Ever since we began as a church, we’ve looked for ways to effectively engage people throughout Columbia with the gospel. Our methods for accomplishing this are constantly evolving, since Columbia is a diverse place with diverse people.
During our |giv| series in 2012, we announced that we had plans to plant a church in the inner-city neighborhoods surrounding Allen University and Benedict College, as well as the Pinehurst neighborhood around Two Notch Road. Our goal from the beginning was to use the resources at our disposal to best equip this church to reach these areas of our city with the gospel.
It was this thinking that lead to forming our family of churches.
A Family of Churches
Currently, our family of churches is made up of two churches: Downtown (meeting on Devine Street), and Two Notch (meeting on School House Road). We also have plans underway to plant a Lexington-area church in fall of 2015.
So our family of churches looks something like this:
The goal is that each church in our family of churches would benefit from central resources that help them accomplish their mission at the local church level. As a result, these local churches will be able to reach more people in their area with the good news of Jesus. For those interested, this is our version of an approach commonly called the “parish” model.
How We Benefit from a Family of Churches
Some advantages of this approach are:
- Contextualization. Each local church has freedom to contextualize the gospel, church family, and mission in a way that makes sense for the people they’re reaching. Reaching a Downtown population looks different than reaching a Two Notch population which looks different than a suburban Lexington population. This model allows for each congregation to have their own personality while remaining true to our DNA of being a Jesus-centered family on mission.
- Central resources. Each church gets to benefit from infrastructure already set up. Necessary things like business, human resources, and communications can be taken care of by existing systems, freeing up local churches to focus on tangible ministry in their communities.
- Leadership development. This structure helps us to continue to empower people to do ministry and spread authority out.
- Best of both worlds. With this model of church planting, each church benefits from the resources of a larger church with the local, personal feel of a smaller church.
One of the goals in this process will be to keep each local church up-to-speed with what is happening at the other churches, so that we can all pray and celebrate together as a big family. Be looking for videos and updates from both churches as we continue our mission to be a Jesus-centered family on mission in the Columbia area.
For more information on our family of churches, listen to the audio from our August 2014 Family Meeting.