Nobody said church planting would be easy, but planting churches in 2020 has felt impossible. There would have been no shame in a year like we’ve just endured to simply postpone our plans and maintain the status quo. But that’s not what Acts 29 has done.
Yes, a global pandemic, wildfires, racial tensions, political turmoil, remote learning, isolation, increasing poverty, and much more slowed down our efforts, but they haven’t stopped the prevailing church. They never could. Our God reigns at all times over all things. Come what may, Christ’s gospel goes forth. Sinners become saints. Faith, though tested, flourishes. And the church perseveres.
Despite the craziness of 2020, Acts 29 planted 25 churches worldwide. Any other year that number might feel small and underwhelming. But we’re excited by God’s work through us. We’re a global community of disciple-makers. We pray, go, send, give, proclaim, train, assess, and support so more will know and worship Jesus Christ as his glory fills the earth. And the uncontainable glory of the Lord is spreading as we’ve reimagined what planting healthy, multiplying churches looks like.
New York and Washington
The glory of the Lord is spreading in New York City through New Hope Church. Jason James planted New Hope in March. He said, “We had meticulously planned every detail, created discipleship pathways, and dreamt of what our church could be. But the Lord, in his great wisdom and goodness, has done immeasurably more than we could ask or think. The pandemic forced us to grow into the kind of church we’ve always dreamt of being, one that is for the glory of God and the joy of the city, that loves others in ways that create curiosity about Jesus Christ.”
Come what may, Christ’s gospel goes forth. Sinners become saints. Faith, though tested, flourishes. And the church perseveres.
Noah Winningham, who recently planted Sufficient Grace Church in Washington, said, “Our timeline has changed due to the restrictions of COVID, but our conviction that the South Hill community needs the gospel has not. In a time of isolation, division, and confusion, we need the unifying and saving message of Jesus Christ.”
Italy and India
God’s glory is spreading in Italy where Daniel Taut planted Chiesa biblica La Vite in January. Daniel said, “For Easter, we did worship on my terrace at home, and my neighbors listened to God’s Word. We have opportunities to serve the needy in the city, feed the poor, assist refugees, and more. In all this, God is glorified.”
Jerome Christopher sees the glory of the Lord spreading in India. He said, “We launched Crossroad East Church in January with about 40 people. Shortly after, the lockdown was announced and we weren’t able to meet for six weeks. During the lockdown, we had Bible studies via phone conference and Zoom. I invited a few families to my home every Sunday to participate in an online worship service with communion and lunch.”
Ohio and North Carolina
Christ’s glory is spreading in Ohio through Good Shepherd Bible Church. Applicant church planter, Hunter Sipe, said his church “exists as a testament to God’s promise that he will build his church. If the gates of hell cannot stop the mission of Jesus and his church, then neither can a pandemic.”
His glory is spreading in North Carolina through Reconciliation Church. New Acts 29 church planter, Russell McCutcheon, said, “Right now, we haven’t been able to do outreach like we wanted to, but something beautiful is happening. We’re meeting outside at a park with many walkers and runners. We continue to see people who are walking stop to engage us from a distance. They hear the gospel. Some have conversations with our people about Jesus.”
The glory of the Lord is spreading in Australia through CityLight South. Tyler Shedd said, “Many of our original plans for mission in our community were put on hold because of the pandemic. Despite that, a school in our community with several struggling families asked for our help. Jesus has been an anchor for people in the grief and uncertainties of 2020, and we’re learning together to put our hope in him and his promises instead of in the latest headlines or products.”
2020 has presented many church-planting challenges, but Christ’s church perseveres through them all for God’s great glory.
Colorado and Minnesota
God’s glory is spreading in Colorado through Summit Church. Jason Tippetts planted Summit in February after they met as a core group for five months. He said, “We had high hopes of growing together and connecting to our local community. Our group of 30 stayed faithfully together as we did Zoom, then outdoor worship through the summer. We have slowly grown to just under 50 people!”
Drew Zuehlke planted Hope Community Church in Minnesota in January. Drew said, “God brought us here to share the gospel through our lives. We just didn’t know it would look like this in the first year of our church. What better way to start a church than by learning to suffer faithfully, clinging to Jesus for our lives.”
2020 has presented many church-planting challenges, but Christ’s church perseveres through them all for God’s great glory. These glimpses of God’s work through Acts 29 highlight the beauty and resilience of his church. She shines brightest in the darkest times.
As we celebrate the thousands of conversions this year through our global community, we joyfully anticipate Christ’s coming kingdom. “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!”
Editor’s Note: We believe the local church is God’s primary mission strategy on earth. Therefore, being faithful to the Great Commission means being passionate about church planting. As we near the end of the year, will you consider supporting global church planting by giving to acts29.com/give?