Don't Be an Island

by Abraham Cremeens

We love being Kossuth Street Baptist Church. There is something special about belonging to this specific church family. For over 75 years, we have faithfully sought to fulfill our mission in how we gather, grow, and scatter together. 

We also celebrate that God is doing his work through other God-honoring, Christ-exalting, and Spirit-empowered local churches in our city and around the world. We have often expressed that we as his little “c” church are very much a part of his big “C” Church. We thank God for that and recognize that we don’t have a monopoly on kingdom work. We see the tremendous value of offering resources we have and receiving from others as well, all to God’s glory.

This led us a few years ago to add "Church Networking" to our Strategic Plan and to pursue it as something to grow in. We articulated this Key Question and Action:

Key Question: How can we improve our connectedness to the wider work of God through other local churches?

Key Action: Build relationships with other churches in the area while exploring, researching, and joining a church network.

As elders, we spent considerable time exploring what this could look like. We identified clearer motivators for networking such as wanting to develop local comradery with like-minded churches. We desired interaction with a broader perspective in God’s work so we could learn from others. We also recognized the value of identifying with churches similar to our DNA and heartbeats (for instance, our church is listed on 9 Marks and The Gospel Coalition websites so others can see a bit of who we are in that connection).

Finally, we interacted with possible networks. It was a fun and refining process. In the end, we concluded with the below plan and the understanding that we can adjust as we go. You will note a tiered system because we recognize the need to be more or less networked with a particular church based on how like-minded we are.

Moving forward, we are excited to continue to be the church God has called us to be while seeking out opportunities to connect with other churches in appropriate ways. While we continue to value the autonomy of the local church, we also want to avoid being an island. We believe the below plan will help us do just that.

While we will continue to value the autonomy of our local church family, Kossuth Street Baptist Church will connect with other churches in the following ways...

Tier One: Local Awareness

Greater Lafayette Gospel Association is a group of pastors in Lafayette who meet monthly to interact and pray together.

Our Purpose: Pursue awareness of what God is doing in and through other Lafayette churches.

Tier Two: Focused Partnerships 

This is initiative-based networking in which we collaborate with other churches in Lafayette in a specific opportunity.

Our Purpose: Collaborate with churches in our community on specific projects and opportunities (e.g., Habitat for Humanity, Perspectives, Convoy of Hope, etc.)

Tier Three: Trusted Comradery

This is networking with churches and pastors in Lafayette with whom we align in many ways. Our staff teams may spend time together, seek advice from one another, and share best practices (e.g., navigating the current pandemic). 

Our Purpose: Pursue continued interaction and opportunities with pastors and churches with whom we are comfortable on the front lines.

National: The Gospel Coalition (TGC)

This is networking on a national level. While we have included our name on their list of churches and attended conferences in the past, this is a less formal ministry network we would like to participate in more.

Our Purpose: Go deeper with TGC in the following ways:

  1. Participate in the National and Women’s Conferences
  2. Participate in the quarterly workshops (in Indianapolis) for Elders and Staff

Note: We will also continue to pursue ministry-specific networks such as D6 Family Ministry, Christian Alliance for Orphans, Replicate, and other opportunities such as prayer efforts for Bethesda Outreach.

We look forward to the fruit that will come from these partnerships and networks. God has given us a big mission, and connection with like-minded churches is an important part of getting it done.