ALBUQUERQUE (BNM) – Technology used by only two other Southern Baptist state conventions has streamlined The Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s church planting process. The BCNM’s Missions Mobilization Team uses a custom version of the online Planter Portal to assess potential church planters and church plants. The web-based tool provides four functions: communication, process tracking, evaluation and activity reporting. It also serves as a conduit for potential church planters to submit all necessary information for their application and evaluation.
The portal launched in January of 2020. It allows the MMT team to track and communicate with planter candidates. Through the portal, candidate planters can post their information. The site’s tracking capabilities determine the likelihood of the candidate’s ability to plant a church. After establishing a pastor as a planter, the portal has reporting capabilities for monthly reports and updates on work done through the church plant.
Robert DeVargas customized an existing system for the BCNM. Devargas is a project coordinator, media developer and founding partner at Eternal Interactive, Inc., a web and graphic design firm. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Dallas Baptist University, Texas. The Kentucky Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention use the same system.
The Planter Portal includes local sending churches and regional Baptist associations in the church planting process. According to written instructions on the Planter Portal’s home page, the Planter Portal “allows the local church, association, and state convention to partner in planting churches.” The team continues to customize the portal to fit their needs. The MMT strives to raise potential planters and identify key geographic areas for church planting within their local communities.
The Planter Portal includes entry points for four different types of individuals and organizations. These include sending churches, potential church planters (Spanish and English), associational leaders and coaches. Church planters use the Planter Portal to complete an initial church planting application, a reference list, background check, and a church planter assessment. Sending churches use the portal to provide a Sending Church Assessment and evaluation of a potential church planter’s preaching ability. Coaches are assigned to provide mentorship and coaching to prospective church planters.
Individuals interested in church planting can register for an account at www.planterportal.com. From there, they may complete a church planting application. Next, a Missions Mobilization Team member contacts them to initiate the next steps. Learn more about church planting in New Mexico by visiting impactnm.org.
During 2020 and 2021, the MMT team planted six new churches. They are Sonrise Church (renaming to Mesa Valley), Albuquerque; Iglesia Biblica Bautista “Jesus El Buen Pastor,” Alamogordo; Word Baptist Church, Espanola; Generation Church, Farmington; Casa de Dios, Pleasant Hill, and Thrive City Church, Las Cruces. The team also assessed six church planters: Jonathan Guinn, Juan Mendoza, Jordan Clark, Stephen Soto, Javier Gonzales and Jesse Hardy. Additionally, three planters are completing the church planter process.
The MMT team will host a church planter luncheon in October, during the BCNM Annual Meeting, Roswell.