Here’s another good article about Baptists and Church Planting, written by Pamela Durso, Executive Director of Baptist Women in Ministry, based in Atlanta, Georgia. Check out the details of our Church Planting Conference after the article.
Baptists have typically been avid church planters. From the first Baptist church founded by Roger Williams in Providence in 1639, Baptists in the United States have focused much energy in organizing and growing churches. In the early days, they took their faith with them as they moved into other colonies and later into the frontier. As they settled in new places, they held worship services and eventually founded new churches. Baptists also became well known for forming new churches after divisions, conflicts, and splits within existing churches.
A few stories from history illustrate this long-term commitment to church planting. In the southern colony of Virginia, two Westmoreland County women were the only Baptists in that county in 1773. Desiring to hold worship services, they sent an “urgent” request to a Baptist preacher, Henry Toler, asking him to come to their county. His preaching along with the women’s leadership eventually led to the organization of a Baptist church on April 29, 1786. By 1806, this church was the largest in Virginia.
A Baptist church, the first in Wisconsin Territory, was organized in 1828. Formed by the Brothertown Indians, this church actually began while tribal members were living in New York, and its early members were most likely Free Will Baptists. When the United States government forced Native Americans to move out of New York, the Brothertown tribe was granted land on Lake Winnebago in eastern Wisconsin. The church and its pastor, Benjamin Fowler, relocated near Lake Winnebago.
Church planting is as old as the Baptist faith. Church planting has involved women and men, Baptists of all ethnicities and Baptists of many different traditions, including Free Will Baptists and General Baptists, Southern Baptists and Cooperative Baptists, and Seventh Day Baptists. Baptists have long been church planters!
The “Be Witnesses” SDB Church Planting Conference will be held in Alfred Station, NY, April 28 – May 3. You may register on-line here, or fill out the paper form in the February Sabbath Recorder here. Registration deadline is March 31.