When you drive across the George Washington Bridge into New York City and cross Manhattan into the Bronx, you will be near the neighborhood in which El Remanente Free Methodist Church ministers. Two years ago, Pastor Joel Guzman and lay leader Edward Ventura set out to multiply churches in the Bronx. Following the five simple strategies taught by Community Church Planting, they sent trained church members into new communities to discover “persons of peace” prepared by God to help start a church. So far they have started 13 new “community groups,” eight of which have become or are in the process of becoming self-sustaining churches.
This story of multiplication is being repeated across the Free Methodist Church. From Long Beach, California, to Endicott, New York, God is calling Free Methodists to multiply disciples, leaders, groups and churches.
God intends that everything He gives life to will multiply, including the church. “Be fruitful and multiply” was one of His first instructions (Genesis 1:28 ESV).
Here is a key verse for understanding the process of multiplication that God intends in the church: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2). This instruction for multiplication is the model for what God intends in the church.
The bishops of the Free Methodist Church – USA have identified multiplication of ministries as one of the nine strategic priorities of the church. They have articulated this goal: “We will increase multiplication of disciples, leaders, groups, churches and ministries by highlighting exemplary leaders and by changing the way our churches view and report growth.” The bishops have gathered a team of multiplication practitioners from across the country to lead the multiplication strategy team at General Conference 2015.
I have led my conference, the Acts 12:24 Churches, to initiate a church multiplication project using Community Church Planting strategies.
Larry Walkemeyer has led Light & Life Christian Fellowship to the planting of 19 churches in the United States and dozens internationally. Larry has written and spoken on church planting around the nation. He also serves as a superintendent in Southern California where the vision is to plant 50 churches in five years.
Stephen Gray has been a pastor, planter and superintendent in the Free Methodist Church. He is serving as the denominational church-planting strategist. His role was created to help pastors, conferences and churches design and launch healthy churches. Gray has focused on church planting and is recognized as one of the top experts in his field.
Al Sones is the senior pastor of Good News Church in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, and is a regional church leader. He has been a member of a team that has been studying, praying and working on one essential question since 1999: What will lead to rapid expansion of the kingdom of God?
Rob Campbell has served at New Life Ministries based in Endicott, New York, since 1998. He serves as the site pastor of New Life West and previously served as New Life’s pastor of worship and executive pastor. New Life is currently operating in four locations and has planted two churches since 2010.
Jason Garcia, the Free Methodist Church’s multiplication strategist, and Bruce Bennett, who has led the Into Africa Project in planting more than 40,000 churches, will also serve as resource persons.
The Multiply Ministries strategy team is committed to creating an atmosphere that will ignite a passion to equip and embolden our people toward a multiplication movement. If God is calling you to the ministry of multiplication, we want to help you believe that you can succeed. We want you to learn skills and gain access to resources that will assist you in taking the next step in the ministry to which God is calling you.
In the Multiply Ministries breakout groups, you will interact with successful practitioners and be taught proven strategies that will enable you to live out God’s call on your life.
Participants will have two excellent opportunities from which to choose a learning experience. Walkemeyer and Gray will teach simple steps on how to plant a church out of your church. Bennett will teach five strategies of Community Church Planting.
God is calling the Free Methodist Church to multiplication of disciples, leaders groups and churches. Our desire is for the members of the Multiply Ministries strategy team to leave General Conference 2015 with passion and skills to do this important work of the church.
David Harvey is the Multiply Ministries strategy team facilitator for General Conference 2015 and the superintendent of the Acts 12:24 Churches.0