God has been doing amazing things through the 105 church plants that have been sent out since 2013. We recently asked some of our planters to tell us some of their cool stories and how we can support and pray for each of them.
Ben Ganson - Rock Hill Vineyard
This was our second year of Sunday morning gatherings and the Lord blessed us greatly. Here are some highlights:
He gave us a lead role in our community as we gathered churches to support the local homeless shelters. We gave $11,000 and other churches gave an additional $10,000 to keep the shelters funded through the winter months.
We have many non-Christians hanging around seeing and hearing the gospel up close. Our dream to allow people to belong before they believe has been coming true. We have several atheists, a Wiccan, a former Mormon, and several others hanging around on Sunday mornings and throughout the week with us.
One couple started a small group in their neighborhood for people interested in Christianity. It has been going very well. Others are serving in their neighborhoods and in local ministries engaging poverty and those who need Jesus.
We were able to give away 33% of the money we brought in last year. It has been exciting to be a part of a church that is radically generous.
We have the opportunity to plant another Vineyard in the next year or two in our area and it is very exciting to be ready to launch another church this early on in our history.
Alicia Swearingen - Royal Gorge Vineyard
Royal Gorge Vineyard started September, 2016. Before we even began, God introduced us to a Food Pantry that needed space in that area of town. Since then, it has grown from 1 distribution every other week, to 2-3 every week. We have 35 new families that attend. Volunteers from around the community have been able to offer prayer and encourage those coming to the pantry. Some of the guests that come to get food have come to church or other programs/outreaches that we've offered as well. It's been such a blessing having them in our building!
We also had someone donate 100 coats to our church and we partnered with the school in our community with the highest level of kids on free/reduced lunch to find kids that needed a coat. It was so fun getting to go into the schools and love on the kids.
We did a community Christmas event the week before Christmas and went door to door right after a blizzard handing out a "Coke and a smile," shoveling walks and inviting people to come to church. We also had our first baptism on New Year’s Eve and baptized 3 people. God has been so faithful and we see His hand in all of this.
Mark Steiger - Venture Church
Venture Church started public Sunday Gatherings in Somerville, MA in September 2016. In July of 2016, we worked with a multi-ethnic coalition of churches in our city and YWAM to host TeamXtreme, a powerlifting evangelism group out of Missouri. That three day event saw 77 first-time decisions for Jesus and two dozen recommitments.
We've been working on ways to serve Somerville outside of church gatherings. In December, we connected with a local clothing shelter that was looking for warm coats, hats, gloves, and boots for immigrant students at the high School. Our church purchased everything on their wishlist. They were blown away so we are working on a continued relationship with them.
We are also connected with the local Police Chief and invited him to a Somerville pastors' meeting I attend regularly. We introduced a John Maxwell program for character development and hope to run the program for a group within the police department. The Chief was eager to come to our churches to speak and share the police department’s desire to work with all different types of people. That's significant because English is the 3rd language most common language spoken in Somerville churches (Haitian Creole is the first followed by Portuguese).
Finally, we have seen significant deliverance and emotional and inner healing in people on our team. One woman had been dealing with perfectionism and performance-based faith and is a completely different person after deliverance.
Isn’t it cool how God is using these plants to reach their cities?
You can support church planting by: