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EP 247 – Replanting when The Mission Field Changes with Frederick Clement

Replant Bootcamp
Replant Bootcamp
EP 247 - Replanting when The Mission Field Changes with Frederick Clement

In this episode of the Replant Bootcamp, we are joined by Fred Clement from One Family Church in Dayton, Ohio, who shares his experiences and challenges in replanting a church. Fred talks about the transition from Meadowdale Baptist Church to One Family Church, the importance of engaging the community, and maintaining relationships established by the previous congregation. He also addresses the cultural and demographic shifts within the community and how they have impacted the church. Fred emphasizes intentional evangelism and creating a culture that aligns with the mission of God. Listeners will also hear about Fred’s personal journey and strategies for leading a diverse congregation through challenging times.

00:00 Introduction to Replant Bootcamp

00:21 Meet Fred Clement

01:11 The Journey to One Family Church

06:06 Challenges in Replanting

13:02 Engaging the Community

21:56 Navigating Cultural Dynamics

26:30 Prayer and Closing Remarks

EP 243 – Navigating Life as a Replant Family

[00:00:00] JimBo Stewart: Here we are back at it again, hope you’re ready for the next episode of the Replant Bootcamp with Boots on the Ground’s special guest, three years into replanting, but just a little while into learning that he is a replanter. Fred Clement in Dayton, Ohio, One Family Church. Man, welcome to the Replant


[00:00:19] Frederick Clement: Man, thank you for having me. I’m so honored to be here.

[00:00:21] JimBo Stewart: Man, tell us just a little bit about yourself, your family, and your ministry.

[00:00:26] Frederick Clement: Man, I am a replanter and love what God is doing in Dayton. Love what God is doing at One Family Church. I’m married to my wife, Ikaela Clement. Been married to her for 13 years. We have four rambunctious boys. Frederick Jr., who’s 11. Malachi, who’s seven, Anthony, who’s six, and my son Gabriel, who’s four, they are the life of the party.

They love church and they love what, what God is doing, what are in our family right now with church. But yeah, God has been good and we’re excited to be on this journey through all the ups and downs of replanting a church. It’s been a blessing, to our family and it’s been a joy in the learning process for sure.

Amen. Amen.

[00:01:11] JimBo Stewart: So tell us how, how did you come to one? How did you end up at, what was the name of the church before it, shut down and replanted as one family?

[00:01:22] Frederick Clement: It was Meadowdale Baptist Church. It was an older church that was in the community for 50 plus years. They were majority Anglo, and the community was majority African American. So there was a culture gap, demographic gap, socioeconomic gap in the church and the community. And this was a process that took about 25, 30 years.

the church used to look like the community. 30 years ago, the church looked like the community, but over time, the community shifted. many of the older residents, those who stayed are now widows. Those who didn’t stay moved out further south of town and the community began to become more diverse over the years.

Well, the church didn’t adapt to that change. It remained the same. Many of the members who had children, their children got married, have families, went to other churches, they stayed in the churches, got smaller and smaller over the years, less diverse, less children, less young people, less young families, and yeah, it just, it just shifted.

But in 2018, I was invited, excuse me, I was invited to come to this church, which was Meadowdale Baptist Church, by a pastor who was looking to add diversity, vigor, fervor to the church. He asked me to come in 2018 through a mutual friend who told him about me. My family and I came and we fell in love with the people.

We fell in love with

[00:03:01] JimBo Stewart: Hmm.

[00:03:02] Frederick Clement: the theology. We fell in love with the community. So we stayed in 2018 and 2019. Well, through this church process, through the pastor, I got introduced to the North American Mission Board. And got trained and got certified, um, as a church planter. But the whole process was more of a replant situation, because many of the people when COVID hit in 2020, the church decided to make a very, very challenging decision to, to close their doors and close the chapter of Meadowdale Baptist church, but they wanted to keep the building within the SBC, they want it.

the gospel presence to remain in this community. And I was here. So they gifted me with a building and many of the members from that church remained with us. We changed the name, the one family church, but a lot of the people stay, we’re still in the community. We’re still in the same building. So in essence, it is a replant situation and we’ve seen so much fruit from that.

