The Target City Model


The Target City Model
Tucson Reformed Baptist Church, Tucson, AZ


My church planting experience primarily consists of either doing it or watching it being done wrong and trying to figure out how to do it right. I was somewhat involved with my dad planting a church in Indiana, and then upon graduating from seminary I was called to help plant a church in Casa Grande, Arizona. While my dad’s church was eventually established, it took a long time and that to a degree prepared me for some of the difficulties. The Casa Grande work failed quickly and so it helped me realize just how much I needed to learn before trying it again.

When the idea of planting a church in Tucson was proposed, I sought to learn as much as I could about church planting before coming here. I do not know that I have an exact method so to speak only what was needed here in Tucson. When we decided to start focusing upon this area, 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, and probably better than what we have done, 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 the two means. Hopefully garnering a mix of families from both the sending church and those already in Tucson. That plan failed as nobody from the sending church went with us, and we did not get that many families from the Bible study. But we went ahead and kept things on track and started services when we had planned. The further irony is that three of the families that had been part of the Bible study and appeared like they would be part of the church backed out once we started services, but in the Lord’s providence two other families that we had not expected, and had no contact with started attending the first Sunday.

Since starting services we have tried to focus upon corporate worship, and teaching in the church while frequently moving out of the church attempting various means at outreach and evangelism. We’re also working through various ways to build somewhat of a community in the church since at this point our regular attenders are coming from a very large area and therefore hard to have organic community.

I have focused personally on improving my preaching, figuring there is very little I can do about who shows up, but I can be a good steward of the ministry God has given me and develop my gifts and talents.

Yours in Christ,
Rob Cosby