Inside this issue:

In Florida, PCA  churches are multiplying and so are presbyteries. See how God is using this movement to bear fruit for His Kingdom.

MNA:  Reaching North America with the Gospel...
to Reach the World

Spring 2001


When Presbyteries Plant Churches.

“…it isn’t a question of, will we plant churches, but how many?”

In 1981, Rod Whited completed his 24th year in management with AT&T. That same year, he earned a seminary degree, was ordained by the PCA, and approved by the Central Florida Presbytery to start a church near Jacksonville. Meanwhile, he continued to work at AT&T while laying the foundation for the new work.

In 1982, with 40 committed members in the core group, Rod rented storefront space and led the first worship service, but it would be five more years before he retired from AT&T to become a full-time pastor. That was the beginning of Pinewood Presbyterian in Middleburg, Florida, where Rod still serves today. The church now has 750 members, a 40-acre campus with three buildings, and a growing Christian school.

Planting Pinewood, however, was only the first demonstration of Rod’s leadership and organizational skills in ministry. Over the next two decades, he would be used by God to guide a church planting movement that yielded over 40 PCA churches and expanded one presbytery into three (see box, page four).

A strong believer that church planting is one of a presbytery’s core purposes, Rod has served the presbytery by keeping the church planting vision alive, setting goals, and ensuring follow-through. “Along the way,” he says, “ we’ve been fortunate to have a number of natural leaders, and our passion has been so great that it isn’t a question of, will we plant churches, but how many?”

Rod also credits Al Couch, one of Pinewood’s ruling elders, for church planting progress. “Al is an enthusiastic man and a perennial encourager — he knows how to get people energized, not only at presbytery, but also at our church. Over the years, Al’s been my traveling companion to presbytery meetings, and I can always count on him to bring back plans and explain them to the session.”

Ask Rod what he considers the most important ingredients of successful church planting, and he’ll tell you that God’s will and His blessings are absolute requirements. Beyond that, he says, “You need prayer, inner drive, planning and organization, as well as money and men.”

To raise funds for church plants, Rod often meets with church sessions, challenging them to support home missions. He emphasizes the need for evangelism here as well as overseas, and the value of the church in penetrating the culture for Jesus Christ. What’s more, he suggests that presbyteries seek out a network of churches willing to spend 1 percent or more of their budgets for local church planters, over and above their allocations for presbytery and General Assembly.

Another effective strategy is to encourage new church plants to consider establishing a revolving fund once they become self-supporting. So, instead of repaying the money received for start-up, the new church raises an equal sum for use toward planting another church.

As a means of attracting men to plant churches, Central Florida has built a reputation for “taking care of” church planters, which makes recruiting easier. “We spend time with the men and let them know we’re there for them,” Rod explains.

Another smart strategy: allowing church planters to pick their locations. Although the presbytery conducts demographic studies to determine the best sites, whenever possible, they invite the men to choose the locale where they want to plant a church.

To keep the church planting vision before the churches, Central Florida Presbytery formed committees composed of as many ruling elders as pastors. To make sure laymen could attend, they considered their schedules when setting times for meetings. Recognizing the importance of large churches, they also worked hard to cultivate and involve pastors of these churches.

Back at Pinewood, Rod is as committed to children’s ministry and education as he is to church planting. The church has a full-time youth director and children’s ministry director, leading programs that bring in about 200 children Sunday mornings and evenings, including about 120 teens. Each summer, a vacation Bible school attracts about 275 children, including some who are not members of the church. Occasionally, as a result, parents are drawn to Pinewood.

Rod describes the church as Gospel-driven and grace-driven. Evangelism Explosion training is on-going, and there are special events featuring Christian entertainment which give members the opportunity to invite visitors. Rod points out that “70 percent of the people who come to a church are there because they were invited by a member.”

All new members at Pinewood are given a “spiritual gift test” and those with mercy gifts are encouraged to volunteer in the community. Many do, serving food to the homeless and assisting at the battered women’s shelter and at a home for teen girls. The church created Nehemiah Ministries to help the elderly and the disabled with minor home repairs. Each year, in late fall, Angel Tree Plus goes into gear to help families of prisoners, as well as residents of the county, with food and gifts to brighten the holidays. To coordinate and promote such activities, Pinewood employs a part-time director of mercy ministries.