[00:04:06] JimBo Stewart: Hmm. What, what have been some ways that you have leaned into the legacy of Meadowdale Baptist Church and carried that forward through your leadership in one


[00:04:19] Frederick Clement: Yeah. Good question. One of the things that Meadowdale did well was they developed some relationships with some of the local elementary schools in the area. And we piggybacked on that. We, we went right back to those same principals and administrators in those schools. And we said, Hey, we’re a new church, same building, just different leadership and introduce ourselves and develop relationships with some of those same partners and connections that Meadowdale established over the years.

we’ve maintained a relationship and communication with those schools to let them know that this church may have closed, but the gospel is still here. we’re still here. Many of the people are still here that you know. So just maintaining relationships with people that Meadowdale built, but also honoring some of the, some of the members who are, who were once a part of Meadowdale.

Now with us honoring them in different ways. Um, some of the ways that I’ve done that just acknowledge through my preaching, how God brought this to be and giving, paying homage to the seeds that were planted and sown by Meadowdale and the fruit that we see now as a result of the hard work and the faithfulness of the members that came before us.

So just making sure that. They know that we haven’t forgotten about them. the work that they’ve done has paved the way for the work that God is doing now. And I find that they, they’re really appreciative of that. And it helps them buy into the vision and mission of our church even more because they know it’s a continuation of what God is doing, not something just completely different.

[00:06:06] JimBo Stewart: What would you say have been some of the biggest challenges that you, you, so you, you’re right in year three, which is when you and I met in Ohio and talked a little bit at the revive summit, we talked about how, man, year three seems to be that year that it, that the challenges really hit and it just starts to get a lot harder to, to push through over the last three years.

Would have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced as the pastor.

[00:06:33] Frederick Clement: That’s a good question. Some of the biggest challenges I faced. have been falling into routines and traditions. A lot of, a lot of what we do on Sunday is come to church, listen, hear the word, and then we leave. And the members have done that for years. And when you’re replanting a church, you are essentially, you’re tilling the soil and you’re trying to plant new seeds.

An existing, an existing foundation when you, you have to make sure that you’re not getting comfortable and it seems like oftentimes people come to church and they just, they want things to be the same. They don’t want to change. So when you are preaching about change and getting out and doing things that may be uncomfortable, like evangelism, um, sharing your faith.

talking to your neighbors, talking to strangers, that can be a little intimidating. And, that has been something that has been a struggle to kind of get people from that static position to a movement, to movement, to moving and getting through that initial inertia is hard, man, because it’s just something you’re, you’re, you’re preaching something that they’ve haven’t heard in years.

So that’s been a challenge of, of just constantly Preaching that and not getting in the routine of being comfortable, but make it being more missional as a church. But also another thing that I’ve noticed is when about three years in now, people can get fatigued. They get tired.

They get burnt out from serving, grinding, coming to church.

We’re all, all hands on deck at a, at a replant. We’re all responsible. At least we try to be responsible for, for some aspect of ministry. Whether it be serving a children’s church, doing a coffee, cleaning the church, it’s a lot. And about three years in, it seems like people get a little tired, a little tired and you start losing people and it becomes discouraging.

People that you started with, people that help get things off the ground, they say, Hey, we’re, we’re tired. We need to go somewhere else. We need to go somewhere else where we’re not, it’s not a lot of work. We just need to rest. And it’s like, Oh, we’re, we’re almost there. You know, like we’re almost over the hump.

We’re almost about to see real, real results, but you know, they’re tired and they’re burnt out. It’s hard to keep them going. So there is the ups and downs. Some of the downs are just seeing people that you started with get tired and as a pastor figuring out how to empower them to stay, but also loving them enough.

to let them leave where they’re better suited for their family. So it’s been, it’s been challenging, um, going through that process.

[00:09:40] JimBo Stewart: Yeah. You know, the things you’re bringing up are not uncommon in my experience, my personal experience and observationally, as I do this role with North American Mission Board Replant Team and travel across the country and hear stories all over the place, there is a lot of consistencies and commonalities in the things that you’re expressing.

One is, I, I really do think one of the number one reasons. that churches are in decline today, uh, is that the demographic shifts, the mission field changed. And, because the mission, and here’s the thing, the mission field has changed in, largely in two different ways. One, it’s probably changed In the demographics of it, because that’s just what’s happening all across America as neighborhoods are shifting, things are changing, and it’s different types of people live in different neighborhoods than they used to.

And so now where you used to be a, homogeneous unit principle type church where everybody in the church looked like everybody in the neighborhood because they all look the same. That’s just not the case in most places anymore. And then the second main contributing factor, why the mission field has changed.

