From Planting to Building
The New Testament sometimes speaks of ministry as being like an architectural project. In particular, the Apostle Paul speaks of building God’s temple, with some laying the foundation and others building; but either way, faithfulness requires that “each one should build with care” (1 Corinthians 3:10). The analogy works well for both evangelism and discipleship, for planting and pastoring. It is also a good way of describing the shift that’s taking place right now in our shared mission of church planting in the Gulf Atlantic Diocese, as we move from establishing the requisite foundation to a kind of multi-faceted building project.
From the beginning, we have maintained that the goal is not just to drum up an inspiring talk, a new church here and there, or an occasional gift from a zealous donor. Instead, the Gulf Atlantic Diocese has been developing the requisite infrastructure that will allow church planting to prosper in a natural way year after year. This more comprehensive approach involves establishing the “7 systems” that are indicative of a church planting network: 1) Leadership Pipeline, 2) Assessment, 3) Training, 4) Coaching, 5) Ongoing Support, 6) Funding, and 7) Strategic Oversight. Through the Always Forward team these 7 systems are now being implemented around the Province, and in many ways the Gulf Atlantic Diocese is on the leading edge. Simply put, the goal is to raise up and multiply healthy church plants with healthy church planters throughout the Gulf Atlantic Diocese, and to do so in a way that it becomes a sustainable part of who we are as a diocese.
The Lord has been doing this great work! In my first few years as Canon for Church Planting, we developed a Leadership Pipeline, secured Funding, and established a system of prayerful and communal Assessment. Now that we are working with a whole team of planters, whether through the curacy or Greenhouse, we have been developing methods and partnerships for Training, Coaching, and Ongoing Support. We are no longer working with just the original two or three systems – although that work is ongoing – but all seven. In other words, by God’s grace, we’ve planted a church planting network!
Therefore, we recently decided to hire an Associate Director for Church Planting (ADCP) to help us build upon that foundation. Michelle Brodeur Herbst is a seasoned minister who has been working with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for over ten years and has great gifts in training, administration, discernment, and prayer. Prior to being hired as the ADCP, she led trainings for us in fundraising, evangelism, and discipleship. Please welcome Michelle, she is a lifelong Anglican and a dear friend to many of us!
Ministry is often like architecture, with some laying the foundation and others building upon it. We are excited about the 7-system foundation that the Lord has laid, about the planters that God has raised up, and about the strategic hire of Michelle Herbst to help us to both maintain and build upon that foundation. Pray that the Holy Spirit will help us all to “build with care” in 2021.
Editors note: Canon Taylor is currently on Sabbatical and Michelle Herbst is managing all aspects of church planting in his absence. If you have any questions about church planting in our diocese, please contact Michelle.
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