With a desire to fulfill the Great Commission, one piece of our strategic plan focuses on two particular types of church plants: rural and minority-focused. Along with suburban plants and revitalization efforts, we are planting three churches in rural areas and three focused on reaching minority groups. We hope to reach those who typically fall outside of the influence of the Presbyterian Church in America.
Church planting groups always have some sort of strategy, and for many years, those strategies focused on urban centers, with the assumption that rural America was already churched. It is no longer true that rural America, particularly the younger generation, is connected to a local church or that churches are effectively reaching people in rural areas.
We are also planting churches with a particular focus on minority groups because these people are not likely to venture to established PCA churches. If we are not intentional about entering their neighborhoods, they may never connect with PCA circles or churches.
A Biblical Example
In the New Testament, Paul travels to towns both large and small, sharing the Gospel with a variety of people groups. We want to promote a biblical pattern of spreading the Gospel, which means it is for all people, and we are willing to step into new places in order to build the Church universal.
Relationship is Key
The strategy behind both of these subcategories centers on community and relationship. One challenge in rural church planting is the difficulty of breaking into small town circles. To overcome this, rural church planters put relationships first, with a commitment to being present in the community and getting to know the people and culture. Similarly, the planters focused on minority groups move into the future church’s neighborhood. They walk the same streets as their future congregation, they open up their homes, they meet the neighbors – living, working, worshipping, and playing in and with the community. Planters listen first, build relationships with business owners, and witness how the communities work.
One way we plant these churches is by starting Bible studies with groups of interested people while beginning to learn the culture and get to know the community. Additionally, the presbytery designates both finances and human resources to these plants. We offer our church planters support, with financial help for three years, a core group of elders, connection with the presbytery, and check-ins from committee members.
Upcoming rural plant locations: Tiftonia, TN and Dunlap, GA
Current minority-focused plants: Woodlands Gathering