And I was just talking about this at a church here in, In Jacksonville, Florida, where I live, that I’m, uh, working through as they’re prayerfully considering being replanted is that we no longer live in a cultural moment where the headwinds of culture are behind us and helping us soar and sail as the, the church, because man, you think about, you know, and, uh,

Fred, how are


[00:11:24] Frederick Clement: I’m 37.

[00:11:25] JimBo Stewart: All right. So I’m, I’m 41 about to be 42. We’re pretty close to the same age. And, uh, man, I remember I started in ministry 20 years ago and I was still, I was telling this church, I remember 20 years ago, I, I couldn’t wait to tell you that I was a pastor, even though I wasn’t really a pastor. I was like an intern, but like, man, I just wanted to tell you because all of a sudden I would get a discount at the diner.

I I would get right. Like there was respect that came as soon as you said something like that. But now, man, like I try to delay the, what do you do for a living conversation for as long as I can when I meet somebody new, because it just changes. Like it’s a different dynamic that we

live in and. And, and it’s almost like that cultural Christianity bred some apathy in, uh, in the congregation because we got comfortable in kind of a come and see mentality because it worked because you, you could just do that.

You could just set up shop and people would

just show

up and. But that’s just not the case anymore. And, um, so one of the things I’ve heard you say is how you, you’ve had to shepherd this congregation in that because of all of that, um, to, to realize functionally, we are a mission and we have to, we have to embrace the identity as ambassadors that God has given us.

Talk to about how, uh, how, talk to us about how you’ve shepherded the congregation of one family church to that identity that God

has given us.

[00:13:01] Frederick Clement: Absolutely. The piggyback on what you just said, if you don’t engage the community, the community will not engage you. I have noticed that in these three years of replanting, um, this church that If we just open the doors and have church on Sunday, it seems like the only people that come are the ones that are just accustomed to coming to church on Sunday.

Not any new believers, not many visitors. You have to go out and engage the, the, the community and meet them where they are, figure out what they do, figure out why they do it. And as a church, be strategic about how you go about doing that. You cannot, like you said, long are the days, gone are the days when you can just set up shop and people just come to church.

It’s not that way anymore. You have to go to them. So I’ve been just teaching, um, our church about evangelism. We’re in a book of acts and we’re looking at how the Holy Spirit was the driving force behind the church and the growth and the rapid expansion of the church and how the, the apostles. They heeded to the Spirit of God and they became witnesses, right?

They became ambassadors for, for Jesus. And I’ve been asking our church to pray for boldness, to pray about being a witness, to pray about sharing their faith testimony with our neighbors. Try and help them understand that you don’t have to be a Bible scholar, a theologian. You don’t have to know the Bible front and backwards to share your faith or talk to people about the gospel.

So break down to a level that is common and, and easily transferable to the people in my preaching and how I unpack the scriptures. And I’ve been just doing a lot of evangelistic sermons and showing people in the Bible what, what the Bible says about engaging the community, going out and being a witness to the community.

So I’ve been doing a lot of that and I’ve noticed that I’m seeing our church respond that, okay, we get that. That’s something that we can do. We don’t have to be a pastor. We don’t have to be, you know, a Bible scholar to talk to people about Jesus. We can share our testimony and we can talk about what we’ve seen God do in our lives.

and then segue the gospel that way. So I’ve been doing a lot of that in my preaching, talking about being a witness for Christ, talking about what they’ve seen God do in their lives and just sharing that with our neighbors. And we’re preparing to do prayer walks. We’re preparing to do, um, things in the community on a biweekly basis.

So setting up a structure. Where it’s something we do regularly, continually at our church, not spur of the moment, not things we do here and there, but setting up a structure where our church, it becomes part of our culture. You know, we come to church on Sundays, but we also do these things on these Sundays or these Wednesdays or these Fridays.

So setting up a structure and I’m hopefully we’re going to see a lot of fruit from that, but I believe it starts with being intentional about engaging the community and not letting the community just pass you by.

[00:16:40] JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I think I would affirm that, man. We have to recognize that America has become the mission field. And, and we always were a mission field because everywhere’s a mission field, but in the sense that like, we’re, we’re no longer this place where, uh, we’re, we’re, you know, the center of the modern Christian world.

[00:17:03] Frederick Clement: Right.

