By Sharon Mager
COLUMBIA, Md.—”Our church planting paradigm is simple: churches plant churches,” said Michael Crawford, Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D) church planting team consultant and state director of missions.
Crawford, in a report to the BCM/D General Mission Board on May 8 at Skycroft Conference Center, said it’s a model the convention has been moving forward on and now, it’s taking off.
“Things are the way they should be, and they’re going in the right direction,” he said.
Crawford said the September church planting assessment is full, February’s assessment is filling up, and the candidates are coming from BCM/D churches. Pastors are now recognizing potential planters or couples that may be ready to go out soon or maybe in a few years.
“I’m excited about the number of churches coming forward,” he added.
To better equip planters, Crawford said each candidate must do a residency in a BCM/D church for a year and then that host church will assess the candidate.
“This is more in keeping with the ecclesiology of the Bible,” he said.
To assist churches, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) developed a “Church Planting Pipeline” that provides assessment tools with curriculum suited to the level of the potential planter.
The BCM/D also provides much training and support to planters.
“All of our guys have coaching ten months out of the year,” Crawford said. They’re also evaluated by those coaches twice a year. That allows Crawford to get a good picture of what’s happening to keep abreast of the needs and to allow the BCM/D to be a good steward, Crawford said.
In addition, the planters have specialized training cohorts twice a year. Currently, they’re focusing on ecclesiology.
Though church planting is in a good place, there are some challenges, Crawford acknowledged. Some planters may be in situations they’re not able to handle.
“If you know of a church planter struggling, we are here to help him, not judge him. If he calls me, I will do what I can to help. He is our brother, and he is family,” Crawford stressed.
Regarding all of the change, Crawford said, “We have a unified vision. There is a good brotherhood.”
In other news, Crawford reported that Steve Canter has replaced Kevin Marsico as the SEND Network Northeast director.