Church Planting, Unify Project & Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial
When churches work together, they can accomplish more than when they go solo. That’s the basic idea behind the Cooperative Program of the SBC. The Unify Project, a national collaborative with renowned pastor Tony Evans to engage Southern Baptist pastors in racial reconciliation, is weeks from launching, former Southern Baptist Convention President Ed Litton announced Oct. 20. And, the Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial, built in 1925, faces the harbor in honor of the thousands lost at sea in this Massachusetts city’s history.
When churches work together, they can accomplish more than when they go solo. That’s the basic idea behind the Cooperative Program of the SBC. When Christ Fellowship in Tampa, Fla., felt led to launch a new campus, they weren’t alone. The Send Network Florida…a part of the SBC… walked beside them every step of the way.
Across the SBC, 817 new congregations were launched in 2021, the highest total since 2015. That total included church plants, replants and new campuses of existing churches. For each of those congregations, there was a sending church that needed assistance customized to its unique setting.
The Unify Project, a national collaborative with renowned pastor Tony Evans to engage Southern Baptist pastors in racial reconciliation, is weeks from launching, former Southern Baptist Convention President Ed Litton announced Oct. 20.
He invited pastors to pray for and join the work, and to sign up for updates via email at TheUnifyProject.org (https://theunifyproject.org/).
Evans, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas and a noted author, theologian and radio host, will help lead the Unify Project in concert with The Urban Alternative ministry he also leads.
The program will include an annual one-day solemn assembly when congregations will fast and collectively re-invite God into the wellbeing of their community, without compromising any elements of the faith; pastors and leaders addressing with one voice, in love and with biblical clarity, proclaiming God’s perspective on issues facing their communities including identity, race, marriage, and life; and collectively performing acts of kindness throughout their communities.
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The Gloucester Fisherman’s Memorial, built in 1925, faces the harbor in honor of the thousands lost at sea in this Massachusetts city’s history. On its base facing the waters is Psalm 107:23 – “They that go down to the sea in ships ….”
While a tribute to those who helped build Gloucester’s connection to the sea, the inscription is incomplete in its meaning. Psalm 107 gives examples of those who reject the Lord time and again, but come to an understanding of His redeeming love. Of those sailors, it concludes, God “brought them to their desired haven.”
Kody Aten prays that Freedom Church will grow as a navigating force to the cross.
“The biggest misconception about New England is that people are atheists. They’re not atheists,” he said, adding that many focus a lot on religion while missing the essential relationship for salvation found in Christ.
The people also have a bit of a blue-collar edge, something Aten understands from having grown up nearby in Connecticut. He can also connect with those trying to break from addiction, an epidemic that Aten had to address himself by entering rehab at 18 years old.
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