Inside this issue:

 

A PCA church planting movement, started a decade ago in Indianapolis, is reaching diverse segments of the population and changing lives in this dynamic metropolitan center.

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

Summer 2001


 

How a combination of key factors propels church planting in Indianapolis

Among the human factors God has used to advance the PCA church planting movement in greater Indianapolis, one of the most significant is teamwork. From the two-member team of church planters who arrived in Indianapolis ten years ago to launch Christ Community Church, to the network of PCA pastors who now meet monthly for prayer and encouragement, there is commitment to a single purpose; namely, building God’s Kingdom.

In fact, the team approach has contributed to five PCA church plants over the past decade, with two more scheduled to start before year end, and each one is thriving. What’s more, even without a large mother church to provide backing, every one of these works has gained the necessary financial resources and leadership.

The movement was initiated in 1990, when Tim Kirk arrived in Indianapolis to start Christ Community Church, bringing three years of experience as associate pastor at Naperville Presbyterian in Naperville, IL, and a passion for church planting. He and worship leader David Shorey came to pursue an MNA-formulated strategy of starting a church in a prominent Indianapolis suburb, which would then become a catalyst for launching other suburban churches around the city, as well as a church at the city’s center.

At that time, metro Indianapolis had 1.3 million people and two long-standing PCA churches: Grace Presbyterian, seven miles from downtown, where David McKay is pastor, and Rawles Avenue Presbyterian on the east side of Indianapolis. Grace was growing, but the Rawles congregation had dwindled, so when pastor Bob Hamilton retired three years ago, the congregation voted to sell the church property and donate proceeds to the Great Lakes Presbytery for a future church plant. This gift was allocated for a new work on the east side, expected to begin this fall.

Another significant human factor that has advanced the Indianapolis movement is the involvement of Jeb Gaither, a ruling elder who has provided astute, faith-driven leadership for seven PCA church plants. His participation began with Christ Community, located in the suburb where Jeb and his wife, Ann, make their home.

A semi-retired entrepreneur who has developed several companies, Jeb, with his wife Ann, visited the church’s first public worship. Realizing that Tim and David needed access to office equipment, Jeb invited them to take advantage of his facilities. It was the beginning of a close and rewarding relationship for all three. Jeb saw similarities between creating businesses and planting churches, and often shared ideas with the young pastors.

Also effective in developing the Indianapolis movement are the pastors who have come to serve on staff with an established church while making preparations for new works. Two years ago, Christ Community sent out Scott Dean, as well as 20 percent of the congregation, to lead Crossroads Community Church. Since then, all the members have been replaced, and then some.

Last summer, God called Jim Furey as the first official church planting apprentice at Christ Community. His goal is to start Trinity Presbyterian this fall, which will serve an area on the west side that was sparsely populated until a few years ago when major corporations moved in. Now the population is about 400,000.

The search is underway for a church planting team for the east side which will reflect the cultural diversity of that part of Indianapolis.

Redeemer Presbyterian, the center city church envisioned a decade ago in the original MNA plan, was started in 1999 by Chris Yates, who has recently answered a call to serve as senior pastor of Bay Area Presbyterian in Houston, Texas. A search is underway for a new senior pastor at Redeemer.

At the same time, there is great human need in the area where the church meets, including the homeless. As a result, mercy ministry is a major focus at Redeemer. The church has installed a mercy phone line to meet needs on an individual basis and, in the future, plans to provide job training, tutoring, vacation Bible school and other services to help the disadvantaged. They will possibly partner with Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian in St. Louis in these efforts.

To reach a Korean population, Eunhye (which means grace) Korean Presbyterian started last year and meets at Grace Presbyterian. The congregation, led by Hyun Phyo Yang, worships in Korean and has grown rapidly, with attendance now at about 140.

In summarizing the shared values of the Indianapolis PCA churches, Tim Kirk cites the following: “We believe that Christ will build the church; we believe in the team ministry approach; and we believe in concentrating on church health and pursuing God’s priorities, rather than numerical growth.”

The Indianapolis PCA churches are intent on evangelism and determined to build God’s Kingdom by planting churches throughout the city. Tim Kirk says, “In our services, we’re always attentive to the fact that unbelievers are in our midst.” Each of the congregations attract people who haven’t been to church in years, as well as the completely unchurched. A lot of discipleship is taking place.

