small places church planting

"There are no little people in God’s sight, so there are no little places." - Francis Shaeffer

"Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Jesus' home town was a small, insignificant place. The bulk of Jesus’ ministry was to small towns — Paul went to large, metropolitan areas. Both are missionally substantial! Rural America numbers 42-60 million souls and is relatively unreached. Rural America has the highest rate of suicide because of hopelessness caused by joblessness, poor education, generational patterns. These factors also contribute to the epidemic of opioid and meth addiction.

gospel food deserts

"How many...invisible, names, powerless little places are there in this world? All the world, as a matter of fact, is a mosaic of little places invisible to the powers that be." - Jaber Crow

60 million souls in need of the gospel. 

In most urban centers, the poorest areas are food deserts. That means there is no access to a quality supermarket within the geographic area. People are required to get their food from dollar stores and convenience stores. Since people still eat, they receive terrible nourishment which leads to a host of other health problems. 

The rural south is often gospel-less. It is a gospel food-desert. Many of these towns are overpopulated by Jesus-plus (fundamentalist) and Jesus-minus (liberal) churches. 

There is almost no gospel-centered presence. The people are spiritually hungry, so they still eat. But they are not eating the healing food of the gospel.

our strategy

We want to target small towns with a population of 20,000 or smaller in Middle Tennessee, such as Lewisburg, Lawrenceburg, Pulaski, Shelbyville, and Fayetteville.

Each church will begin as a traditional daughter church of Zion (with ZPC acting as the provisional Session). The church planter must be approved by a church planting assessment center. His first year will be spent identifying a place, fundraising, and recruiting people from within Zion.

Trust is a commodity in small towns. So, we want to give a man some time to develop relationships. Initially, we want to give him a five year timeline. Our dream is to plant every three to five years.

Eventually, we think that we need to develop and train men from within the church plants to stay in the area. So, we need to consider alternative educational models like LAMP for seminary education. Also, bi-vocational ministry will be important not only for sustainability, but also for credibility. 

Because of our structure, we are able to handle some things that will reduce costs and facilitate ease. Our business office can handle receipting, donations, health insurance, shared non-profit status, etc. We can leverage our strengths for more productive church planting efforts.

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