Today, almost 20 years after God led him to plant Pinewood and lay the groundwork for a church planting movement, Rod’s passion for advancing the Kingdom through new churches burns stronger than ever. “There’s room for a lot more growth,” he points out. “If we had a PCA church for every 50,000 residents, that would call for another 150 churches in Florida.” North Florida Presbytery, representing an 11-county area in northeast Florida which has a population of over one million, comprises 16 PCA churches and missions. And that calls for nine more. Long-range, his goal is to have a church for every 25,000.

What keeps Rod’s enthusiasm strong? “Knowing that people’s lives are being transformed through Jesus Christ,” he says. Churches have a powerful impact on the culture, and new churches are the best form of evangelism. I’m thankful to God for enabling me to have a share in planting churches that reach people with the Gospel and build God’s Kingdom.”


Above: Florida church plants 
(top to bottom): Good News Presbyterian, St. Augustine; Coquina Presbyterian, Ormond Beach; Orangewood Presbyterian, Maitland; Ponte Vedra Presbyterian, Ponte Vedra; Christ Community, Titusville.



Helping to further the church planting movement in Florida are (L to R) Marvin Bates, pastor, University Presbyterian,  Orlando; Al Couch, ruling elder, Pinewood, Middleburg; Rod Whited, pastor, Pinewood; Dan Thompson, pastor, Christ Community, Titusville; Dan Stevens, ruling elder, Willow Creek, Winter Springs.

Pinewood Presbyterian started a school five years ago with K4 through 8th grade, which has a current enrollment of 122. Pastor Rod Whited is quick to tell you, however, that he’s in favor of all forms of education, from private to public to home schooling. He believes parents have the responsibility for choosing the best situation for their own children.


Many individuals in the 750-member congregation at Pinewood are involved with community evangelism, as well as with volunteer work for local mercy ministries.

Among the Florida pastors working to form a church planting network are (L to R) John Findlay, associate pastor, Pinewood; Chuck McArthur, Cross Creek; Rod Whited, Pinewood; A. B. Scott, Ponte Vedra; Bill Lamkin, Redeemer.


Central Florida Presbytery: Church Multiplication

1981:   8 churches

1982:   14 churches (added 6 with the joining of Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPC,ES)

1990:   33 churches

1991:   16 churches split off to form Southwest Florida Presbytery, leaving Central with 17

1998:   37 churches. 14 split off to form North Florida Presbytery

2001:   Central Florida Presbytery: 26 churches

2001:   North Florida Presbytery: 16 churches

2001:   Southwest Florida Presbytery: 29 churches




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Campus Scenes

Midwest Expansion:

Two campus ministers are working to strengthen the future of the PCA in the Midwest as they seek to reach students through Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) on two university campuses. At the University of Missouri, RUF was started in 1992 and led by Billy Dempsey for several years. During the fall of 1999, Chad Brewer became permanent campus minister, inheriting the groundwork already laid (he had previously filled in during the 1997-98 school year). Chad shepherds more than 100 students who regularly attend weekly large-group meetings. A strong core of RUF student leaders guide nine Bible studies each week.

Only about 25 percent of RUF participants have PCA backgrounds; about one-third have come in as unbelievers. Besides seeing new conversions, Chad is encouraged by students’ growing understanding of how the life, death, and resurrection of Christ impacts every area of their lives. 

A new RUF was launched last fall at the University of Nebraska with Bart Moseman, a recent graduate of Covenant Seminary, as campus minister. “We have been praying for this RUF for years,” says Stu Kerns, PCA pastor of Zion Church, a strong supporter and a key initiator. Bart leads a Sunday school class for students at the church, as well as meetings on campus.

Even though the student turn-out is still low, Bart is encouraged by the quality of students who have responded. He is also excited about the providential contacts he has made, including the president of Fellowship of Christian Athletes on campus and a fraternity member who arranged for Bart to hold a weekly Bible study at a fraternity house. “Nebraska has a very active Greek system and this can be a big boost in reaching members of fraternities and sororities,” he explains. A former college athlete, Bart is also developing relationships with students by playing pick-up games at the campus recreation center.

To request information, add your name to our mailing list, or support these far-reaching works, call 404-929-2160 or email


RUF campus ministers: Bart Moseman, University of Nebraska  and Chad Brewer,
University of Missouri.

University of Nebraska 

University of Missouri.


RUF Goes Online As of this writing, an RUF Web site is scheduled to debut on February 1, 2001.  Tom Cannon, Northeast Area Coordinator for Reformed University Ministries and designer of the site, describes it as “a shop-front for the ministry, which will serve as a gateway for information and a platform for ministry.”  The virtual location will provide ministry resources for students as well as particulars about all RUF locations. Check it out at:


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Gospel in Uniform

Our Man in Spain:

Chaplain, Lieutenant Commander, Douglas Rosander, U.S. Navy, has been based at Naval Station Rota in Spain for nearly two years. His duties include pastoring the Protestant contemporary congregation of about 250 people; pastoring junior and senior high students; overseeing Protestant education; counseling Marines; leading small discipleship groups; and conducting marriage seminars.

