The Target City Model
The Target City Model
Tucson Reformed Baptist Church, Tucson, AZ
A church plant in Tuscon had been discussed by some pastors for some time, but since there was not a core group in the area things had never moved forward. But as a region with around a million residents, there was a strong desire to see something started even if things were not moving forward. John Giarrizzo, Pastor of Grace Covenant Church in Gilbert, AZ, had a burden to see something happen and approached the church's pastoral intern, Rob Cosby, about moving to Tucson and planting a church there. Rob, having grown up in the Tucson area had a burden for that area as well.
When the idea of planting a church in Tucson was proposed, we did not have a single contact in the area that we could approach even to start, so the more common model of waiting for an organic group to grow up and then call a planter was not an option for us. While that does seem to work in many situations, it was not an option for us. We then had to start from scratch even finding a core group.
Our goal was to, through various means, assemble a core group, and then, once assembled, start a bible study. At the same time, we approached the members of the sending church about the possibility of any of them moving to Tucson as well to be a part of the plant. The goal was to develop a total of 10 families through these two means: garnering a mix of families from both the sending church and those already living in Tucson. Things did not go according to plan, as nobody from the sending church went with us, and we did not get taht many families from the bible study. But, though smaller than hoped for, we had a few families and we went ahead and kept things on track and started services when we had planned. Ironically, three of the families that had been part of the Bible study and appeared like they would be part of the church, actually backed out once we started services. But in the Lord's providence, two other families that we had not expected and had no prior contact with started attending the first Sunday.
Starting with out any initial group has had its challenges, and it has taken a while to really get things going. But the Lord has blessed and at the five year mark, the church has grown both in numbers and spiritually, and has become an established church.
It is our hope that this can become something of a model for planting churches in areas where they are needed, even if there has not been a pre-existing group.