Planting Seeds Among the Nations

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. – Acts 8:4-5

He will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth. – Isaiah 11:12

The church planting torch never touched the ground. Having come through a time of turmoil unlike any in our history as a movement, we look back in thankfulness and amazement at what God has done.

As 2007 came to a close we compiled a list of all the churches among us which first reported membership in 2004 or later. Of these over 140 churches, we knew several were not church plantings but rather had been formed from the reorganization of large metropolitan churches in places like Atlanta and Washington, D.C. For the others, we surveyed church leaders and administrators around the world by phone and e-mail, and even published the rough list on Mission Memo and Disciples Today so that any member anywhere with firsthand knowledge could help us confirm which new churches were bona fide church plantings.

As e-mails poured in from around the world, a sharper picture came into focus: we found some had been sent out before 2003, some had failed in the field or had to be recalled, and one had even been relocated due to civil unrest!

After sorting out all the responses, we’ve been able to confirm that from 2003 to 2007, at least 98 new churches have been planted among us, from Auburn, Alabama to Rawalpindi, Pakistan and scores of places in between.

Our brothers and sisters in India led the way, with 22 new plantings. There are now over 50 churches in India and another nine in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and other nations in the region that are descended from the Bombay (now Mumbai) Church of Christ, planted in 1987.

Several of the 18 new church plantings in the U.S. have been fueled by a gathering revival among campus ministries. New churches in places such Roanoke, Virginia and State College, Pennsylvania, and Auburn, Alabama, have either seen growth fueled by strong campus ministries or have been sent expressly to evangelize in towns with large student populations. We can imagine by faith the future evangelists and church leaders that will come from these new church plantings.

In Africa, with churches planted in all the major population centers, the African leaders are sending teams of disciples to a growing list of smaller and more remote cities such as Niablé, Ivory Coast and Kara, Togo. Hundreds have been baptized on campuses in Abidjan.

At least a half-dozen new churches have been planted in two countries in Asia where disciples still aren’t free to openly organize churches and evangelize. To protect these disciples, we don’t name the cities in which they are located, but we’ve confirmed all six plantings with leaders in the region who are in regular contact with them.

To be sure, these 98 plantings are a bright spot in what would otherwise be a gloomy picture. God blessed us with explosive growth in 1980’s and early 1990’s., In the mid-1990’s, our growth rate declined precipitously. Overall membership plateaued in 2002. With the crisis that hit our churches in 2003, our membership fell sharply in 2003 and 2004. Losses in the past two years have been fewer, but still painful. (Here’s a more detailed statistical report.)

The 98 plantings give us hope. Hope that God isn’t finished with us yet. Hope that disciples are regaining their confidence in His call to world evangelism. Hope that discipling based on Jesus’ model will train up and then release church planters into the farthest corners of the world.

By God’s grace, we won’t surrender His dream to reach our generation with the gospel of Jesus. We have only just begun. There are literally thousands of places to plant new churches. Let’s pray, give, and go into all nations together relying on His power!

New 2007 Plantings

Bidar, India
Aurangabad, India
Erode, India
Moradabad, India
Panipat, India
Tambaram, India
Thiruvellore, India
Embu, Kenya
San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Tampico, Mexico
Teziutlan, Mexico
Zacatecas, Mexico
Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Bo, Sierra Leone
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Auburn AL, United States
Frederick MD, United States
State College PA, United States

New 2003-2006 Plantings:

Bamenda, Cameroon
Beomi, Ivory Coast
Daloa, Ivory Coast
Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast
Niablé, Ivory Coast
San Pedro, Ivory Coast
Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast
Malaba, Kenya
Mombassa, Kenya
Asaba, Nigeria
Ijebu-Ode, Nigeria
Pietersburg, South Africa
Kara, Togo

Siem Reap, Cambodia
Aluva (Alwaye), India
Bellary, India
Bhubaneshwar, India
Chengalpet, India
Dimapur, India
Dharapuram, India
Karaikal, India
Kalpakkam, India
Kolhapur, India
Nainital, India
Quilon, India
Sivakasi, India
Thiruvalla, India
Tirunelveli, India
Bandung, Indonesia
Bitung, Indonesia
Nias, Indonesia
Obihiro, Japan
Okinawa, Japan
Bucheon, Korea
Bundang, Korea
Khonkaen, Thailand
Undisclosed (6)

Newmarket, Ontario
Fort Collins, Colorado
Davenport, Iowa
Lansing, Michigan
Bozeman, Montana
Great Falls, Montana
East Hampton, New York
Greenville, North Carolina
Dayton, Ohio
Ashland/Medford, Oregon
Killeen/Temple, Texas
Waco, Texas
Roanoke, Virginia
Tacoma, Washington
Appleton/Neenah, Wisconsin
Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Bergen, Norway
Khaki , Azerbaijan
Yaroslavl, Russia
Vinnitsa, Ukraine
Zaporozhye, Ukraine

Concepcion, Chile
Vina del Mar, Chile
Oriente, Dominican Republic
Santiago, Dominican Republic
Guayaquil, Ecuador
Carrefour, Haiti
Les Irois, Haiti
Mapou, Haiti
Acapulco, Mexico
Aguascalientes, Mexico
Cancun, Mexico
Culiacan, Mexico
Merida, Mexico
Morelia, Mexico
Oaxaca, Mexico
Tlaxcala, Mexico
Trujillo, Peru

Other New Churches, 2003-2007

The following churches are not new plantings but, as a part of our history, are listed here as newly established congregations. Most were formed from the reorganization of large metropolitan area churches into smaller, regional churches.

Congregations from the former Atlanta Church of Christ, now disbanded (9)
Cornerstone Church of Christ
Stone Mountain Ministry
North River Church of Christ
Athens Church of Christ
Faith Fellowship Christian Church
Atlanta Church of Christ at Cobb
Central Gwinnett Ministry
Greater Atlanta Church of Christ
Northview Church of Christ

Congregations that were formerly regions of the Boston Church of Christ (4)
Rhode Island Church of Christ
Worcester County Church of Christ
Granite State Church of Christ
Pioneer Valley Church of Christ

Congregations from the former Washington, D.C. Church of Christ, now disbanded (5)
Montgomery County Church of Christ
District of Columbia Regional Church
Northern Virginia Church of Christ
Potomac Valley Church of Christ
Greater Baltimore Church of Christ

Congregations from the former London Church of Christ, now disbanded (7)
East London Intl. Church of Christ
The South London Church
North-West London Christian Church
Southeast London Intl. Ch. of Christ
North London Church of Christ
Riverside Christian Fellowship
West London Intl. Church of Christ

Congregations that were formerly regions of the Manila Church of Christ (4)
Cavite Christian Church
Rizal Christian Church
Laguna Christian Church
Bulacan Christian Church

Other new congregations that were formerly regions of other churches, now counted separately (3)
Antelope Valley Church (Los Angeles)
Central Jersey Church of Christ (New York City)
Tshikapa Church of Christ (Kinshasa)