Doug’s wife, Crystal, and 16-year-old daughter, Kimberly, are with him in Rota, while son, Kyle, is a freshman at Purdue University. Crystal serves as chapel musician, president of Protestant Women of the Chapel, and leader of a Bible study for high school girls.

What does Doug find most rewarding about his ministry? “I thoroughly enjoy preaching God’s Word at chapel services and also working with the youth group. We have six adult leaders who really love the Lord and about 40 teens who gather every Sunday evening. We’ve seen new conversions and many who are growing in their faith.”

Doug implemented a Sunday evening program last fall geared to all ages, which has been quite successful. Bringing in about 200 participants each week, the program includes children’s activities and a teaching/fellowship class for adults, in addition to the youth group.

More PCA chaplains are needed with the military, Veterans Affairs, and US prisons. For information about serving, contact Dave Peterson, Chaplain Ministries coordinator, 605-347-5812 or


Chaplain Doug Rosander not only pastors the chapel congregation, he also provides counseling, leads marriage seminars, and spends time in the field with the troops.


Your church can make a difference for one PCA chaplain and show support for MNA Chaplain Ministries through the Chaplain Sponsorship Program. About half our chaplains have a sponsor; about 80 still need one. Here’s how it works: a church is assigned a chaplain to pray for and communicate with; in turn, he sends quarterly updates and prayer requests. Sponsors are also asked to include Chaplain Ministries in the annual budget.

To sign up or request info, call MNA Chaplain Ministries volunteer Climie Hewitson, 612-703-3995 or email



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Church Vitality

A time to build up:

PCA pastors and ruling elders felt renewed, refreshed, and encouraged after attending the third annual Convocation on Revival and Reformation last fall at Trinity Presbyterian in Jackson, Mississippi. The agenda featured the teaching of Harry Reeder, senior pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian in Birmingham, Alabama, on the “Five Pillars of Ministry” (Sola Scriptura, Sola Fides, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria), as well as sermons by Mike Ross, Trinity’s senior pastor. Seminars and discussion sessions, led by seasoned PCA pastors, reviewed the impact of these pillars on worship and preaching. Cassette tapes of the main presentations are available. To order, contact Trinity Presbyterian, 601-362-8244, or email

Next fall’s convocation, November 6 - 8, 2001, with J. Eric Alexander as keynote speaker, will explore “Revival and Reformation in the Book of Acts.” For details, contact Trinity Presbyterian (see phone and email address in first column). 

A time to gain:

The annual From Embers to a Flame Conference was held January 11 - 14 at Briarwood Presbyterian in Birmingham, Alabama. Each year, this conference presents practical biblical principles for revitalizing the church through worship, discipleship, shepherding, evangelism, preaching, and prayer. Participants gained clear direction on how to enact these principles in their own churches. The conference is designed for PCA pastors and other church leaders and, this year, also attracted representatives from various other denominations interested in applying this teaching in their own churches.

This year, for the first time, an Embers Conference has been planned for Korean church leaders and will be held March 5-8, 2001, at Briarwood. For details, contact Carolyn Phillips at Briarwood Presbyterian: 205-978-1399 or



Mike Ross (right), Trinity’s senior pastor, was also a lead speaker. At left is Rick Phillips, associate pastor, Tenth Presbyterian, Philadelphia.


Harry Reeder led the teaching at last fall’s Convocation on Revival and Reformation at Trinity Presbyterian in Jackson, MS.

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Church Plant Highlights

 PCA Conference for MNA Presbytery Chairmen  

Presbytery chairmen from across North America met last November in Atlanta to discuss church planting strategies and advancing the Gospel. According to MNA coordinator Jim Bland, who planned the meeting, “We focused on vision casting, training, and networking, while we emphasized MNA’s mission to partner together in ministry to facilitate new churches.”

Roland Barnes, current pastor of Trinity Presbyterian, Statesboro, GA, and also a member of the General Assembly MNA Committee, made a presentation entitled “Strategic Planning for Church Planting” and was among several church planters who provided practical instruction. Through Central Georgia Presbytery, Roland has been involved with several church plants. “It was excellent to get presbytery chairmen together to hear what others are doing and share ideas,” he said. “It was a very productive meeting.”


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