a combination of key factors propels church planting
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
is underway for a church planting team for the east
side which will reflect the cultural diversity of that
part of Indianapolis.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Factors that Strengthen a Movement
Lord has used these factors to build a growing
church planting movement in Indianapolis:
ability to secure leadership and financial
resources without a large mother church to
from key laymen
trained as church planters through working
with area churches
to evangelism and mercy ministry
of churches to send out members and staff
for new church plants
of property proceeds from an older
congregation to plant a new church
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,
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.
you work with young people and can attend only one
conference, I recommend Foundations of Campus
Ministry. I look forward to attending each year.”
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
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
should attend: Anyone interested in campus
ministry, including church members, officers, and
staff; youth workers; Reformed University Ministries
committee members; and seminary students.
Place of Campus Ministry in the PCA
Purpose and Goals of Campus Ministry
Philosophy and Theology of Ministry
and Discipleship and Biblical Pastoring
will be led by Coordinator of Reformed University
Ministries, Rod Mays, and several experienced campus
per person covers conference, meals (4 lunches and 2
dinners) and refreshments.
per person covers conference, lodging for 3 nights
(August 6 - 8), meals and refreshments. Lodging rates
are based on double occupancy.
further information or a brochure with registration
form, call or email Samantha Bryant: 404-929-2160 or email@example.com
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
further information about these conferences, contact
Carolyn Phillips at Briarwood Presbyterian:
205-776-5399 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
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
Oliveira, church planter in Framingham, says, “God
has been wonderful — He is really moving here.”
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
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
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.
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
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.
Second-Generation Korean Church Planters Meet
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.
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.
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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