Cris Alley, the strategy coordinator for the Triangle, worked with several students from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to identify the top-10 people groups in the Triangle, those most in need of gospel engagement. They used the people group mapping list put together by the Office of Great Commission Partnerships at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC).
From this list, they tried to identify those people groups in the Triangle with the largest populations of unreached people. Then they looked for N.C. Baptist churches that demonstrated some interest in reaching out to internationals. Some of these churches regularly take mission trips to the home countries of the top-10. Others had made efforts to reach out locally in the past. These churches now reach out to four of the top-10 people groups, and interest is growing in other churches to engage three others.
At the same time, Cris was praying and watching for church-planting churches wanting to start new churches in the Triangle. These churches seemed like a rich source for finding partners who might consider planting new churches in one of the Triangle’s 26 “gospel deserts.” Gospel deserts are areas of the Triangle where population growth and demographic change take place faster than the growth of the local churches.
Frank White, contract church planting consultant with the BSCNC, introduced Cris to a group of church planting churches wanting to combine the efforts of their church-planting networks in the Triangle for a more strategic gospel impact on the region. In a follow up conversation with one of these church planters, Cris discovered that they had already identified six of the 26 “gospel deserts” for new church plants!
At this point, no person they know has surrendered to Christ from among one of these people groups. But stories continue to come in about God’s faithfulness to reveal himself to the Triangle’s international neighbors. And no new church has been planted in a gospel desert. But stories continue to surface about God’s faithfulness to call his Church into mission with Him. “God blesses us, that all the ends of the earth may fear Him.” Psalm 67:7 NASB
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