Through Church Multiplication Ministries, GCI is making significant progress in forming district-level church planting networks where existing GCI churches partner to recruit, equip and support men and women called by God to start new GCI churches in the US. Following is a report on one of those networks from district pastor Glen Weber. Following that is a video of a presentation on church planting networks given by Hal Haller at a recent GCI church planting conference.
The four GCI district pastors in Southern California (affectionately called the “Quad”) have been gathering monthly for some time to pray with and coach each other. One of the topics that kept coming to our attention was church planting. We had talked and prayed about it quite often and finally Pastor Heber Ticas said, “We need to stop talking so much and begin to actually do something to participate with Jesus in church planting.” We began by supporting Pastor Heber in planting a satellite congregation within the Latino community in Los Angeles from his mother church in San Fernando Valley. That church launched in October 2011 and has been experiencing approximately 70 people in attendance.
Meanwhile we began to pray and search specifically for people with a heart and calling to plant a stand-alone GCI congregation elsewhere in the Los Angeles area. A couple of people expressed interest and we assessed one couple; but it was the wrong time for these individuals. Meanwhile, a GCI pastoral couple (Angie and Saddie Tabin) in the Philippines visited Southern California with a desire to plant a church there among the large Filipino community in Los Angeles. After considerable prayer and discussion we decided this was the Holy Spirit providing the answer to our prayers, even though it was going to take more work and faith than we had planned on. Normally, GCI does not provide salaries to church planters, but to make it possible for the Tabins to get a visa to work in the US, we needed to provide them a salary to get started. That meant raising about $50,000 to cover their salary for about eighteen months (we are still raising those funds). Meanwhile, we had been developing an ability to provide church planter assessment, coaching and other support services.
The Tabins arrived in late June 2012 and hit the ground running, meeting hundreds of people in their focus community. They have developed a network of relationships by giving people day-old bagels, meeting them at the grocery store, visiting them in senior residences, etc. By February 2013 they had made sufficient contacts to invite 130 people to an initial social gathering where their new friends could meet. Over 80 attended and are looking forward to the next gathering in a month or so. After having a couple more gatherings, they will have a preview church service or two, leading up to the launch of their new congregation in October—God willing.
Recently I had the pleasure of attending the GCI Church Multiplication summit held in Memphis, Tennessee. Below is a video of a presentation made there by church planting consultant Hal Haller. By watching this, you’ll get a better idea of church planting networks vision, values and outcomes. I urge other districts to form a network. For assistance, contact Randy.Bloom@gci.org and see the CMM website at http://cmm.gci.org/networks.htm.