According to the NAMB website, the North American Mission Board currently pulls its church planting data from the Annual Church Profile. Unfortunately, this results in untimely and incomplete information. For example, in March of 2015, the most recent data available was from 2013—an unacceptable lag of two full years. Additionally, the notion that our church plants should merely report the same basic information that our established churches report is simply false. These plants do not have church status yet as they are being financially supported by the Southern Baptist Convention. As we examine our investment, we have the right to expect a greater amount of information.
In 2010, 943 churches were planted. Three years later, 80% were still functioning. While that is not a bad rate of survival, we should not have had to wait until 2015 to obtain this data. Right now, we should be able to compare 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. We should be able to track data in an ongoing manner with mandatory annual reporting by church plants to NAMB. If a church plant fails to report, they should lose their funding.
Not only is timely reporting an issue, but we need to know more about each individual church plant in order to make meaningful observations about the types of churches we are planting. Specifically, this Church Planting Report should include the following data fields: name of church, active / closed / constituted status, location, pastor’s name, baptisms, attendance, budget, co-sponsoring groups (including individuals and/or churches affiliated with such groups, especially non-SBC groups) and any denominations with which the plant is dually aligned. Church plants should comply with NAMB reporting requirements by January 15th or experience the suspension of their funding. Below is an example.
2017 REPORT OF NAMB CHURCH PLANTS
|Number and Name||1. The Journey|
|Pastor||Rev. Todd Smith|
|Co-Sponsoring Groups||Sovereignty Network|
|Dual Denomination||National Baptist Convention|
Transparency Agenda Survey Results
In a recent poll of SBC Today readers, we asked Southern Baptists to indicate if they “approved” or “disapproved” of the idea that we “Report fully our church planting progress and partnerships.” With 154 respondents, 85.71% approved of such complete reporting. Why not give Southern Baptists the information necessary to perform a thorough evaluation of the church planting strategy we are financially supporting?
This article addresses Item Two of the Ten Item Transparency Agenda. You may READ the Transparency Agenda or COMPLETE the survey yourself. To read the articles reporting results from the other survey items, see the links below: