One of the EPC’s four current strategic initiatives is to promote and resource church planting. In the months since it was identified as a priority (along with promoting and resourcing church revitalization, creating a leadership development culture, and creating a structure suitable for a global movement), church planting is increasingly becoming part of the fabric of the EPC.
Several new Church Planting Networks—consortiums of churches in a city or region that join forces and leverage their collective resources to plant new congregations—have launched. In many cases, these networks work in partnership with the appropriate presbyteries to plant new EPC churches.
The following seven networks are already working or beginning to come together:
- Memphis Church Planting Network, Memphis, Tenn.
- Aspen Grove Church Planting Network, Denver, Colo.
- Resurrection Brooklyn Church Planting Network, Brooklyn, N.Y.
- Bay Area Church Planting Network, San Francisco, Calif.
- St. Louis Area Church Planting Network, St. Louis, Mo.
- Gulf Coast Church Planting Network, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La.; southern Mississippi; and Alabama.
- Detroit Area Church Planting Network, Detroit, Mich.
In addition, several more church planting networks are in their formative stages in other regions and cities.
Further, the EPC now has 27 church plants, which represents approximately 4.7 percent of the EPC’s current total church count of 571. Researchers such as the Barna Group and Ed Stetzer of Lifeway Research have stated that a healthy, growing denomination should have new church plants represent 5-7 percent of its churches. By this measure, the EPC is making progress—but there is still work to do. The goal is for every EPC church to be a “parent, partner, or patron” of church planting, and the strategic initiative provides an outlet for every congregation to be intentional in growing God’s kingdom by helping start new congregations.
For more information about how you or your church can get involved in these—or future—EPC church planting networks, contact Tom Ricks of the EPC Church Planting Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.