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A Baptist Church Planting Pattern from 1755 By Bob Larson, USA Director, Baptist International Missions, Inc. Ten years ago on a sunny spring morning, it was my privilege to have a phone conversation with Dr. James R. Beller. At that time Pastor Beller was pastoring Arnold Baptist Tabernacle in Arnold, Missouri. He had been there for over 18 years. The church had grown from a storefront building to their present property on Telegraph Road. As we visited via the phone, Dr. Beller told me that when he was in high school his mother was given some Gospel tracts and he read them and was saved. He surrendered to preach the Gospel and entered Bible college. After graduating, he thought he might pastor a church of a thousand people or more. He then shared with me that after six or seven years in the ministry he realized he would never have a church over 500. The good pastor then shared that he had been in the ministry for some time before he understood his church would never be over 200. At that point he said something I have never forgotten, “Brother Larson, though we run around 200 in our attendance or even less, we have adopted a simple method for planting churches from Baptist history and by planting churches this way we will reach thousands!” His church went on to plant several churches over the years. I had another opportunity several years later to speak in a Bible conference in Florida and Dr. Beller was also there as the main speaker for the week. This would be our last time to meet; God would take him home in March 2014. At the Florida meeting he gave me an autographed book he had just finished writing. It was called America in Crimson Red: The Baptist History of America. As I read through this history of our Baptist forefathers, that simple method for planting churches that Pastor Beller had mentioned in our phone conversation years earlier was to my surprise the Baptist Church Planting Pattern of the Separate Baptist pilgrims of the mid-1700s. This group was led in North Carolina by a man named Shubal Stearns. The book was an exhaustive history of Baptists. It spoke of the Sandy Creek Church pastored by Stearns. Reseeding America is a ministry of Baptist International Missions, Inc., assisting local churches and their missionary church planters in the starting of new churches and the restarting of churches in decline across the United States. www.reseedingamerica.com USA Director Bob Larson 423-605-6098 blarson@bimi.org National Reseeding America Representative Dr. John Bailes 423-605-4020 jfbailes@gmail.com