by James Vaughn – Church Planting Catalyst, Colorado Baptist General Convention
The harvest truly is great. With an average percentage of lostness in Colorado at 90%+ there is a tremendous need for more churches for the purpose of impacting our state with the Gospel.
For the past 28 years I have kept spiritual eyes, ears, and heart open to areas that need the Gospel planted here in Colorado. They are everywhere. We live in a target rich environment when it comes to sharing the Gospel and planting new churches. Like many in our state, the alarm on my phone goes off at 10:02 every morning to remind me to pause and pray the Luke 10:2 prayer, “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” As I have prayed this prayer with pastors over the years, I have learned how to pray more effectively for laborers. Not only do we need to pray for laborers to come to our state, but we need to pray for laborers that are already in the harvest to be sent out. I now pray for boldness “as we go” that a witness will be given and churches will be planted. I pray for indigenous planters and co-laborers in the Kingdom.
Prayer works! He is sending laborers into the harvest field. It also helps us to see where more churches need to be planted. Awareness is crucial. I have had church planting responsibilities in four associational areas in western Colorado. For each area I have taken a map and listed all the communities in that area. If a community is big enough to be on the map it was big enough to make the list. Then I listed the number of Churches in each community. The majority of communities do not have an SBC church and most of those have no Gospel presence at all. When I share this information with pastors, either one-on-one, small groups, or at associational meetings, I ask the question, “How did your church get started?” Most pastors and church members cannot answer that question because it was before their time.
Having studied church planting in Western Colorado, typically here’s how it worked in the early years. In 1938, a church in New Mexico saw a need for a church in Cortez, CO. They acted on that burden and it came to pass. A few years went by and FSBC of Cortez saw a need for a new church in Mancos. Then Dove Creek and Cahone as well as others and then Dolores in the 90’s. In the 1960’s, FBC of Ouray started the work in Silverton as well as Calvary in Delta. Calvary has been the sending church for West Elk Family Church in Hotchkiss which is the sending church for Grace Community in Crawford as well as others on the horizon. Calvary is also the sending church for Church Without Walls in Delta. Ouray was also instrumental in starting Alpine Chapel in Telluride. Through the years Bookcliff Baptist Church in Grand Junction helped to establish most of the churches in that area, which have gone on to plant other churches in their area.
You get the idea.
Church planting has been a big part of our history and has been making an impact in communities across Colorado for decades. Lives have been changed because churches looked across town or down the road a ways and saw the need for a Gospel presence in another community and they responded in obedience. That has not changed!
After I share the list of communities with pastors and churches I challenge them to adopt a community. Adopt means to pray for, learn the demographics, discover and meet needs, and develop relationships. Part of the challenge is to discover where God is at work and join Him there. There are 153 communities on the map in my region of responsibility. We have 88 churches and church plants. There are 100 communities that have no SBC church and most of those have no Gospel presence at all. Most of our multiplying, sending, and partnering churches have come as a result of seeing this information and accepting the challenge in obedience.
You are now being invited to be a part of Kingdom expansion by looking across town or down the road a ways and adopt a community. You may be the next answer to someone’s Luke 10:2 prayer! Your next step could result in a vibrant Gospel-centered church making an impact on peoples lives in that community just down the road.