It is a good practice to stop occasionally and assess how the Convention’s ministries are achieving the purpose for which they were established.
In this article I want to give you some insight into what is being done and how it is being received. CSBC’s primary ministries are church planting, evangelism and missions, revitalization, and small church initiatives.
I will start with church planting. In 2018 there were 70 new churches started in California. The breakdown was 30 Anglo churches and 40 ethnic congregations. That is a good picture of the population make-up of the state.
The 70 new churches represent 10 percent of all the SBC churches started in North America in 2018, and I want to give a big shout-out to the pastors of the mother churches, church planters and partners who worked together to make these churches possible. I also commend the Convention for setting aside $600,000 of CSBC funds for new church plants.
In the area of evangelism and missions, the number of churches receiving assistance to mobilize, and conduct evangelism training and evangelistic events is very strong at more than 700 in the last 16 months. More than 250 of those have received combined financial assistance of $575,000 to reach their ministry field. With more churches engaging their communities with the gospel, the number of overall baptisms will be impacted.
Churches of all sizes, ethnicities and locations are beginning to intentionally share the Good News in their context and culture.
Revitalization is a new aspect of the Convention’s ministry. Since 2017, 185 churches and more than 400 of their leaders have engaged with the Count the Cost process. This process allows a church to regain lost momentum and get help to get back on track for impacting the community with the gospel. Thus far 20 consultants have been trained and others are currently being trained to follow up on the churches each month to assist with their progress.
Count the Cost 2 training, dealing with “Issues That Can Sink Your Ship,” is now being conducted and has been received very well.
Another new aspect of ministry involves the small church. Seventy-five percent of congregations in the Convention average 100 or fewer. These churches often feel isolated and do not feel they are taken seriously. The small church team is giving these churches a voice and providing ministries that are specifically designed for their smaller size.
Every church is important and every church matters. Areas being highlighted are servant leadership and spiritual health of both pastors and churches.
California Southern Baptist Convention is alive and well — and doing a few things well rather than attempting to do many things poorly. The four ministries above are crucial in reaching California for Christ. If your church could utilize what the Convention is providing please let us know. It will be our pleasure to assist you and find a way to resource your vision.
See archives of Dr. Agee's previous Insights.