Here I am with my new friend Nelson Searcy. Nelson is the author of a fantastic book on church planting called Launch and he was also a special guest at the Liberty University Church Planting emphasis week.
Matt Fry is the man! Wednesday January 30 I sat in the huge dome on Liberty University campus to hear Pastor Matt Fry speak at the convocation to 10,000 Liberty U. students. He stirred the crowd with a message on vision and living out your destiny in God.
Later that evening we attended Campus Church at Thomas Road Baptist Church. Walking in to the auditorium it felt like a rock concert...really cool stuff. Smoke filled the huge 5500 seat room with red, blue, yellow and green strobe lights flashing everywhere. The worship set was wonderful and the 5000 students really entered in with many dancing raising their hands in intense worship. I thought I was as Bethany World Prayer Center for a few minutes! Great time.
Ed Stetzer did a great job teaching on the ministry of reconciliation out of 2Corinthians 5. Dozens of students responded to the call to be church planters. It was a moving experience.
Thursday morning I had the opportunity to teach a class lead by Dr. Elmer Towns on church planting. I was honored to get the opportunity to speak at Liberty U. and share all that God is doing in ARC.
At lunch 16 leaders convened for a Church Planters Roundtable with many great leaders from around the US. Jonathan Falwell, Senior Pastor at Thomas Road Baptist Church led the meeting and shared his vision with us to plant 500 churches in 5 years in the USA. His passion for reaching the lost is incredible. Each one in the room had an opportunity to share what they were doing and give input into the direction of this initiative. ARC will have a part.
It was decided that one of the means for planting 500 churches would be for Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University to partner with existing church planting organizations in the effort to do this. It was decided that ARC would be a part of this and that students that identified with the ARC style and model would be encouraged to plant with ARC. What an honor to be able to partner with such a great church, university and a leader like Jonathan Falwell.
At the end of the meeting Pastor Falwell prayed specifically for Charlene's healing and for peace and strength for us both during the challenging time we are facing with Charlene's battle with cancer. I was deeply moved by this.
Please pray with us that God will give direction and wisdom to all involved to be able to carry out this initiative.
It was an incredible two days in Lynchburg and I was humbled by the reception and hospitality of the Liberty U. staff and leadership.
My friend Dr. Pat Murray came from Dayton, Ohio to watch the LSU/Ohio State game with me. This is a pre-game lunch at a good LSU/Cajun restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama. LSU 38-Ohio State 24.... Pat and I are still friends!
At C3 church in Cleveland, NC a few of us gathered with Rick White of the Peoples Church in Frankin, TN, Greg Surratt of Seacoast, Matt Fry, Jonathan Falwell of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA, and Frank Lacey of Farmville, VA. Along with other members of the staff at Thomas Road Baptist Church we had a roundtable discussion and fellowship. Jonathan has taken over the pastorate of Thomas Road Baptist since his father, Jerry Falwell, passed away last May.
"Only God knows how much glory He can get from the hardships that we go
through. But we are learning more about his grace and faithfulness as we
walk through a great trial. Charlene shares her thoughts about a doctors
report she received in October 2007. She is strong, full of faith, and her
love for life, her family and for God is unmistakable." -Billy
To start the 2008 right I went to Massachusetts to visit David and Ginelle Payne at LifeSong Church. What a wonderful time we had. There were nearly 300 people in the service on Sunday morning and the style and quality of each component was life-giving and excellent. LifeSong is a great example of an ARC church less than two years old.
We started on Saturday with leadership training and then a time of fellowship. That evening we went to a great Italian restaurant for dinner...Mama Mia was it good food!! Sunday was great. David and Ginelle are great hosts and are doing a great job in pastoring, leading, and administering a great church. Thanks to them both for a wonderful time in Mass.
Have you been looking for a way to extend your knowledge of the Bible
but don't have the time to go back to school? I'm excited to tell you
about a special partnership between the ARC and Globe International.
The Globe School of Ministry is designed to help busy people study the
Bible and prepare for ministry.
being both affordable and time sensitive, the GSOM program can help you
reach your personal growth and ministry preparation goals! Globe School
of Ministry, an online, accredited Bible training program
has agreed to offer ARC members special, reduced rates for online Bible
that will count toward a diploma in Biblical Studies. Check it out!
Is it possible for ARC to plant 50 churches each year? I believe it is!
With 50 churches already planted in the first 7 years of our existence and
with the addition of over 50 other churches joining in to plant churches
around the USA it can be done.
Here it is: If half of the ARC member churches planted one church out of
their congregations each year we would plant 50 churches every 12 months. Of
course that number would increase as more churches join ARC and more are
planted. That would be each church planting one church every two
years....not impossible but it has to be a priority. As we grow it is easy
to see that 100 churches each year is a reachable goal within the next 5
years...and then who knows what will happen. It is incredible to think that
God would use us to do this....but it can be done.
ARC is set to plant 25-30 churches in 2008. With the new CPI, Church
Planters Internship, and an increased number of CPR's and Assessments we
should at least break the 25 mark in 2008.
In 2007 we added to our staff John Bolin. John is a great asset to ARC and
along with our Chief of Operations, Michael Smith and the Home Office
President, Gayle Bennett we have the team in place to effectively handle the
increased load of 25-30 churches. You can help us reach these goals.
"What can I do?"
If at least one service per year was dedicated to the message of church
planting and your congregation was encouraged to pray about being involved
in church planting by either praying, supporting, or being sent out as a
church planter, we would explode in the number of plants each year.
Let's work together to come up with a plan for getting more of the ARC
church members involved in planting churches around the USA. After all, they
have the ARC DNA and understand what a Life-giving Church looks like...they
have learned it from you...