IMB missionary leading church replant in Warren County

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (KT) — A desire to reach lostness in Warren County has sparked a church replant that plans to be creative in how it ministers in the community.


Scottsville Road Baptist Church, which has dwindled to about 15 members in recent years, is now functioning as Living Hope-Scottsville Road. Renovation is underway on the church building located beside the associational office but, until that is completed, the church is gathering at Living Hope Baptist Church's student building. It’s expected to move to the renovated facility the second Sunday in September.


Benny Stofer, local impact pastor at Living Hope, said the replant began two weeks ago with its first service. Along with the 15 Scottsville Road members, who had unanimously agreed to replant, was a core leadership group from Living Hope. “We have young families and children wanting to do something different to reach the lostness because there is so much in Warren County and Bowling Green,” Stofer said. “We want to get multiplication. We want churches to multiply churches and believers multiply believers.”


Stofer said the replant “is going to be very vision-driven. For the vision God has given us to work through this campus, we feel we have the best person in the world to lead it.” That person is Will Burnham, an IMB missionary to Greece for the past nine years and on the mission field for 12 years, who will be the campus pastor and international catalyst.


“Will was part of a movement in Athens, Greece, that in the last four years started 200 churches. He has a lot of experience and knows the proven global pathway and strategy.”


Burnham and his family returned to the U.S. last June with plans to return to Greece. “We fully anticipated going back to Greece, but we had a few medical issues — nothing that kept us from going back, but delayed us. The Lord opened this door (at Living Hope) for us — to bring a multiplication strategy to a traditional church plant.”


Burnham said all 15 past members among a total of about 90 people attended the first service two weeks ago.


“We’ve added some families — everything is centered around multiplication. When we launch in September at the new campus, we will also launch simultaneous worship gatherings taking place in homes.


“We’re bringing with us from overseas how we have home groups that are more strategic. We want to spread people over the community. We call them ‘other worship gatherings.’”


Diversity in age and ethnicity is “our hope and our desire,” said Burnham. “Scottsville Road is a diverse area with a lot of apartment complexes, and we are excited about that. Bowling Green is a very diverse city. One of the things we learned overseas is that other nationalities will spread faster among their own people groups. We desire the church to be a hub of ministry, not just a church building. We will have other worship events during the week, centered around language. All are welcome on a Sunday morning, but we want people to know there is a second-best option.”


Burnham said he is encouraged by the response to the replant. “We’ve already been going door to door in that area, and we have not had a single door shut in our face — we’re excited.”


Stofer echoed that excitement about witnessing and ministering to the refugee population in Bowling Green. “In Greece, we are seeing church streams that are fourth and fifth generations deep — we are excited about what is happening there among the refugees. We hope to see that with our large refugee population as well as other people throughout the county.”

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