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CMN Staffers Move From Giving Advice to Living It 

Three former full-time staff members of the Assemblies of God Church Multiplication Network, the area that focuses on planting new churches, have gone on to plant churches of their own in the last six months!

Jake Musselman, Miguel Guerreiro, and Greg Barber may not be household names, but they all worked full-time in the Assemblies of God Church Multiplication Network (CMN) office in Springfield, Missouri.

Yet, none of them stayed in CMN longer than three years. A difficult place to work? Every job has its challenges, but these three men, called by God and inspired by those they worked with, “moved on” to plant churches of their own, all launching within the last six months.

“Jake, Miguel and Greg have each been immersed in the church planting culture through their work with planters from around the country, and seen firsthand the impact a new church can make on a community,” says Chris Railey, senior director of AG Leadership and Church Development. “With this in mind, it’s not surprising to see them get personally involved in planting a church after leaving CMN. They've been infused with the DNA of church planting and God is going to use each of them in a big way!”

Through stepping out to plant churches, Musselman, Guerreiro, and Barber have come to personally realize how every church plant provides unique challenges, involves reaching unique people, and that taking their own “CMN” advice isn’t a bad idea.

Musselman, who launched Sought Church in the challenging and unique venue of downtown Las Vegas, explains that he and his wife Janelle moved into church planting because they are passionate about leading people to Christ.

“We discovered that church planting is the number one way of evangelism in the United States,” he states. “At the point, my wife and I said, ‘If that's how people find Jesus, then that's what we will do.’"

However, he says that if the church were located almost anywhere else, it might feel strange, as those who call downtown Las Vegas their home have unique lifestyles as compared to the majority of the nation.

On the other end of the spectrum, Guerreiro has found himself in the rural community of Archie, Missouri, a town of less than 2,000 people, and working on a church “replant” — a church about to close, but infused with a new life and new direction through Guerreiro and wife Meagan.

As different as ministering to people in Las Vegas has been for the Musselmans, Guerreiro laughs in understanding, having himself been introduced to a community event in Archie called “donkey basketball” (played with live donkeys).

Guerreiro says that having worked in CMN doesn’t guarantee success — they have faced challenges. He says the few people still at the church when he came, departed when the church began looking for more ways to serve its community. But since that time, the church has rebounded and experienced new growth through new people who have begun a relationship with the Lord.

Up in the great white north of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Greg Barber and his wife Kelsey have planted Corner Church Uptown. As unique to Minneapolis as the Musselmans’ and Guerreiros’ church plants are to their communities, the Barbers are part of a team that owns and operates two coffee shops in the city, where they also hold church services.

“This [church planting] has been a whole lot of new experiences for me,” Barber says. “I have been a part of many church plants and had relationships with lots of church planters, but nothing quite prepares you to be the one holding the reigns.”

For all three church planting couples, what has become vastly apparent to them through their first experience in church planting is the importance of building relationships in the communities they serve.

Barber says that making the opportunities to meet and build relationship with the community is invaluable, which is why the coffee shop/church effort has proven to be successful, while Musselman and Guerreiro observe that their churches’ growth isn’t tied to events as much as it is to making connections and building those relationships.

However, community relationships aren’t the only thing necessary for a new church plant to survive. 

“I heard ‘don't go alone’ a lot while at CMN and that advice is huge,” Guerreiro says. “There is just so much to do when you get started, there are so many opportunities, victories, and defeats, you end up needing support.”

Railey says that CMN offers the resources that can help new church planters experience success. 

“We come alongside those God calls to plant a new church in order to resource and equip them to carry out their call and to help them be as successful as possible. In addition, we connect them to resources available through the AG Trust Matching Fund to assist in funding, and — perhaps more significantly — we connect church planters to a network of hundreds of other planters to encourage, support, and learn from one another.”

Although Musselman, Guerreiro, and Barber frequently point to CMN as an invaluable resource that they continue to rely upon, they also are quick to point out that without God, their efforts would be in vain.

Barber shares his perspective, a perspective that perhaps most church planters experience at least periodically.

“God has provided and prepared us in amazing ways,” he states. “Most of the time I have no idea what I am doing — luckily that is usually right where God wants me.”

The Church Multiplication Network equips leaders to plant healthy churches in their communities through the CMN Launch training program.

Image used in accordance with Creative Commons license. Photo credit: m01229, Flickr

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.