New Church Plants Grow for Second Consecutive Year

Source: Baptist Press

Despite the difficulties of the pandemic that have resulted in church closures across the country, the Southern Baptist Convention announced that for the second consecutive year, the number of new church plants has grown.

Cliff McCray, the founder of Radiant City Church in Boca Raton, Florida says he felt called into ministry while playing football in college at the University of Central Florida (UCF). In 2007, one of his teammates tragically passed away. Through the tragedy, God led McCray to faith and kickstarted a journey that led to full-time ministry and church planting.

“I got saved in a college ministry on UCF’s campus,” McCray said of his 2008 transformation. “I didn’t look back.”

The second career pastor left a successful career in the corporate world to plant the church after a conversation with church elders. Within less than a year, Radiant City baptized 13 people and now into its second year has added another 11 people.

“Our mission is to multiply disciples and churches,” McCray said. “We want to love our neighbors, go and multiply disciples. We just said if God has commissioned us to do that, we want to make our mission simple.”

As a church plant, Radiant City Church feels called to help develop a culture of church planting and has started an internship and residency program to prepare individuals for ministry.

A member of the SBC Class of 2021 church plants, Radiant City is one of 1,018 new congregations – 735 church plants, 201 affiliations and 82 new campuses, representing a 25% increase in church plants and a 19% increase in congregations overall. 

“We celebrate every new church that’s planted, but we also understand that the mission is not simply starting new churches,” said Vance Pitman, president of Send Network. “Our mission is to join in God’s activity of expanding His kingdom in cities and nations all over the world. His kingdom expands as cities are engaged with the Gospel, disciples are made, and churches are born. So, we rejoice whenever new believers are welcomed into the kingdom and churches are born by the power of the Gospel.”

In an average year, the Southern Baptist Convention loses approximately 900 congregations. With church plants outpacing church closures for the past two years, SBC officials hope that others might find hope that breathes new life into congregations around the world.

Source: Baptist Press