Putting Church Planting on the Map
As a follow-up to a project last summer looking at areas of gospel need, John Walley is doing more mapping for FIEC. This time he’s creating a map of FIEC church plants. Read on to find out the details…
It might not be the image that people would expect, or the first thing that would come to mind when you mention FIEC, but believe it or not we have always been a family of churches who plant churches. Some of the earliest members of our Fellowship were mission halls and church plants from denominational churches, which had become Independent churches. Many FIEC churches have been planted within the lifetime of some of their members, and they themselves have planted other churches which in turn have joined FIEC. Alongside those are the large number of recent plants that have come into the family.
Because we’re passionate about the good news of Jesus Christ going out across the land, and about the growth of thriving Independent churches, we’re also passionate about celebrating church plants and replants and about supporting others as they seek to plant. At the moment we know a lot of amazing gospel work goes on within the Fellowship, but it happens at a local level and so often great gospel triumphs go unnoticed. So our passion is to make our identity as a family of church-planting churches clearer, and to help us to work better as a family to support new church plants.
We want to be able to praise God together as new churches and congregations are planted, or existing churches revitalised and turned around for the sake of the gospel. We also want to be better at seeing church planting as something that we engage in as a Fellowship. In this way it’s important that our churches know about and pray for church plants all across the country, alongside the churches and new works on their doorstep.
Putting it on the map
So with the help of churches within FIEC, I’m spending a day a week this year working putting together a map that will hopefully enable us do just that.
If you can’t see the map above then click here to have a look. If you can see the map, click the Full Screen button on the top right to see the key.
The map shows two things. First, to celebrate the fact that FIEC churches have a strong existing commitment to planting, I’ve mapped all the churches that have been planted or replanted over the last seven years. These are divided into entirely new churches, replants or new geographic congregations, and clicking on any of the markers will let you find out more about that particular plant as well as providing a key contact person.
Secondly, the map shows all the plants within the Fellowship that have either just been planted or are in the process of being planted. The three different icons represent three stages of planting; those at an early planning stage; those that have gathered a core but have yet to start publicly meeting; and those which are meeting publicly but are still at the earliest stages of their life. In each case we’ve given the church planters themselves the chance to share the details of their plant and any particular needs, again with the opportunity to contact the planter directly.
How will you get involved?
The project is about celebrating what our churches are doing, so we’d love you to share with us the details of the plants you’ve been involved with, and help us make sure what we’ve got down really reflects the situation on the ground. Particularly if you know of a new plant in the process, we’d love to know.
If your church isn’t involved in planting at the moment then why not take a moment to look over the map and pray for one of the church plants. Perhaps encourage your congregation or one of your homegroups to adopt a church plant and sign-up to receive their prayer letters. Maybe you have people in your congregation with a connection to one of these locations – or you’re about to lose someone in your congregation to a job move or a university place. Why not encourage them not just to think about going to the big FIEC church in town, but to see if there’s a recent plant that they could support instead?
You can contact me about the project via firstname.lastname@example.org