In the Great Commission, Jesus essentially gave his disciples a church-planting imperative. By calling the disciples to go, baptize and teach, Jesus also provided a context for their disciple-making mission. This mission aimed at more than a person making a decision for Jesus Christ, but envisioned lives being enfolded into churches—living and worshiping communities of faith.
Church planting is still at the heart of Jesus' mission for the church in the 21st century and the primary purpose of Reach South Texas. It is our aim to plant churches that are soaked with Gospel life so that they embody God's grace in worship, community and mission.
It is critical to us that we plant churches that are deeply rooted in the truth of God's Word, contextually-aware and winsomely missional. We seek to plant churches that are neither against the culture nor blindly follow it, but which faithfully, graciously and courageously exemplify Christ's presence to our neighbors.
We recognize that the first years of launching a church are crucial and an all-encompassing experience for the planter and for his family. These early years that stretch through particularization require significant emotional, spiritual, and methodological support. According to Church Multiplication Ministries (CMM),
Today's pastor faces unprecedented challenges. The complex and changing dynamics of family, theology, worship, marriage, time management, finances (just to name a few) can be overwhelming. The pastor often feels ill-equipped by his seminary education to handle all these challenges and in many cases the pastor retreats into isolation and anxiety.
These demands prioritize the need for church planting coaching. Church Smart Resources notes,
Every study we have done shows that church leaders will do a better job leading their church to health if they have a coach who comes alongside to encourage them, ask questions, offer resources and hold them accountable.
Therefore, Reach South Texas requires each church planter to have a church planting coach for encouragement, wisdom and strategic counsel
Transforming South Texas
As important as church planting is, it is only part of a larger missional priority, which is the manifestation of the Kingdom of God and the broader renewal of the entire South Texas region. The prophet Jeremiah instructed the Israelites exiled in Babylon to "seek the welfare of the city... for in its welfare" you will find your own (Jer. 29.7). Similarly and in obedience to Christ, our churches are called to seek the welfare of their surrounding communities by engaging every area—the arts, academia, armed forces, health care, business and industry, politics and public policy—all for the cause of the Gospel. The overall transformation of South Texas is, therefore, an important goal of Reach South Texas.