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Affiliation

PARTNER WITH THE BAPTIST RESOURCE NETWORK

Dear PA/SJ Baptist Church,

I am delighted that you want to know more about what makes the Baptist Resource Network unique, and what enables us to be a vital partner in your Gospel mission.

Thank you for your interest in the BRN and for your partnership in the Gospel. Everything we do at the BRN centers on four key parts of our strategy to help churches accelerate Kingdom movement:

We help churches ASSESS where they are; we ASSIST them in knowing where to go next; we help ACTIVATE the plans God has for them; and we help them ADVANCE the Kingdom in and through their churches.

We offered customized training and resources because we know churches are in different stages of growth. They are either restarting or starting; revitalizing (focused on maintaining growth), reproducing (growing and multiplying within their church), or reinvesting (growing and multiplying and benefiting other churches).

We believe the gospel of Jesus Christ is the main accelerant of the work that churches do across the BRN, because it is the only way to see a multiplication movement of new disciples, new leaders, new ministries and new churches across our two-state region.

If your church desires growth and multiplication, this is your network. After studying the healthiest of churches, we discovered a few common building blocks that lead to church vitality.

Healthy churches start with healthy leaders, healthy filters, healthy behaviors, and a healthy mission. In fact, not only do healthy churches start here, they stay here! Like a good athlete, they practice these fundamentals over and over again. We believe this so strongly that we’ve built our network around resourcing your church with these core building blocks.

Everything starts with healthy leaders. We care about your walk with God, your physical health, and your vital relationships, particularly your marriage. Many BRN pastors are bi-vocational, and we care deeply about helping you maintain comprehensive health even while working exceptionally hard.

Healthy filters provide a grid through which we consider our activities. Jesus said that we should ‘Seek first the Kingdom.’ That is a filter. Jesus said, ‘Pray… thy Kingdom come.’ That is a filter. With every decision, healthy churches do not ask, “What would we like?” but rather, “What will most effectively build the Kingdom of God in our place?” Our job is not to build the Church – Jesus will do that – but to seek first the Kingdom. The BRN helps celebrate the filters of Kingdom and prayer with you.

Healthy churches have a few healthy behaviors in common. They practice MISSIONAL ENGAGEMENT, which is living out the Kingdom of God in their particular cultural context. They have an INTENTIONAL DISCIPLESHIP process in place to move people from spiritual infancy to spiritual parenthood. They invest in ongoing LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT so that they have a strong farm team for new ministries and church starts.

Finally, a healthy mission is focused on multiplication at every level. Do you desire to see every disciple make new disciples, every ministry birth new ministries, and every church multiply new churches?

At the BRN, we have a clear vision of wanting to see every church within our Pennsylvania-South Jersey geography become a healthy, multiplying church.

On this website, you will see the resources that the BRN provides to assist and encourage you as you embrace these healthy building blocks. You’ll see what it means to be Southern Baptist. Whether you are a new church seeking affiliation with the BRN, an existing church that wants to review the resources of the BRN, or simply a faithful disciple within one of our local churches who wants to know what the broader church is all about, I hope that you’ll find this information encouraging.

Our mission is worth our partnership. Your church can be stronger when we stand together for the Gospel, and I’m truly grateful that you’re exploring the BRN.

Your servant,

Dr. Barry Whitworth
Executive Director-Treasurer

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

How to Affiliate?

Thank you for your interest in affiliating with the 330-plus churches in the Baptist Resource Network of Pennsylvania/South Jersey! Together, our bold commitment to the Great Commission and to each other will help expand God’s Kingdom and impact our communities like never before!

Partnership is not meant to be cumbersome, but we do ask for four vital areas of involvement:

Affirm the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, the statement of faith of the Southern Baptist Convention. It summarizes key Southern Baptist thought in the areas of the Bible and its authority, the nature of God as expressed by the Trinity, the spiritual condition of man, God’s plan of grace and salvation, the purpose of the local church, ordinances, evangelism, Christian education, interaction with society, religious liberty, and the family.

Participate in the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists’ unified plan of giving through which cooperating Southern Baptist churches give a percentage of their undesignated receipts in support of their respective state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries.

The Annual Church Profile is a process of collecting data regarding membership, baptisms, discipleship and more from PA/SJ Baptist churches.

Because we take the security of minors and vulnerable people seriously, the Baptist Resource Network now makes it a requirement that all affiliated churches affirm that they have protocols in place for the security of minors and vulnerable adults, as already required by state law. Those churches that do not affirm that they are in full compliance with applicable law and that they have protocols in place will be deemed as non-affiliated until such affirmation is provided.

See BRN Statement.

As we help existing churches affiliate with the Baptist Resource Network and the Southern Baptist Convention, we also assist church planters.  It is our goal to help church planters navigate through this process for shared resources and connection.

Historically, this process allows you to affiliate with the national SBC network through the Baptist Resource Network, which enables continued servicing and resourcing throughout the lifetime of the church. As you are birthed through the SEND Network (NAMB), you also become a part of the family through the BRN. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two are better than one… A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”

The following process outlines your journey to official affiliate with the SBC through the BRN:

Stage 1: Request for SBC ID Number*

  • A NAMB Church Planting Catalyst or Send City Missionary makes this request on behalf of the planter.
  • Five items are needed about the church plant:
    • Planter Name
    • Plant Name
    • Mailing Address of Planter (or plant, if known)
    • County to Plant in
    • Email Address of Planter (or plant, if known)
  • BRN completes the information in SBC Workspace.
  • Each plant must have an affiliated SBC sending church.

Stage 2: Church Plant Affiliation Process (0-18 months)*

  • This stage occurs after the NAMB residency.
  • During this time, the church plant is in the process of being launched.
  • Church plant Cooperative Program giving may begin.
  • The BRN will provide resources to assist church plant with organizational and administrative structures (the Director of Finance & Operations will work with the church, and legal counsel will be used as a resource). Contact the Help Desk to request these resources.
  • The church plant will produce governing documents consistent with the most recent SBC Baptist Faith & Message (Constitution and By-Laws) within 18 months for approval by the BRN. Campus plants will produce the governing documents of the main campus church.
  • Failure to produce, or producing unsatisfactory documentation, will forfeit eligibility for ministry grants, GuideStone benefits from the BRN (benefit for churches “officially affiliated”), and other servicing until time of completion.
  • Church plants may send messengers to the BRN’s Annual Business Session.

Stage 3: Official Affiliation to BRN/SBC

  • Governing documents (Constitution and By-Laws) and BRN-affiliation paperwork are officially approved by BRN Executive Board Leadership.
  • Church plants are eligible to complete the Annual Church Profile (ACP) for the SBC.
  • When NAMB funding ceases, the church’s status can be changed to allow messengers to be sent to the national SBC annual meeting.

*Stage 1 and 2 do not constitute official affiliation with the BRN or the SBC.

Have questions? Contact the Help Desk.

Download NAMB-Assessed Church Planting Affiliation brochure.

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