The pastors have long-range plans to reach Indiana’s college students who will become the future of the PCA. “Over the next decade,” explains Tim, “we plan to send church planting teams to all the cities in Indiana that have universities.” Redeemer has immediate plans for the downtown campuses of Indiana and Purdue universities which enroll about 10,000 students and include schools of medicine and law.

Human Factors that Strengthen a Movement

The Lord has used these factors to build a growing church planting movement in Indianapolis:

  • Teamwork among pastors

  • The ability to secure leadership and financial resources without a large mother church to provide support

  • Leadership from key laymen

  • Men trained as church planters through working with area churches

  • Commitment to evangelism and mercy ministry

  • Willingness of churches to send out members and staff for new church plants

  • Contribution of property proceeds from an older congregation to plant a new church

 

 

 

The pastors and staff of Indianapolis churches meet monthly to plan and pray. Left to right, seated: Bob Hamilton, retired pastor of Rawles Avenue Presbyterian; Roger Williams, assistant pastor, Christ Community; Tim Kirk, senior pastor, Christ Community; Chris Yates, former pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian; Bill Radford, senior pastor, River Oaks Presbyterian; Mike Hoppi, worship director, Crossroads Community. Standing: Jim Furey, church planter, Trinity Presbyterian; Dave McKay, senior pastor, Grace Presbyterian; Scott Dean, pastor, Crossroads Community; Steve Sandvig, executive pastor, Christ Community; Mike Bradham, assistant to the pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian.

 


Two years ago, Christ Community sent out associate pastor Scott Dean and 20 percent of its membership to start Crossroads Community Church in Fishers, a northeast suburb with many young marrieds.

 


Christ Community Church, in a fast-growing, affluent suburb, has a congregation of about 350, which includes many families with young children. The church started a decade ago with a commitment to serve “with joy and sacrifice as a catalyst for a Gospel-centered church planting movement.”

 

 


Ruling elder and semi-retired entrepreneur Jeb Gaither, center, has been a vital participant in the church planting movement. With him are Dick and Charlotte Lutin, members of Redeemer Presbyterian.

 

 


Bill Radford, right, planted River Oaks Presbyterian in Greenwood, south of Indianapolis, in 1995. More than 40 people have professed faith in Christ since the church started.

 

 



Redeemer uses a chapel and office space in this historic downtown facility, built in 1902 by First Presbyterian Church. Abandoned years ago, the building was in serious disrepair and had become a haven for the homeless. Last year, a foundation purchased the property to restore and develop as an arts center. When the 500-seat sanctuary is completed, Redeemer will use it for worship services.

 

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Campus Scenes

 

“If you work with young people and can attend only one conference, I recommend Foundations of Campus Ministry. I look forward to attending each year.”

That comment from Jamison Galt, Coordinator of Youth and Family Ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian in Austin, TX, typifies the opinion of many who have attended this annual conference sponsored by Reformed University Ministries.

The 200l conference is scheduled for August 6 - 9 at Simpsonwood Conference Center in Atlanta, GA, a beautiful wooded setting along the banks of the Chattahoochee River, 25 miles from the center of downtown.

Who should attend: Anyone interested in campus ministry, including church members, officers, and staff; youth workers; Reformed University Ministries committee members; and seminary students.

Topics:

  • The Place of Campus Ministry in the PCA

  • The Purpose and Goals of Campus Ministry

  • The Philosophy and Theology of Ministry

  • Evangelism and Discipleship and Biblical Pastoring

Seminars will be led by Coordinator of Reformed University Ministries, Rod Mays, and several experienced campus ministers.

Cost options:

1) $195 per person covers conference, meals (4 lunches and 2 dinners) and refreshments.

2) $295 per person covers conference, lodging for 3 nights (August 6 - 8), meals and refreshments. Lodging rates are based on double occupancy.

To request further information or a brochure with registration form, call or email Samantha Bryant: 404-929-2160 or sbryant@ruf.org

 



 


Coordinator of Reformed University Ministries, Rod Mays, center, will lead the upcoming Foundations of Campus Ministry Conference at Simpsonwood in Atlanta.

 


University of Texas, Austin

   

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Gospel in Uniform

 

PCA Reserve Chaplains: Besides full-time PCA chaplains, a number of pastors serve part-time as military reservists. The excerpt below is from a letter sent to MNA coordinator of Chaplain Ministries, Dave Peterson, by Randy Nabors. Randy is a reserve chaplain with the US Army and senior pastor of New City Fellowship, Chattanooga, TN.

