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Mission to North America
Churches planting Churches


Summer ‘98

Enabling the Presbyterian Church in America to Plant, Grow, and Multiply Churches

Pear Orchard Presbyterian, Ridgeland, MS is one
of several who lead in church planting.


25thlogo.gif (3132 bytes)The Presbyterian Church in America:
    A Quarter Century of Serving the Kingdom

When the first General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America was called to order on

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Covenat Presbyterian Church
St. Louis, MO

December 4, 1973, it was the outgrowth of nearly three decades of diligence by Presbyterians who sought a greater focus on the Gospel and missions. On that day, commissioners from 260 churches with a combined membership of 40,000 gathered at Briarwood Presbyterian in Birmingham, Alabama, for this historic meeting.

Leading up to that moment, many pastors, elders, and other lay leaders had struggled for years within the Presbyterian Church in the United States to reverse liberal trends and return to the denomination’s founding principles. Space does not permit naming all those who labored in this effort or to detail their progress; yet we are most indebted to them for their relentless pursuit which laid the foundation for the PCA.

Today, the PCA comprises 1,366 churches and missions in 48 states and Canada. Reformed University Ministries is represented on 37 campuses in 16 states. This is only the beginning. The dynamic vision that launched our denomination a quarter century ago guides us still. With the growing focus on reaching the world for Christ, by the power of His Spirit, we will continue to see the increase of His Kingdom in the years ahead.

Following are some regional highlights showing how the Lord has led PCA church planting in the past 25 years. For further details, turn to "The Regional Report," an insert in this issue of Multiply. In the fall issue, watch for highlights of the PCA’s work in planting churches to serve people of minority cultures.


Spreading Our Southern Roots

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Ken Cross (left), pastor of Sandhills Presbyterian in Southern Pines, NC, leads a congregation committed to evangelizing. The church’s original core group was gathered by Bill Bivans who now leads Christ Community in nearby Sanford.

The PCA was born in the South. From the outset, many Presbyterian churches in that region joined the PCA; many others have been added since. Consequently, our denomination has the greatest numbers in the South. Sandhills Presbyterian in Southern Pines, North Carolina, is a good example of a young southern church. In 1991, Bill Bivans gathered its first core group and started worship services while still pastoring Countryside Presbyterian, which he planted in Harnett County. In 1993, Ken Cross was called to lead the Sandhills church. Today, with an average attendance of 130, Sandhills is searching for property on which to build. "We’re reaching a lot of church-damaged people and new believers," says Ken.

The summer of 1996, he challenged members to pray for at least ten people to come to the Lord. By summer’s end, 13 had done so. In the fall, he re-issued the challenge, but asked members to pick their own numbers. That year, 50 people came to know Christ through Sandhills’ ministry. Since then, the trend has continued. Ken’s philosophy: "A healthy church will always have people coming to the Lord…we’re committed to making a significant impact on the Sandhills region."


In the Heartland

Covenant Presbyterian, in the Midwest, has an especially rich history. Although part of the PCA for only 16 years, Covenant was founded in 1939 and for many years was a leading church in the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES). Previous pastors include Francis Schaeffer and Don MacNair. Under Don’s leadership, the church was instrumental in founding Covenant College in 1955 and Covenant Theological Seminary the following year. The church joined the PCA when the RPCES joined the PCA in 1982.

wpe16.jpg (4489 bytes)In 1990, because of community restrictions on expanding their building with a Christian school, Pastor Rodney Stortz and two-thirds of the Covenant congregation planted Twin Oaks Church and school. The church now has 1,200 worshippers with 280 in the school. Even with this change, Covenant, with George Robertson as pastor, has about 500 in attendance, and today, community codes will permit a building program now underway to expand facilities. "Our goal," says George, "is to support church plants around the nation, with special emphasis on the Midwest." The church has a tradition of daughtering churches and is currently working with Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian in St. Louis to plant a new work in neighboring St. Charles.


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Several California churches were among the first to join the PCA, and there have been many new churches planted here in recent years. One of the newest is led by Fred Harrell in San Francisco. There is still much to accomplish in reaching this state — one of the most unchurched in the nation — for Christ.

Winning the West

wpe17.jpg (4230 bytes)As a native Californian, Phil Clark naturally has a heart for the West, particularly when it comes to evangelism. Pastor of a Presbyterian church in Glendale, California, at the time of the PCA’s first General Assembly, he joined immediately — his church a few years later. In 1974, Phil organized the area’s first presbytery (Pacific Presbytery); he later became chairman of the Mission to North America Committee and was named MNA Coordinator in 1980, a post he held for eight years. Now retired and living back west in Laguna Niguel, Phil is a member of the Inter-Presbytery Committee for MNA West.

