The Missional Journey,” agrees. “‘Planted’ is a leadership primer to guide church planters, pastors and congregational leaders through the maze of healthy church development that maintains fidelity to the mission of Jesus,” he says.
While the audience is primarily directed at church planters, Jackson says seasoned ministers of established churches could glean from the book’s principles in their settings as well.
Available on Amazon.com, “Planted” is published by Screven & Allen Publishing, named after William Screven, a Baptist preacher and shipbuilder who arrived in Charleston, S.C., from Maine in 1696 to plant the first Baptist church in the South, and Roland Allen, a missionary who established indigenous churches in China.