A Vision for 10,000 New Congregations
Church Multiplication Network Senior Director Chris J. Railey announced an audacious goal for the U.S. Fellowship to launch 10,000 new congregations in the next decade, at a CMN luncheon Tuesday afternoon in Anaheim, California.
While the vision may seem outlandish, Railey noted a bold strategy is required to meet the diverse need for instituting churches in rural, suburban, and urban settings.
“We still have so much more work to do,” Railey said to a crowd of 520 gathered at the Hilton Hotel. “We simply believe every community deserves a healthy church.”
The U.S. Assemblies of God already has the highest number of congregations in its 103-year history, 13,023. CMN serves as the AG’s church planting arm, and in the nine years since its inception, an astonishing 17 percent of the Fellowship’s existing congregations have been launched, including a record 406 last year. CMN has pioneered over 3,000 congregations since its inception in 2008.
Railey said the new blueprint is achievable, with the expectation that church planting tools soon will be developed that haven’t even been conceived yet. CMN already is aggressively upping the stakes, including the recent launch of an I Want to Plant a Church website, the imminent posting of 4,000 church planting videos on the CMN domain, and the group’s inaugural national conference March 5-7, 2018, in Dallas.
Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church, the fifth largest congregation in the U.S. in nearby Lake Forest, California, had been scheduled to speak at the Tuesday luncheon, but he canceled because of a bout of flu. In Warren’s absence, Railey interviewed a panel of CMN lead team members Jeff Leake, Scott Wilson, and Rob Ketterling.
Leake, pastor of Alison Park Church in Pennsylvania, has had a hand in starting 100 churches during the past five years. He said he believes the key to future growth is the Parent Affiliated Church model. The PAC plan, initiated in 2009, typically features an established church taking a new church at another location under its wing. Last year, 60 percent of the churches started by CMN fit the PAC model.
Railey and AG General Superintendent George O. Wood also distributed church planting awards to:
- Cody and Jennifer Cochran, pastors of Bethel Assembly of God in Anson, Texas (rural church). Anson only has a population of, 2,300, yet over 400 people attend Bethel AG, which has planted congregations in Sweetwater and Albany, Texas, in the past three years.
- Taylor and Kristen Wilkerson, pastors of Trinity Church Harlem (urban church). The Wilkersons launched the New York City church last year.
- Don and Brenda Ross, Northwest Ministry Network, for most district churches chartered per capita in the past two years, 46.
- Rick DuBose, North Texas District, for most overall district congregations started in the past two years, 80.
- Troy and Lacey Hartman, pastors of Rock Hills Church in Manhattan, Kansas (overall achievement). Even though the Hartmans opened the congregation just under two years ago, Rock Hills has invested $107,000 in church planting efforts.
- Scott and Jennifer Obremski, pastors of Summit Park Church in Lee’s Summit, Missouri (overall achievement). Summit Park Church launched in 2013, yet already has an attendance of more than 1,300 people per week in four services.
- Daniel and Ruth DeLeon, pastors of Templo Calvario Church in Santa Ana, California (leadership award). Templo Calvario has established 100 daughter congregations.