“Recently, a group of people stood up in our church to take vows of membership. Among them was SSG Smith, an Army Reservist who served with me during Desert Storm. Also in the congregation was SSG Crumsey (Ret), who served in the same unit and is now a member of our church.

“As a reserve chaplain, I have the opportunity to pastor people in my unit and also invite them to church. It may be inconvenient for our congregation when I am away on reserve duty, but I’m thankful that our ministry extends to the Army Reserve and has borne fruit.”

 


Army Reserve Chaplain Randy Nabors with his wife, Joan, and daughter, as they said their good-byes when he left for duty with Desert Storm.

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Church Vitality


From Embers to a Flame: This annual conference, held last January at Briarwood Presbyterian in Birmingham, AL, attracted 175 people. They included pastors and ruling elders from across North America, as well as participants from three other nations: South Africa, Brazil, and New Zealand. The next conference will be January 17 - 20 at Briarwood. Beginning in 2002, it will become a semi-annual event.

In response to the growing interest among diverse population groups, Briarwood is laying plans to promote revitalization movements in other nations. At the same time, in cooperation with MNA Church Vitality, meetings will be held at Briarwood to serve leaders of African-American and Korean churches in North America. The African-American conference will be Nov. 28 - Dec. 1, 2001, and the Korean conference, Feb. 18 - 22, 2002.

• For further information about these conferences, contact Carolyn Phillips at Briarwood Presbyterian: 205-776-5399 or embers@briarwood.org
 

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Multicultural Ministries

 

Growing Opportunities for Multicultural Ministry. “We feel driven by the Gospel to be multicultural.” That’s how Rick Downs, pastor, describes the focus of Christ the King Presbyterian in Cambridge, MA. Unquestionably, in an area where more than 50 languages are spoken, there are rich opportunities to reach “every tribe and language and people and nation.”

Each Sunday, the church conducts two separate worship services — a morning service in English for people of various ethnic origins, led by Rick, and an evening service in Portuguese for Brazilians, led by Samuel Vieira, also a pastor at Christ the King.

This church has been particularly effective in ministering to greater Boston’s Brazilian population, which now numbers more than 200,000. Three daughter churches, reaching primarily Brazilians, are in progress. Located in the nearby communities of East Boston, Marlboro, and Framingham, all are under the Christ the King name.

Manoel de Oliveira, church planter in Framingham, says, “God has been wonderful — He is really moving here.”

Started in June, 1999, this church now has an average attendance of 145 and is self-supporting. About 70 percent of the congregation are either new converts or people who have been away from the church for many years. Predominant in Brazil are Roman Catholicism and spiritist cults.

Although members are mostly Brazilian, several other ethnic groups are represented. In the near future, Manoel says the church will reach out to the area’s large Hispanic population and, over the long term, plans to become multicultural.

Next year, Christ the King, Cambridge, will plant a multi-cultural church in Boston proper. Stephen Um, now serving on the staff of Christ the King, will be church planter for this church.

 

 

 


Manoel de Oliveira started a church in Framingham, near Boston, to reach Brazilians. In the near future, the church also plans to reach out to the community’s large Hispanic population.

 

 


Christ the King Presbyterian in Marlboro is led by church planter Dalzir DaSilva, standing at right. The church is one of three initiated by Christ the King in Cambridge to serve Brazilians, and all three are thriving.

 

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Korean Church Planting


Second-Generation Korean Church Planters Meet

In January, MNA sponsored a conference for Korean church planters who lead second-generation congregations. Organized and led by Henry Koh, MNA Korean Ministries coordinator, the meeting was held at Korean Central Presbyterian of Washington in Vienna, VA, one of the largest Korean churches in the PCA with about 4,000 people each week at Sunday worship. About 80 church planters, pastors, and their wives attended, including representatives from other denominations.

The conference examined different models for planting Korean English-speaking churches and ministries, while keynote speaker Randy Pope, senior pastor of Perimeter Church, Atlanta, GA, stressed the importance of evangelism and discipleship.

Jim Om, a PCA Korean-American pastor said, “The conference helps widen perspectives of second-generation Korean pastors, particularly in terms of church planting and cross-cultural ministries.” Jim is currently planting a multicultural church with two locations, Teaneck and Hoboken, NJ, which is a daughter church of Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC.

 


 


Randy Pope, senior pastor of Perimeter Church in Atlanta, was keynote speaker at the Korean conference for church planters earlier this year. He stressed the importance of evangelism and discipleship.

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