Reflecting on the progress of the PCA, he says, "From the start, we were determined the PCA would be national. Before then, the Presbyterian Church U.S. (Southern) had never reached west of El Paso or north of the Mason-Dixon line. God has been very gracious, and growth for the PCA has been more rapid than we expected. Yet we can’t rest on our laurels — we must be constantly strategizing to reach more people for Christ." Today, there are 132 churches and missions in the West; 30 were begun in the last three years.


A Vision for Metro New York

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A total of 170 different languages are spoken in Toronto, one of the most multicultural cities in the world. Grace Toronto, where Stephen Beck is pastor, has a number of nationalities in the congregation and translates services into four languages.

At Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan, Sunday services began in September, 1989, and so did innovative concepts in church organization. Today, the church’s 29-member full-time staff works in rented space in a Madison Avenue high-rise; services are held on the Hunter College campus.

wpeC.jpg (2190 bytes)Senior Pastor Tim Keller preaches at both Sunday services, which have a combined attendance of about 2,100. An estimated 25 to 30 percent of this total are not believers. During the week, 1,300 take part in small groups. As for Redeemer’s numerous other activities, a great deal is accomplished, since the church operates with a decentralized mode of empowered teams whose leaders have the right to make decisions.

Redeemer is growing rapidly, but is determined to be a movement, not a mega institution. Consequently, the church has decided to develop multiple worship sites in Manhattan as well as an urban church development center which will equip pastors and lay people for leadership.

Last fall, churches from the New Jersey and Northeast presbyteries formed the Metropolitan New York Presbytery. Redeemer has been involved with planting 11 of the 19 churches and missions that make up this new organization. "This is probably the first truly multicultural presbytery — certainly in the PCA, maybe in the world," comments Tim Keller. "Ten of the congregations worship in languages other than English."

Multicultural Ministries in Canada

In Canada, the PCA, called the Presbyterian Church in North America (PCNA), is making similar progress in another major urban center with a multicultural character — namely, Toronto. Some 170 languages are spoken in this city. At Grace Toronto, the largest PCNA church in Canada, 22 nationalities are represented.

wpeD.jpg (5601 bytes)"There are tremendous opportunities for multicultural ministry here," says Grace’s Senior Pastor Stephen Beck. "In our 11:30 Sunday service, we provide translation in four languages through electronic equipment. We’ve also developed several outreach programs."

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Dick Kaufmann (center, with other pastors and church planters from the Metropolitan New York Presbytery) is executive pastor of Redeemer in NYC which has led in planting 11 churches. Redeemer established Hope for New York, that helps fund and provide volunteers for 26 agencies and mercy ministries in the city.

One example: Grace offers four ESL/Bible study groups that use Scripture to teach English to non-English speaking people. Because Toronto has an extremely high number of immigrants, the concept is quite popular. Another successful effort is the church’s School of Discovery, which holds candlelight dinners and small groups on Thursday nights. The purpose is to create an inviting, non-threatening atmosphere in which people can freely explore Christianity — whether they are agnostics or seekers. There are plans to take a similar concept to the University of Toronto campus, to Queens Park (center of Ontario government), as well as to City Hall, the local jail, and the police department.




  The Vital Church

The Flame Spreads: "From Church Growth to Church Vitality" was the theme of the fourth annual "From Embers to a Flame" conference at Christ Covenant Presbyterian in Matthews, NC, last February. Eighty-seven first-timers and 18 alumni heard Pastor Harry Reeder present biblical principles that produce the paradigm for healthy, effective congregations.

Three years ago, Dan Kiehl, pastor of Covenant Presbyterian in Glen Mills, PA, attended his first Embers Conference. At this recent conference, he talked about the significant new health now evident in his congregation as he and other church leaders have implemented the principles learned at the conference.