[00:17:05] JimBo Stewart: and. so I think one of the biggest shifts that we have to make is, uh, is a missional focus towards, uh, mobilizing people outside of the the building that they’re in and the normal routines. Uh, I remember I heard J. D. Greer one time point out the fact that, uh, he says the greatest works of the spirit happen not by those who work in the church, but by those who carry the gospel outside of it.

He says, of the 40 miracles in the book of Acts, 39 of them happen outside of

the church.

[00:17:38] Frederick Clement: man. Come

[00:17:39] JimBo Stewart: That, I mean, it’s, it’s, I mean, it’s when, when the church, we gotta be a gathering place of believers. We’ve gotta be communal. We’ve gotta be a one family as you’ve named your church. But family is one aspect of the identity that God has given us as followers of Christ.

But another aspect of that identity is we are his ambassadors. We are his ministers of reconciliation. We are on mission. And that’s why we’re here. You know, God is reconciling the world back to himself. And he’s given that ministry of reconciliation to us to carry that good news out into the community.

And I always love pointing out. Mark Clifton, my boss, talks about how one of the mistakes he sees a lot of dying churches do is they’ll throw block parties for the purpose of getting people that come to the block party to show up at church on Sunday. And that’s, it’s just, that’s not likely to happen very often because, uh, you know, you had a bounce house and you painted their face and you gave them cotton candy and a snow cone on, on Saturday, but you’re not going to do that on Sunday.

And so, you know, they’re going to, they would only come back if that’s what you were doing. But the purpose, like the whole reason you would still do a block party is actually not trying to get the community to come into your church, but get the church to go

into the community. And how do, how do we mobilize people into mission?

And, um, and honestly, I think this speaks to both the, um, the comfort and apathy of people who have been sitting in pews for a really long time and the eventual exhaustion of those who get excited about the vision and jump in because they’re If we don’t properly share the load correctly, then we will be a misbalanced body of Christ.

And Ephesians 4. 16 says when each part plays its role properly, then the church will build itself up in love. And. I think as pastors, you know, we get into that routine and then we even start to, we, and then those kind of faithful few that are really jumping in and doing everything. We start to just take everything onto our shoulders and think that the programs and the activities are what it is that God has called us to, but ultimately He’s called us to spur one another up into good works and stir one another up and to grow each other into maturity Yeah, Yep,


[00:20:21] Frederick Clement: man. I’m, you know, I’m still learning myself and hearing you say that is just a reminder that the faithful few cannot carry the entire load. Long term, because if they get tired, then what’s left, what’s their left. You mentioned something about how we have block parties and we do these things.

And very often do the people come on Sunday because you’re not having a block party on Sunday. They, they came for that reason. And a lot of, if you have that mindset, like you said, people get discouraged. And even the block parties become something that. is of no effect. I remember talking to some of the members of the older church.

They mentioned to me as I was preparing a core team and a launch team in early 2020 and late, late 2020. We were talking about different things that they did in the, in the old church to engage the community. And they mentioned things like that, but they were disgruntled. Like, you know, we did these things, but they never came to church on Sunday, you know, and they were like, we don’t want to do those things no more because we don’t see any results from it.

And I’m like, ah, you know, you’re not doing it with the right purpose and the right heart. Um,

[00:21:43] JimBo Stewart: When we start to blame the community for not responding, we, we’ve, we’ve headed the wrong direction.

[00:21:51] Frederick Clement: absolutely.

[00:21:52] JimBo Stewart: here’s the last thing in the last few minutes I want to ask you about. Because I’m interested your perspective on this as a, as a black man that God has called to replant a historically Anglo church in a demographically transitioning community in the midst of 2020. at least the aftermath of 2020. That’s like a

recipe for

disaster. How, how have you navigated that personally? And how have you navigated that as you shepherd and lead the congregation of which from what I can see on, on social media is a pretty diverse congregation, multicultural congregation. So how have you navigated that?

One, just as As a person, as yourself in the difficulty of that, but then how have you shepherded your congregation to be more unified in the midst of all


[00:22:48] Frederick Clement: man. Good questions. Personally, a lot of prayer, a lot of prayer, a lot of learning, making sure that I am equipping myself with as much knowledge as I can from those who are much further along than me. Other guys, other African American pastors, um, Durbin Gray, Gray has a good book on, on that. Um, just learning about this dynamic that I’m in.

and figuring out how can I use what I’ve learned and apply it to the situation. But prayer is most important for me. Um, just praying about our church, praying about my heart, praying about my, my vision and what I want to see the church do, but making sure that it aligns with the spirit of God. And I’m not putting too much of myself in it.

