Funding, generational divide are challenges to church planting

Matt CrawfordChurch planting is one of the top priorities of both the Florida Baptist Convention and the North American Mission Board.

And, yet, many obstacles remain for the Florida Baptists that would like to get involved.

I asked Matt Crawford, pastor of First Baptist Church in Sebring, to speak about this during our recent Behind the Pulpit interview.

“Money is always a factor,” Matt said. “A lot of our churches are struggling to do other things, whether it’s pay the pastor or whatever it is. And so that’s always probably going to be a factor.

“I think, beyond that, you also have perhaps some misunderstanding that I think we need to get past where, you know, church planting right now is sort of ‘hot.’ Even though [the majority of our churches are not] new, and I don’t think we have to think …there’s church planting and then there’s the established church.

“I think we have to take a kingdom view. There’s a lot of lost people to reach. We don’t need to have this kind of generational divide—old churches with the old pastors, and young churches with the young. We need to let go of that. We also need to get past the misunderstanding that if we participate in church plants—especially if we’re sending people—we’re not losing those people.”

This is our second blog post from my conversation with Pastor Matt. Here’s the link to the first one, where I asked Matt how the Southern Baptist Convention could get more young pastors involved in the convention: Look for more outtakes from our conversation during the next several days.

This digital content will not be repeated in our August print edition, but that issue will include an edited version of Pastor Matt’s thoughts on a range of other topics as part of our regular “Behind the Pulpit” feature.

A video of our conversation also will appear on later this month. You can go now to the Witness’ YouTube channel at to see videos of H.B. Charles Jr., pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in the Jacksonville area; Stephen Rummage, pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in the Tampa area; Sam Rainer, pastor of West Bradenton Baptist Church; Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola; Willy Rice, pastor of Calvary Church in Clearwater; Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church outside of Tampa; and, Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville.

Kevin Bumgarner is executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness. He can be reached via email at, and followed on Twitter @FBW_editor

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