Planting Partners is a network of church pastors/leaders committed to making disciples and planting churches. Our strategy is to identify and define by geography or people group our focus area and develop affinity partnerships in order to multiply our efforts.
In the spring/summer 2017 edition of the Proclaimer, we published a story about a group of SBC of Virginia pastors who came together regularly to pray for a church planting movement in their area of the state. They are now called the Planting Partners Network, with one network in Lynchburg and one in Wytheville.
Brian Edwards, Hope Church, Danville, VA
“One of the most beautiful realities of Jesus’ Commission to His disciples in Mark 16:15 was that it required the disciples to embrace cooperation and collaboration. That is why Jesus entrusted His Commission to disciple(s) and not one individual disciple. Had Jesus desired to reach a neighborhood, He could have said to John, ‘go into that neighborhood and preach the Gospel,’ and John would have likely been capable of fulfilling that mission. But Jesus’ mission was bigger than a neighborhood, a city, a state, or a continent. His desire was and still is to see the Gospel made available to every man, woman, and child everywhere in the world. John R.W. Stott said, ‘We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God.’ That is the enormity of the Great Commission. Jesus’ words of expectation that day were so challenging and the scope of His vision so expansive, the disciples were forced to think beyond themselves as individuals and join hands to combine their efforts. If they had any hope of initiating the Gospel tsunami that Jesus desired, it would require them to work together. That was true in their day and that is still true in our day.
“Regardless of our personal resources, our unique visions, or our individual abilities, we cannot accomplish the Great Commission on our own, and that is one of the primary reasons I love the heart of the SBCV and our Planting Partners Network. Even the words, “Partners Network,” assure me that I am not alone, but I am surrounded by fellow laborers who are equally committed to the increase of the Gospel. The word, “network,” increases the intensity of my efforts because it dispels my feelings of isolation and promises me that there are other pastors and leaders with a passion for the advancement of the Gospel through the local church. Having Gospel partners gives me the audacity to believe that the Commission given to us by Jesus is being fulfilled.
“In our Planting Partners Network, I have witnessed beautiful selflessness for the sake of fulfilling Jesus’ Commission to His disciple(s). I have witnessed church leaders embracing, ‘for Thine is the Kingdom’ and refusing to be rendered ineffective by living ‘for mine is the Kingdom.’
“This Easter, Hope Church will celebrate the effectiveness of the Planting Partners Network as we launch our first church plant since partnering with the SBCV. The encouraging conversations, shared experiences, wise counsel, and invaluable training will all be realized when yet another voice is added to the multiplied thousands of voices fulfilling Jesus’ command to ‘preach the Gospel.’ I have personally witnessed the impact of hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm ministry, and it is invaluable. Hope Church could never express how grateful we are for the passionate leadership and needed guidance of Randy Aldridge [SBCV church planting strategist] and the continuing support of our SBCV partners. Together, I believe we will continue the important work of the Great Commission just like Jesus’ disciples did, through cooperation and collaboration.”
Wendell Horton, Sky View Missionary Baptist Church, Fancy Gap, VA
“The Planting Partners Network has been a blessing to me in several ways. To hear everyone’s perspective on church planting and what it takes to have a successful church plant has broadened my own perspective. The network has helped me realize that my way of church planting may not be wrong, but it is only one way of many ways to plant. Geographical location, the personality of the planter, the make-up of the planting team, and the amount of support, all are factors in how the church plant looks. I would be remiss if I did not mention how the prayer time with like-minded brothers has encouraged me and given me a glimpse of what heaven may be like.”