Church planting fellowship gets gospel in written form to 13,400 Plano-area homes

PLANO?The gospel message went to 13,400 homes and an estimated 40,000 residents in the Plano area Feb. 5, thanks to 240 volunteers armed with plastic bags full of gospel tracts, flyers, church magnets and CDs.

The volunteers from Southern Baptist churches in Collin County surpassed the 205 who showed up last year for a similar effort with Stepping Stones, a McKinney-based church planting fellowship working in concert with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

Jeff Nyberg, founder of Stepping Stones and a former pastor of a church plant, has helped start 19 churches in the last 14 years, 13 of which are still functioning, he said. Since resigning his pastorate to devote himself to Stepping Stones 16 months ago, the ministry has helped form six more congregations.

The Feb. 5 outreach concentrated on areas near three SBTC congregations, NorthPointe Church in Richardson, Ascension Baptist Church in Allen and Cornerstone Church in Plano, the host church where Nyberg formerly was pastor.

Last fall, volunteers held a similar outreach that aided two church plants in Farmersville, Fellowship Worship Center and Farmersville Bible Fellowship. The participants leave with a grasp of what it means to have a “kingdom mindset,” Nyberg said.

Stepping Stones focuses on helping new churches face foundational issues that challenge their vitality?from financial help to specialized support in varied church ministries. The quarterly outreaches, such as the one in Plano, encourage the planters and the congregations, Nyberg said.

The results of such an outreach?the fourth one Stepping Stones has organized?show in the weeks and months afterwards, not necessarily the following Sunday, Nyberg noted.

“As a church planting fellowship, we want to plant 100 churches in concert with the SBTC over the next 10 years,” he said. The ministry’s website states that of 280 million people in the United States, 196 million are unchurched. Nyberg believes church planting is the most effective evangelism strategy.

“With the failure rate being 50 percent or higher, new church plants need a heavy dose of encouragement. Everyone benefits from these outreaches?the communities being reached, the church planting pastor and the new church plant.”

“Their kingdom agenda?helping plant new churches that grow by conversion and multiply by planting more churches?is the same as ours,” said SBTC Missions Director Robby Partain. “The ministry partnership we have with Stepping Stones is part of our long-range strategy to identify partners in the field with whom we can work to plant new congregations.” Within Texas, Stepping Stones’ work is exclusively SBTC based, Partain noted.

Nyberg said he needed encouragement 14 years ago when he founded Cornerstone Church. Consequently, Stepping Stones aims to help churches and their leaders mature and reproduce themselves. Participating church plants give back financially to Stepping Stones to fund more church plants, Nyberg said.

Information about Stepping Stones’ annual fund-raiser on April 8 featuring Zig Ziglar, nationally known author and speaker, can be found at

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