Reseeding America


Consider Reseeding America When Planting a New Church

Recently, we had the opportunity to talk to a future church planter concerning raising support and the advantages of coming with the Reseeding America program through BIMI to plant a church in the United States. This article is simply a recap of the things we discussed.

First of all, Reseeding America does not plant churches nor do we restart churches. We believe that churches are to plant churches. The Reseeding America ministry of BIMI places itself under the direction of the local church and local pastor to assist the sending church, the sending pastor, and the church planter in the planting of a new church or the restart of a church. Reseeding America exists to help the sending church and church planter to carry out a successful church plant or restart. 

So what are we talking about when we use the term BIMI or Reseeding America? Baptist International Missions, Inc. (BIMI), is an independent Baptist mission agency with a well- trained staff of leaders with many years of experience. BIMI is directly responsible to a Board of Trustees made up of local church pastors who are highly respected among their peers. Every decision made by the leaders of BIMI is reviewed by these local church pastors semiannually. In addition to this, they also set the standards and policies for all BIMI missionaries. This is what makes BIMI a strong, local church-oriented mission agency.

Some things to consider when raising support for the start or restart of a new church are the following:

1. Gather all the information that is available on the area God has placed on your heart and put together a survival budget (see #3) for that town or city.

2. Independent Baptist church plants and church restarts in the United States have sadly faced a 50% survival rate. One out of two church plants never make it past five years. A key reason is that the eager and possibly pressured church planter begins his work prematurely and severely underfunded.

3. The deputation process can be an asset. You will not know how much support to raise until God directs you to a city and you have put together a budget to survive in that city. So you must first pinpoint the city and know that it is possible in the United States to raise enough support to start your church or restart the church and support your family while you plant or restart the church. When you begin to talk to men who have planted churches or restarted churches in America, 95 percent will tell you that they wished they would have spent more time in this effort.  In fact, when we ask these pastors what they might have done differently when they started or restarted their churches, the number one response is "I would have raised more support." It is not wrong to raise adequate support to start or restart a church in the United States even though all church planters are eager to begin their new work. This is a common problem that arises when the work is started or restarted before the necessary funding is raised.

Furthermore, in one to three years after a new church start or restart, some of the supporting churches may start to drop their support because they want to fund a new church plant or another project in the United States. This forces the underfunded man to find a job or some source of income. Now he has a church, a job, and a family. He is the pastor of a church and he has a secular job. Speaking from experience, there is not enough time in a day to work two full-time jobs and have enough time for a family. After about five years of this type of load, the family has suffered, the church has suffered, and the church does not stay open. The church planter and his family have tried but they failed to establish or restart the church. One big reason for failure was the lack of proper finances. 

In the past I have helped men plant churches who simply raised support by contacting pastors or they had their pastor send out letters concerning the new church start or restart. This is how they raised their support. This method will work if the sending pastor and/or church planter is widely known and appreciated. I pastored for several years, but I always wanted my people to meet the pastors or church planters they were supporting. We wanted to hear about the church planter's burden for a city that needed an independent Baptist church or the restart of a church. We wanted to meet the church planter's family to see if they were behind the church planter. We wanted to partner with them and that is hard to do when you never meet the church planter or his family. A church planter who does not experience a time of deputation may miss many blessings and opportunities for spiritual growth and maturing. As you present your ministry and burden, many good ideas and friendships can be developed as you meet pastors and their congregations. Another blessing is that you will see God provide people and items that you will need to start or restart your church. You also develop a list of churches who will faithfully pray for you during your ministry.

Some USA church planters think that when they join with a mission agency like BIMI/Reseeding America that they are asking churches to support them for a lifetime. That is not the case. The Reseeding America program is designed so that men can raise support for a three to five year period, depending on the need. Others think that joining a mission agency means that a mission board director will take over the church plant or restart and/or tell them how to conduct their ministry. That is also incorrect. Reseeding America stands ready twenty-four hours a day to assist the sending church and church planter in avoiding common mistakes that lead to church plant failure. These are reasons to pray about enlisting the help and coming with Reseeding America through BIMI.

Let me list some reasons for allowing Reseeding America and BIMI to assist you: 

1. BIMI has a donor base of over 8,000 churches that can be accessed at the touch of your computer and easily contacted while you are raising support.

2. Being a BIMI missionary church planter opens churches to you and your ministry because they recognize BIMI as a well-established mission agency with quality leadership and with well-screened and qualified missionaries.

3. For 54 years BIMI has developed a strong relationship with local churches nationwide and these churches are open to BIMI missionaries presenting their ministries and burdens.

4. BIMI/Reseeding America has an extensive candidate school, deputation training, and church planting courses as well as professional help preparing missionary presentations.

6. BIMI/Reseeding America offers start-up financial assistance and on the field start-up assistance from men who have planted churches. The extent of this assistance is offered as needed when requested by the church planter and the sending church.

7. BIMI/Reseeding America offers a continual follow-up program to assist the sending church and church planter at different stages of church development and growth.

Contact us at Reseeding America if you are the following:

• A pastor of a church getting ready to plant a new church and/or sending out a church planter in the United States.

• A church planter planning to plant a church in the future.

• A church planter who is praying about the possibility of restarting a church.

Contact BIMI USA Director Bob Larson at 423-605-6098 or Dr. John Bailes at 423-605-4020 or Baptist International Missions, Inc. at 423-344-5050.

The guidance and experience of the Reseeding America Ministry was critical for us and our pastor in the process of planting this church. My family and I praise God for their vision “for such a time as this!”

Todd Threlkeld

New Haven Baptist Church

Summerville, GA

“The Reseeding America Ministry has been a great blessing to us.  Their advice, encouragement, and hands-on help has been invaluable, especially during the busy weeks before our grand opening service.  God knew we needed them!”

Ron Manuel

Lighthouse Baptist Church

Avondale, AZ