FIRST-PERSON: SBC: A Vault of Resources for the Church Planter

Written By Andrew Carter

FIRST-PERSON: SBC: A Vault of Resources for the Church Planter

As a first-generation Christian and a new pastor in Inglewood, California, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the SBC’s willingness to fold us under their wing and adopt us. You hear things about the Southern Baptist Convention, denominations, and “the way things have been done” that can be unsettling. Naturally, there was some hesitation and reluctance because I don’t fit the image of a traditional pastor, but it has been an astounding, open-armed welcome.

Entering the adoption process has been one of the most life-giving and beneficial moves we’ve made as a church. We’ve been introduced and welcomed by some of the most amazing men and women who’ve spoken into our ministry, our marriage, and our personal development. Right after our assessments were complete and came back with green lights, we were able to attend a marriage conference where we met dozens of other planters and couples in our situation. We were connected with a large, supportive community that, in many cases, we now consider family. Being selected to participate in the yearlong residency was a blessing and a time filled with memories and forged bonds with other men who are now walking beside me. The SBC and SEND Network have gone above and beyond to let us know that we are loved and cared about.

Within the first six months of being adopted, we were connected to a partner church in Humble, Texas (United City Church). Not only did they sow a seed into our ministry, but they flew my wife and me out for a relaxing weekend and gave us an opportunity to share what God is doing in the Los Angeles area. A few months after that, our newfound partner sent a team of about 15 missionaries to Los Angeles to serve alongside us, do baptisms and community outreaches, and then celebrate with us for our two-year anniversary. They brought culture, honor, organization, and insight unique to the SBC and its history. Partnering with an established church was powerful. We’re still reaping the benefits from that time spent together. Relationships like this are hard to cultivate on your own, especially in a city where most churches are in competition with one another. To be loved and cared for and to know that you’re not doing ministry alone is priceless.

Another part of this adoption process that has been so helpful and encouraging is the access and connections. We have access to leaders who have been doing this well and for a long time. That kind of practical, hands-on experience is so helpful for young church planters like me. Many times, we’re left alone, trying to figure things out, make ends meet, and connect the dots. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when you’re a part of the SBC family. You can connect with those who’ve already been down this road. They’ve blazed the trails, allowing us to work smarter and not harder. This family is truly a blessing from God because it’s far greater than any single one of us.

Lastly, the resources that are made available to us seem to be endless. Benefits, sermon prep, education, financial planning, tax guidance, retirement, the list goes on. You can tell that you’re cared for, not just while you’re a pastor on mission, but as a human being. The love and care extend past the time spent in the pulpit, and they’ve set it up in a way that is done to ensure that you are well taken care of. Before being brought under the wing of the SBC, a lot of this information and these resources felt like they were kept behind a vault and guarded. Joining forces with the Southern Baptist Convention felt like we were given the keys to the vault, and the wealth of knowledge and resources were laid at our feet for us to do with as we please. You can tell they want us to succeed at spreading the Gospel and do everything they can to set us up to do so. It’s been an amazing experience and has added tremendous value in ways we haven’t even fully tapped into.

The way you can help is to embrace some of the cultural shifts that spread the Gospel without compromise. Partnerships, collaborations, mentorship, shared resources, and knowledge empower the body to be its best. When you see something that you don’t understand, don’t dismiss it simply because it’s not traditional. Seek to understand and continue to learn and grow. Orphan ministries need covering and support but don’t know how to receive it and what is usually discovered is that both parties benefit from coming together. A strong tradition of excellence paired with a new vision can become a powerful movement.

About the Author

Andrew Carter
Pastor, Royal City Church

Andrew F. Carter is a husband, father and author as well as the founder and lead pastor of Royal City Church in Inglewood. He travels as a guest speaker for churches, conferences, and retreats sharing his testimony on television networks, podcasts and stages. By all accounts, Andrew is a social media influencer creating content for his millions of followers.

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