"We’re going back to our church with a bold, unified commitment to revitalize our congregation," was the typical reaction of those attending. God willing, within the next two years, satellite conferences will be held in churches that have been revitalized through learning and applying the principles taught. Pastors and elders who wish to attend the Fifth Annual Embers Conference, February 6 - 9, 1999, should apply as soon as possible to

Christ Covenant Presbyterian
800 Fullwood Lane
Matthews, NC 29105



   Church Plant Highlights    Campus scenes

WIC Love Gift:

Each year, PCA Women in the Church (WIC) sponsor the Love Gift offering. This year’s Love Gift will help support leadership development for those who minister to ethnic minorities. One example: funds will go toward training and mentoring Haitian church planters under the direction of Haitian pastor Dony St. Germain. Dony is pastor of El Shaddai PCA Mission in Miami, the base for a multiplying movement of Haitian PCA churches. He has planted three churches and is dedicated to developing future church planters. The Haitian population in south Florida is more than 300,000 and growing; the majority are unchurched.

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Dony St. Germain (second from left), shown with his wife and church planter aprrentices, has planted three Haitian PCA churches.  His ministry is one of several that will be supported by the Women in the Church Love Gift.

The 1998 WIC Love Gift will also assist African-American works in Atlanta, New Orleans, and on a predominantly African-American university campus. In past years, the Love Gift provided major funding to begin Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan and Grace Toronto Church in Canada.

PCA West Asilomar Conference: Asilomar, located at the tip of the Monterey Peninsular, is the annual site of this regional conference. According to Coordinator, Lewis Ruff, "There are few more beautiful places in God’s creation." Attendance in February was 110, the highest yet. The meeting, focused on church planting, promotes unity and prayer and recharges the pastors and other leaders who participate.

MNA Announces New Movement Leaders: Randy Nabors, pastor of New City Fellowship in Chattanooga, TN, has been named Urban and Mercy Movement Leader. Louis Wilson, pastor of Redemption Fellowship in Fayetteville, GA, has been named African-American Movement Leader. Both are new positions. While continuing to lead their congregations, Randy and Louis are available to coach and mentor church planters and provide consultation for church planting in any area of North America.

Walter Moura, pastor of Christian Community PC in Danbury, CT, was named Brazilian Movement Leader. This post was previously filled by Nelio DaSilva, who is now involved with church planting in Brazil. MNA is deeply grateful for Nelio’s years of faithful work with Brazilian church planting in the PCA.



Reformed University Ministries: Influencing Future Leaders

In 1971, two years before the PCA was established, Mark Lowrey was asked by three Presbyterian churches in Hattiesburg to serve as a campus representative at the University of Southern Mississippi, also in Hattiesburg. Mark was not yet a seminary graduate or an ordained minister. Four years earlier, he had graduated from Southern Mississippi with a degree in marketing and later attended one year at Reformed Theological Seminary as a special student. msu.jpg (3906 bytes)

Nonetheless, the three Presbyterian churches who asked him to serve obviously saw in Mark other capabilities important for the position. He accepted, and for the next three years developed a campus ministry that became Reformed University Ministries. In 1973, when the PCA was founded, two of the churches who were sponsoring Mark’s campus ministry joined the PCA. That same year, Reformed University Ministries became affiliated with the PCA.

um.jpg (3419 bytes)In the next few years, ministries were implemented at three other campuses in the state. In 1973, Mark was called by Mississippi’s three presbyteries as Coordinator of Campus Ministries for Reformed University Ministries. Over the next several years, the organization expanded and ministries were initiated on campuses in several other states.

Today, there are Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) groups on 37 campuses in 16 states. This fall, ministries are scheduled to begin at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennesse, and at the University of Washington in Seattle. To serve international students, Reformed University Ministries formed International Students Christian Fellowship (ISCF) and has launched ministries on five US campuses. Often led by missionaries who have worked overseas, ISCF seeks to cater to the cultures represented on the campuses it serves.

uta.jpg (3398 bytes)Each RUF is established through the joint efforts of presbyteries, local churches, and individuals. It is a distinctive ministry in that the focus is on expository Bible teaching led by seminary-trained, ordained ministers. The dominant purpose is to evangelize unbelievers and to teach believers a Christian world-and-life view. The work of Reformed University Ministries produces remarkable long-range results by reaching young men and women — many of them future leaders — at an age when their values are being formed for a lifetime.


Showing God’s Mercy Gospel in uniform

Thanksgiving Offering:
The MNA Thanksgiving Offering serves and spiritually nourishes people of minority cultures. Gifts benefit Urban & Mercy Ministries with its work in developing minority leaders, a crucial need. The fact is, whether they immigrate to America or are born here, minorities are best led by people of their own culture. Yet, potential leaders of these groups often lack funds for training.

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The MNA Thanksgiving Offering helps support ministry internships at New City Fellowship, Chattanooga, TN.  Located near the inner city, New City serves the poor by meeting physical and spiritual needs.

For the sake of Christ and for North America, we must build up minority leadership in the PCA. Your gifts to the Thanksgiving Offering not only help develop leaders, but also influence countless lives for years to come as these leaders start ministries and plant churches. The bulletin insert for the 1998 Thanksgiving Offering is coming soon. Your response can help us strengthen and expand PCA multicultural ministries.

General Assembly/Urban & Mercy Dinner: For an inspiring and informative gathering, don't miss this dinner, Wednesday, July 1, 5:30 PM at the Regal Riverfront Hotel. A dynamic program will be presented by leaders of New City Fellowship in St. Louis.

CCDA: The 1998 Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) conference on urban and mercy ministries - will be held October 28 - November 1 in St. Louis. A special gathering for PCA people is scheduled. For details, contact MNA Coordinator of Church Relations Fred Marsh: 404-320-3330; e-mail; fred@mna.pca-atl.org


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Six PCA chaplains are currently stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC, and at neighboring Pope AFB.  Among them are (left to right) Lt. Col. James Griffith, Cpt. Chip Huey, Cpt. Daniel Oh, Cpt. Robert Owen, adn Cpt. Thomas Eddy.  Not pictured is Cpt. Shannon Philio (Pope AFB). A seventh, Cp[t. Peter Sniffin, is scheduled to report in at Ft. Bragg in June.

PCA Chaplain Graduates Jump School. PCA Chaplain (Cpt) Shannon Philio made history in February as the first Air Force chaplain to graduate from the US Army Airborne School in Fort Benning, GA - the first to take advantage of a recent policy change that permitted chaplain service personnel to jump. "I especially wanted to take the training," said Shannon, "because I knew that being jump qualified would better equip me to identify with the troops I minister to."

Six PCA chaplains are currently stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC, and at neighboring Pope AFB. Among them are (left to right) Lt. Col. James Griffith, Cpt. Chip Huey, Cpt. Daniel Oh, Cpt. Robert Owen, adn Cpt. Thomas Eddy. Not pictured is Cpt. Shannon Philio (Pope AFB). A seventh, Cp[t. Peter Sniffin, is scheduled to report in at Ft. Bragg in June.

A chief advantage chaplains have over pastors in civilian churches is their close day-to-day relationships with the people they shepherd. By gaining jump qualification, Shannon will expand his opportunities to minister. The three-week program was demanding. The daily schedule started at 5 AM with rigorous physical training which helped prepare the jumpers for carrying the nearly 100-pound pack of parachute equipment necessary for each jump. In the second week, jumps were made off the first floor of a building. The true test came in the third week with the first 'real jump" from an airplane, one of five required to complete the course successfully. Shannon graduated from the course with honors.

The Stewardship Factor

Have you remembered God's work in your will or estate design? Many people who faithfully support the advancement of God'' Kingdom while they are alive, give little thought to specifying funds toward that purpose in a will or in their estate design. While potential survivors may give a portion of your estate to the Lord'' work after you die, the best way to be sure the gift is made is to incorporate it into your will. After all, if we believe in being good stewards of the money God has entrusted to us in life, we should also be good stewards of the distribution of our estate after death.

When it comes to giving through your estate, there is a choice of options. Some options even begin before you die, such as a charitable remainder trust. A charitable remainder trust can provide funds to a ministry or other organization, save taxes for you, and still benefit your survivors at your death. Another option: you may create a trust in your will for a loved one and commit the balance to a charity upon the death of that person.

When you give to evangelistic ministries such as Mission to North America through your will, through charitable trusts, etc., you have the assurance of knowing your gift will reproduce results for many years to come. By supporting those who are taking the gospel to a spiritually hungry world, you can make a difference in many lives for all eternity.

If you have questions about giving to the work of Mission to North America or about including charitable gifts in your will, the PCA Foundation can provide professional counsel, including preparing a personal estate design at no chare.

Contact: Randy Stair, President PCA Foundation
1852 Century Place, Suite 180
Atlanta GA 30345
Phone: 404-320-3303
E-mail: randy@pcaf.pca-atl.org



Address comments to Fred Marsh, Managing Editor / Photographer.
Design: Studio Supplee.
Copy Editor/Writer: Joan Quillen. Material in Multiply may be reproduced with permission.


Mission to North America serves the churches and presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church in America by enabling the PCA to plant, grow, and multiply churches. Church Vitality, Urban and Mercy Ministries, Chaplain Ministries, and Campus Ministries all contribute to that greater goal.