Gospel-Centered Churches, Networks, Alliances Movements = Discipling All Nations
In order to best accomplish our strategy, GCA has designed a tactical plan to equip church leaders to start, grow and multiply Gospel-Centered Churches that intentionally form Church Planting Networks and Alliances that will, by God’s grace, birth Church Planting Movements and Gospel Renewal Movements. This is the strategy through which we pray that God’s invisible Kingdom will be made visible among all nations—resulting in the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:16-20). This plan includes starting, growing and multiplying:
A Gospel-Centered Church focuses its ministries primarily on: 1) Evangelism (good news for the lost), 2) discipleship (good news for the found), and 3) societal transformation (good news for the community). A Gospel-Centered Church shares a Kingdom vision for the spiritual, social and cultural renewal of its community, region, nation and the world through starting, growing and multiplying churches by the power of the gospel in word and deed. The plan is not merely to start Gospel Centered Churches but also Church Planting Networks.
A Church Planting Network is an intentional kingdom partnership between church leaders (clergy & laity), representing a minimum of three (3) churches (normally in the same association, denomination, mission agency, etc.), who share a common kingdom vision for church planting in their region and a strong commitment to resource one another to help fulfill that vision.
A church planter cannot be trained to plant a church by merely attending multiple training events any more than a pilot can be trained to fly a plane by merely attending flight theory classes. GCA has designed and proven a training process called a Gospel-Centered Network through which the church planter and/or parenting pastor learns how to plant a church:
- While on the field
- Working in collaboration with peers (“Peer-Mentoring)
- Under the oversight of a well-trained coach
- Using an intentional, holistic training curriculum as a way of life
Our training strategy is not merely to equip church leaders to train and coach individual church planters but also to serve evangelical denominations (associations, classis, districts, dioceses, presbyteries, etc.), mission agencies and large churches by helping them start and strengthen their own regional Gospel-Centered Networks from which they will raise up their own church planter trainers and coaches.
There are two types of Gospel-Centered Networks:
- New Church Community (NCC): focusing primarily on equipping Church Planters to start new churches (Ecclesiastical Pediatrics)
- Parenting Church Community (PCC): focusing primarily on equipping Pastors to raise up church planters and/or core groups to start new churches from their own churches (Ecclesiastical Obstetrics)
The plan for equipping leaders to start, grow and multiply Gospel-Centered Networks involves overseeing their development through the Four Training Seasons. The plan is not merely to establish regional Church Planting Networks but also Church Planting Alliances.
A Kingdom Alliance is an intentional partnership between Church Planting Networks and like-minded Support Organizations (i.e. church planter training, relief, development, translation support, resourcing, consulting, coaching, schools, clinics, hospitals, orphanages, NGOs, etc.) to share a common Kingdom Vision for their regions and to collaborate and resource one another to help fulfill that vision. Church Planting Alliances are formed to help start Movements.
A Church Planting Movement occurs when: 1) the majority of all the churches in the same association, denomination, etc. in one region are proactively, significantly and sacrificially involved in starting, growing and multiplying Gospel-Centered Churches in their region, AND 2) the majority of those new churches that are planted become proactively and significantly involved in planting a second generation of churches in their region within 5 years. But we must never forget that a Church Planting Movement is not the ultimate goal. There is a much higher and holier goal—a Gospel Renewal Movement.
A Gospel Renewal Movement is a supernatural work of God’s Spirit that glorifies God and advances His kingdom through the Church by the transforming power of the gospel in word and deed—resulting in the spiritual, social, and cultural renewal of individuals, churches, communities and nations under the Lordship of Christ. It is more than mere evangelism and discipleship that results in new churches, networks, and alliances. And it is more than starting church planting movements or the renewal of pre-existing churches. It is a widespread spiritual awakening through which God’s Kingdom becomes visible in every sphere of life.
A distinguishing mark of a Gospel Renewal Movement is the display of tangible, measurable forms of “righteousness” such as lower crime rates, less divorce, poverty, corruption, hunger, sickness, illiteracy, etc. Tim Keller writes, “A gospel movement happens when you see the work of the Gospel: 1) moving across denominational lines in collaborative ministries, 2) moving beyond the work of any one leader, 3) resulting in real conversion growth in the larger body of Christ (VS mere biological or transfer growth), 4) resulting in the Body of Christ growing faster in a region than the general population growth (i.e. the City of God is growing faster than the City of Man).”