Why Structure Matters Paul Whaley By Paul Whaley April 30, 2016
Acts 29 - A diverse, global family of church-planting churches

I have been blessed to be a part of Acts 29 since 2008. We have seen many changes and tweaks to the network along the way. If you have been a part of any church for any amount of time, you know change is inevitable and even necessary. I believe the heart behind each change in Acts 29 has been for the glory of God and the good of the network. One of the changes that has occurred within the network in recent months is the re-structuring of the network into geographic regions. These regions are able to create proper paths toward health and are able to oversee the health of our pastors with greater precision and care. How, you may ask? Here are just three reasons why. This is not exhaustive, but will give you an idea of why we are excited about this structure as we seek to plant churches that plant healthy churches.

1. Greater Contextualization

The Acts 29 Distinctives and Values give great guardrails for our churches. We are unified globally on what we are called and committed to. The regional networks provide the clarity in how to execute these Distinctives and Values within specific areas of church planting. Each network has a director that works alongside a leadership team. This allows the team to collaborate, plan, and prayerfully execute direction and vision that is laser focussed on meeting the needs in a specific area. If we are going to plant healthy churches, we must know the gospel gaps among the people, and we need to understand where the places of gospel light are needed in our cities. This structure within the Acts 29 Network helps provide the opportunity for us to contextualize. We are praying for a gospel movement throughout our country and around the world. Movements require compelling vision. For a vision to be compelling, we need clear and vivid pictures of what this movement can look like among different cultures. Our leaders within the Acts 29 Network will better be able to articulate the spirit-led ideas and plans to our pastors that will in turn be able to articulate it their people. The specific goals, plans, and dreams of planting healthy churches within our regions will catch like wildfire. Greater clarity will lead to greater commitment within our churches.

Greater clarity will lead to greater commitment within our churches.

When leaders know the target and their role, it’s like detonating a gospel bomb. It will be explosive in a God-honoring, kingdom-advancing way. Instead of vision drift and mission complacency, there will be great gospel enthusiasm and synergy.

2. Better Assessments

One of the strengths within Acts 29 has always been the assessment process. Now, with the unique networks, we will be able to assess with even more clarity and care. Each candidate will be assessed with pastors that are familiar with their context. The assessments will be strategic and intentional. Each church planting pastor desiring to be assessed in calling, competency, and character will have the opportunity to walk through this process with men who not only can care for them in one meeting but will be available in their area for ongoing encouragement and care.

These assessments will be given by trained leaders that are passionate about healthy pastors and healthy churches. As we seek to pursue the goal God has put before us of planting 200 churches by 2020, the assessment process will be critical. Seeing a movement of gospel centered churches will require spirit-led preparation and spirit-led follow up.

Seeing a movement of gospel centered churches will require spirit-led preparation and spirit-led follow up.

We believe the fuel to this movement begins with quality assessments. If a man has been pushed in the gospel to explore the health of his own heart, family, and calling, then we believe this man is better prepared to lead a church with humility, holiness, global focus, and a healthy perspective on radical diversity. Again, our goal is not to just plant churches that survive, but plant church-planting churches that thrive for the glory of God. 

3. More Intentional Care and Coaching

The decentralization of leadership within Acts 29 will also provide greater care and coaching. Our desire is to see health among our leaders and organizations. If we aren’t thoughtful, prayerful, and intentional, leadership can outgrow the organization, or the organization could outgrow the leader. Another healthy step of our individual networks is providing greater access to equipping. We desire to be more than just a brotherhood, but a family of church-planting churches that are fully equipped and cared-for.

We desire to be more than just a brotherhood, but a family of church-planting churches that are fully equipped and cared-for.

The US Southeast Network is broken down into regions and areas. Each region has a Regional Director and works with area leaders. The Regional Directors work alongside the area leaders in creating opportunities for care and coaching. The assigned leadership helps develop, train, and care for our lead pastors, elders, and staff. Each area within a region oversees the health and development of church planters. Training will involve one-day meetings, church-planter residencies, regional workshops, and strategic regional conferences. Each one of these training opportunities will provide collaboration of best practices, paths to gospel growth, and a platform for genuine repentance and care for one another. It’s a new day in Acts 29! We are thankful for the journey up to this point and to all who have poured their lives into this Network. Now, by God’s grace and by the Spirit’s power, we strive toward the mission of Christ of making disciples that make disciples for His glory – 200 by 2020 and beyond!


Paul & his wife Brandi moved to Huntsville in 2000 after taking a youth ministry position. While working at a church in Huntsville, AL, he felt the call to plant Summit Crossing Community Church in the Huntsville/Madison area. Along with 3 other families, they had their first worship service in a home in Madison in August, 2003. Nearly 12 years later, he is now the Lead Teaching & Vision Pastor of Summit Crossing’s Madison Campus. In addition to this, Paul serves as the Regional Director for Alabama & Middle Tennessee and spends much time investing in pastors of new church plants in the US Southeast Network — helping them grow as pastors, husbands, fathers, & leaders. Paul and Brandi have 3 kids: Luke (17), Karsyn (11), and Jake (4).

Acts 29 Office:

23052 Alicia PKWY, Suite H #621, Mission Viejo, CA 92692

Tel: (+1) 949-771-4664