Church Planting Conference Explores Vital Ministry

Mark Brooks is convinced of the need to train and encourage church planters.

“It needs to be an emphasis,” Brooks said. “It needs to be a huge emphasis.”

Brooks (’90), pastor of the four-year-old Heritage Baptist Church of Cedarburg, WI, was one of four guest speakers for the first Maranatha Church Planting Conference. The Oct. 16 event saw students, area pastors, and others interested in church planting ministry attend six workshops, dinner, and a question-and-answer session.

Maranatha graduates have helped start new churches in America and around the world. Brooks was joined by fellow speakers Troy Budreau (’07) of Faith Baptist Church of Northern Macomb County, MI; Bryan Brock (’99) of Life Point Baptist Church of Apple Valley, CA; and David Marriott (’07) of Lakewood Baptist Church in Delafield, WI. All four are pastors and alumni who have helped start works that are now thriving.

Maranatha President Dr. Marty Marriott and Executive Vice President Dr. Matt Davis also presented workshops.

Some sessions were practical; others dealt with related theological topics. Brooks’ session, “The Importance of Starting Out Right,” he presented lessons he learned during the Heritage Baptist Church startup process. He suggested starting with the right pastor and wife, the right core group, the right philosophy of growth, and the right intention—to eventually start other churches.

“This needs to be a passion in our college and seminary,” Brooks said. “For me, starting this church was a terrific step to take. I’ve loved it. I’ve never looked back.”

Budreau and Dr. Marriott discussed the relationship between the mother and daughter churches. Davis suggested legal advice and timing for a new work. David Marriott explored the positives and negatives of meeting in a rented facility.

“There are some challenges, but there really are some benefits,” David Marriott said. “It gets you out there in the community. There are families in our church that I would not have met if we had started out in our own building.”

Brock’s session focused on seven essential areas of agreement relative to the roles of pastors, deacons, and church members.

“There needs to be clarity on these roles for things to be done decently and in order,” Brock said. “There is nothing in the Bible to indicate there should be shared authority at the top of the leadership structure. There needs to be one leader. Plurality of elders is not where the problem lies; parity of elders is where the problem lies.”

Dr. Marriott said he was pleased Maranatha was able to host an informative discussion of vital subject matter.

“The conference provided opportunities to learn from the Scriptures and from the experiences of men who are on the front lines of the Great Commission through church-planting,” Marriott said. “It was an encouragement to all who attended to hear these men rehearse the evident power and faithfulness of Jesus Christ to build His church.

“A conference of this nature has a humbling effect when we realize that God is using us to fulfill His great plan for this dispensation. The conference was successful in refocusing our attention on the ripe harvest fields all around us.”