Rowlett church plant, buoyed by CP, gives back

May 2nd, 2018 / By: Kay Adkins / comments

Rowlett church plant, buoyed by CP, gives back

Church planters and their spouses gathered for this year’s Church Planting Retreat in the Hill Country of Texas. Photo by Caleb Lasater

ROWLETT In mid-March, the 130-member congregation at Rowlett Friendship Baptist Church celebrated its second anniversary—an event 

Pastor Alton McKinley credits in part to the Southern Baptists of
Texas Convention and Cooperative Program support. 

McKinley had been serving as an associate pastor under Pastor Terry Turner at Mesquite Friendship Baptist, the mother church of RFBC. Three years ago, they began planning a church plant, and in March 2016, the Rowlett church launched with McKinley leading as a bi-vocational pastor. 

A full-time employee at the Veterans Administration, one of McKinley’s challenges as a church planter is time. After a full day at his job, he invests another four or five hours doing church work “in study as well as just making sure the church is open for business,” he said.  

Describing the labor involved in planting a church, McKinley said: “You are establishing every ministry until that ministry is up and running—even the nursery. In an established church, the ministries and the bylaws and procedures are already in place. In a plant, the pastor has to establish all of that.

“Four out of 10 church plants do not succeed,” he said adding, “It is only with the support of the SBTC, and churches that support the SBTC and the Cooperative Program that, two years in, we are still a vital church plant.” Through CP, the Rowlett church has received financial support, mentoring support and a much-needed weekend retreat for McKinley and his wife. 

The SBTC’s Church Planter Retreat, held in San Antonio last spring, provided training and refreshment to 200 pastors and their wives, all free of charge because of CP funding.

McKinley said, “It was an opportunity for my wife and myself to just relax, refocus and re-energize. You don’t know what a blessing it is until you see other church planters who are struggling with the same things you’re struggling with, and you are able to sit down and discuss things that will make you better in your ministry, make you better in the kingdom.” He added, “It was a powerful weekend for me and my wife.”

In one impactful breakout session for McKinley, church planting pastor Damon Halliday talked about the need for persistence. The pastor of Keystone Fellowship Church in Fort Worth recounted how in five years, after persistently getting the word out, passing out fliers and serving hotdogs at community outings, the church now has more than 600 attending.  

It resonated with McKinley. “I looked back over the last year and saw how our persistence got us from 60 to 130. We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing.”

RFBC now enjoys a blessing: Being able to help support other churches through their own CP giving.  “Our church is overwhelmed that a church plant less than two years old is now giving to support other churches. My wife and I have benefited from CP giving, and we are advocates for it. Any church not doing it, you are missing out on a blessing for someone else and for yourself in advancing the kingdom.”