With expectation of Christ’s kingdom coming in greater fullness among us by the advance of his gospel in depth and breadth throughout North America, MNA is taking a major new step in serving churches and presbyteries as we strive together side by side for the progress of the gospel through church planting.
Experience demonstrates that church planting expands and flourishes when a church planting “ecosystem” (ecosystem: think in terms of a healthy, thriving lake, farm, forest, or ocean bay) is in place and thriving in these seven phases:
- Developing and recruiting church planters and church planting teams (Develop and Recruit)
- Assessing church planter candidates and their spouses (Assess)
- Training and assisting church planters in their fundraising (Fundraise)
- Seeking God’s guidance in placing the church planter (Placement)
- Providing church planter training (Train)
- Supporting and encouraging the church planter through coaching and mentoring (Coach and Mentor)
- Celebration and Renewal, reflecting on God’s great work thus far and looking to him for greater works in the future. (Celebrate and Renew)
In the early days of the PCA, MNA focused primarily on organizing churches transferring into the PCA from other denominations. In its next generation, MNA assumed direct responsibility for providing in a centralized fashion the services required for the seven phases. In recent years, MNA has moved steadily toward a resourcing and training role as churches and presbyteries assume a growing ownership and have achieved ever-greater skills in developing local and regional ecosystems for church planting.
God has blessed the PCA with a strong sense of calling to church planting. For more than 15 years, an average of one church planter has been placed on the field each week across North America. While this is a good number for a denomination the size of the PCA, we want to trust God for more. We believe the time has come for MNA to move toward an even greater focus on serving churches, presbyteries and networks in their development of church planting ecosystems. Accordingly MNA will begin highlighting the seven phases above by identifying a contact person for each phase, along with developing multiple staff leadership to provide growing services in each of these crucial areas. In short, if we are to see church planting multiply, it is time for us to pursue new and best pathways for multiplication, so that local and regional systems of church planting begin to reproduce radically.
As we make these changes, MNA church planting services will no longer be coordinated by just one staff member and his assistant. Church Planting Coordinator Ted Powers and Church Planting Assistant Ann Powers will be stepping away from their MNA roles after 17 and 21 years, respectively, of faithful service. This change brings sadness in what it means personally for the many who have worked alongside Ted and Ann, and at the same time it comes with great thanksgiving for the many ways in which God has led and worked through them. We will not be seeking to replace Ted and Ann. We are seeking to multiply them in this new approach. Our prayers are with them as we all continue in the journey of following Jesus and serving in his kingdom. Ted and Ann will continue full time with MNA through April 30, 2019, to help ensure a smooth transition to new leadership, and to complete the April 2019 Church Planter Assessment Center.
In that vein, moving forward, the individuals below will be happy to assist you with any questions you might have related to the church planting ecosystem:
- Develop and Recruit (Contact: Chris Vogel 262-501-1161, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Assess (For the April 2019 Assessment Center contact Ann Powers 630-910-0765, email@example.com. Contact Mary Ellen Garofalo 609-350-3323, firstname.lastname@example.org for Assessment Center applications after the April 2019 Assessment Center or for Assessment Center information.)
- Fundraise (Contact: Fred Marsh 404-307-8266, email@example.com for fundraising, or if you have a church planting budget question, contact Chris Bolton 615-717-5756, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Placement (Alan Foster 678-232-8049, email@example.com
- Train (Contact: Chris Bolton 615-717-5756, firstname.lastname@example.org; Ted Strawbridge will also provide leadership in church planter training)
- Coach and Mentor (Contact: Doug Swagerty 760-814-4644, email@example.com)
- Celebrate and Renew (Contact: Paul Hahn 865-237-8178, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Additional Church Planting Services Contact Information:
Other Church Planting Information
Stefanie Dunnington 678-825-1239, email@example.com
As one of the core services that MNA provides, we expect to continue conducting centralized Church Planter Assessment Centers in Atlanta through the remainder of 2019. In 2020 and beyond, we intend to multiply our assessments into regional, and even local, expressions. Please be on the lookout in the weeks ahead for more announcements related to this exciting new chapter.
We at MNA ask your prayers for God’s leading and blessing in our ongoing church planting movement. May the gates of hell not stand against the advance of Christ’s church! Amen.