So. As John said, John the Baptist said, you know, decreasing so Christ can increase. So making sure that I’m constantly doing a heart check and not getting too, too invested in some of the circumstantial racial surface things that many can get caught up in. Um, so making, I’ll just make sure that I’m praying about those things, man, and, and learning what I can and then apply what I learned.

to my, my situation. I feel like it’s helped me a lot. I’m a, I’m a learner. I like to read and I like to know stuff. Um, so I need to, I need to do that. And that’s what I’ve done to help me balance pastoring and, and shepherding my family through this, through this situation. Um, but as a church, what I’ve noticed is you have to be intentional and deliberate about culture.

You have to create a culture at the church or the culture will create itself. If you sit back passively and let things just happen, it will dissolve or devolve back into what it’s, what it’s used to. If the majority church is Anglo or if it’s African American or Hispanic, it’s going to, they’re going to fall back into what they’re comfortable doing and you’re still not going to reach the community.

You’re not going to reach new people because you’re going back to the old way. So you have to be intentional as a pastor, creating the culture that aligns with the vision of the church and the mission of God, which is a great commission. So I’ve just really been intentional about corporate worship, corporate prayer, corporate singing, corporate reading of the scriptures, making sure that of all these different people, all these different cultures, all these different ethnicities that we come together for one purpose.

That’s the worship. Yup. The true and living God to read his word together, to sing together, to pray together and to sit under the word of God together doing communion, um, things like that, which just helps the unity and helps us to think less of ourselves and more of God and the purpose of this church and.

It just accentuates the word and I’ve really seen so much fruit from that. People really focusing on, on God, not themselves. So being intentional about creating a culture and not letting the culture create itself has helped me navigate. the vast differences of cultures and ethnicities at our church.

[00:26:22] JimBo Stewart: Man, that’s so good. Um, I’d love to talk more. I’ll probably bring you back on because I want to hear more about all of that and share that with our listeners. But as we come to a close, man, how can we, uh, as the Replant Bootcamp community be praying for you and your family and your ministry? And then after you voice those, would you be willing to voice a prayer over those

that are listening?

[00:26:44] Frederick Clement: Absolutely. Pray for my family, pray for our endurance as we, um, lead the ship, as we lead the charge that God just gives us strength to endure protection as we prepare to launch, um, a heavy evangelistic, um, campaign at our church. So just pray for protection at our church, pray for my endurance and pray that We go out, um, we share the gospel that we engage our community and that people, the people respond to the gospel, not necessarily to grow our church, but that we just see our community be, be transformed.

Our community is, there’s a lot of single household households and broken homes. And our church is called one family church. We want to bring people into God’s eternal family by way of the gospel. So just pray that we see fruit from that.

[00:27:38] JimBo Stewart: That’s a good word. We’ll definitely be praying for you guys with that and through that and watching for updates. Um, would you be willing to just pray over our


[00:27:47] Frederick Clement: Yes, absolutely. Heavenly father. I thank you for this podcast. Thank you for the opportunity to share our story, share what you’ve done in our church. Lord, I just pray that those who are listening, Lord, are encouraged by what you’re doing here. and that they would be encouraged and inclined to believe that you can do mighty things in their churches and with their congregations, with their people, um, that Lord, you are big enough to protect and cover us all and give us what we need.

So I’ll just pray that or they would keep going, that they would keep grinding, keep preaching, keep praying, um, stay invested in their communities, Lord, and know that. Despite the shifting culture that Lord, you are greater than all those things that Lord, if we pray to you, you are the, the Lord of the harvest that Lord, you will, you will help us Lord, continue this journey of replanting churches and, um, sharing the gospel and spreading your word.

So Lord, I just pray that those listening will be impacted, encouraged, and, um, that they will continue pursuing the things that you’ve called them to pursue. In your son’s holy name. Amen.

[00:29:09] JimBo Stewart: Amen. Thanks for coming on to

the podcast.

[00:29:11] Frederick Clement: Man. Thanks for having me Jimbo. I appreciate it, man.

by the book ministries, dayton, dayton ohio, demographics, diversity, engaging the community, Evangelism, fred clement, Frederick clement, meadowdale baptist church, missional focus, missions, ohio, one family church, replanting, youtube

Jimbo Stewart

Replant Bootcamp Co-Host

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