Search Box


 2020 ERC Church Plants!


  • §  Pennsylvania:

Turning Point: Mechanicsburg, Pa.

Providence Lampeter: meeting at Lancaster Country Day School, Lampeter, Pa.

Visionpointe: Manchester, Pa. Harrisburg, Pa.

Solid Rock Church: Osceola Mills, Pa.

New Horizons: Manheim, Pa.

Treasures of Heaven: Denver, Pa.

Mosaic Ministries: Lancaster, Pa.

Reality Church: Robertsdale, Pa.

  • §  North Carolina

REC Church: Wake Forest, Nc.

Lumen Church: Chapel Hill, Nc.

Orchard Church movement: Asheville, Nc., Atlanta, Ga., and Greensboro, Nc.

Last Days World Harvest: Raleigh, Nc. and Hillsborough, Nc.

The Transformation Church: Zebulon, Nc.

  • §  South Carolina

Epic Church: Bluffton, Sc.

Aqua Viva Church: Bluffton, Sc.

  • §  Latino:

Columbia, Pa., Middletown, Pa., York, Pa.: Caleb and Christina Acosta

  • §  Liberian (affiliated):

New Beginning International Ministries: Oakland, Ca., Columbus, Oh.

Church of Christ: Bristol, Pa.


Book and Blog List
  • How to Multiply Your Church: The Most Effective Way to Grow God's Kingdom
    How to Multiply Your Church: The Most Effective Way to Grow God's Kingdom
    by Ralph Moore
  • Starting a New Church: The Church Planter's Guide to Success
    Starting a New Church: The Church Planter's Guide to Success
    by Ralph Moore
  • Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch
    Launch: Starting a New Church from Scratch
    by Nelson Searcy; Kerrick Thomas
  • Starting New Churches on Purpose
    Starting New Churches on Purpose
    by Ron Sylvia
  • Planting Fast-Growing Churches
    Planting Fast-Growing Churches
    by Stephen Gray


  • Church Planting Landmines
    Church Planting Landmines
    by Tom Nebel & Gary Rohrmayer
  • Church Planting from the Ground Up
    Church Planting from the Ground Up
    College Press Publishing Company
  • In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day
    In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day
    by Mark Batterson
  • Sticky Church [STICKY CHURCH]
    Sticky Church [STICKY CHURCH]
  • Spin-Off Churches: How One Church Successfully Plants Another
    Spin-Off Churches: How One Church Successfully Plants Another
    by Rodney Harrison, Tom Cheyney, Don Overstreet
  • Full Disclosure
    Full Disclosure
    by Stephen Gray and Barry Smith
  • Parent Church Landmines
    Parent Church Landmines
    by Ben Ingebretson and Tom Nebel
  • Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series)
    Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series)
    by Ed Stetzer, Warren Bird
  • Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity
    Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity
    by Mark Batterson
  • The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears
    The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears
    by Mark Batterson
  • It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It
    It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It
    by Craig Groeschel
Entries by the Month

Second day notes from CPLF: Today's topic: Urban church planting


Derwin Gray, former pro linebacker and star of "Evangelism Linebacker," talks about urban church planting at CPLF.

Derwin Gray: Transformation Church (former NFL player and the “evangelism linebacker”)

“A vision of the future transforms how you live today.”

  • ·         launched TC in 2010: 701 at first day; now 2500 with other campuses planned including Spain
  • ·         87% of our churches are homogenius
  • ·         if demographics indicate a large multi-ethnic population, it should not be optional in planting

Linda Bergquist: Southern Baptist planting director for Bay Area

  • ·         more poor people in the suburbs, than in the city
  • ·         more well educated people moving into the cities
  • ·         there are 9 socioeconomic sectors: can we minister to at least 3 of these?
  • ·         church planting leaders are future-oriented people . . . but we must know the past of cities
  • ·         people relate to each other through affinity, kinship, and geography

Notes from the day one CPLF meetings about African American church planting


Church Planters Leadership Fellowship is a gathering of church planting leaders from around the world, to talk, listen, pray, and learn how to be more effective in our church planting mission.  This conference's topic is African American and urban church planting.

CPLF Notes for 8/1/13

Carl Ellis:

All people have core concerns:  life defining: social, cultural, and personal

  • ·         sub dominant cultures (African American) aren’t having these core concerns met

differences in theology:

  • ·         Anglo: sign statements of faith
  • ·         AA: committed to more ethical concerns

all attempts to address these needs by AA community failed


Candace Lewis:

facts for AA church planting:

  • ·         average attendance = 37
    • o   doubled by 4th year
    • o   1st year faith commitments = 16
      • §  between years 4 and 5, new commitments takes its biggest drop
      • ·         their own building by 5th year
      • ·         contemporary worship style
      • ·         church planter working 60 hours a week for the plant, above their other job
        • o   69% had an outside job
        • o    
        • ·         formal education: 66% with a Bachelor’s; 45% with a Master’s
        • ·         48% had a sponsoring/mother church
        • ·         funding: first year: outside: $22k, inside: 33k

it takes a long time to become self sufficient: 50% by fifth year, 60% by tenth year



* major drop in attendance and money in year 4

* should do a major review in 3rd year!


Panel discussion: Stacy Hilliard, Candace Lewis, Leroy Fountain, Wy Plummer, Carl Lewis


  • ·         African American churches do not have a planting structure – nor are church planting

Affinity group Q&A: Ed, Carl, and Stacey

  • ·         need to be intentional about finding African American planters and leaders
  • ·         AA are the best at mentoring future leaders, but the worst at releasing them!

Olu Brown: Atlanta church planter: Impact Church

Impact Apps

  • ·         embrace the technology
  • ·         focus on ministry and mission
  • ·         make small group connections
  • ·         do worship differently with secular and sacred

Starting to awaken from my retreat: God is moving!

Still another 11 days to go on my spiritual retreat - but God has been moving in amazing ways.  Here's a glimpse of what I shared in our Planting E-News:

Also, here's a glimpse again at one of our new videos, that can be found here:


2020 Partnerships In Planting from Aaron Schwindt on Vimeo.

Back in a month after a spiritual retreat.

Leaving tomorrow for a 3-4 week spiritual retreat for physical, spiritual, and emotional replenishment.  Just as Jesus got away to a mountain, I'm heading for my own "quiet spot" of sorts:  Lauderdale by the Sea.  You can take the beach away from the boy, but you can't take the boy away from the beach.

Pray for my wife Tammy as she holds down the fort.

"This is the beginning of our cry to God: 'Lord, make me what I should be, change me whatever the cost.' And when we have said these dangerous words, we should be prepared for God to hear them." (Brennan Manning)

Is Love2020 the answer?

Going to Chicago tomorrow  to explore a new international initiative Love2020.  More than 85 denominations and organizations are seeing how this may fit into their strategic "Jesus plan.!  Here's more info:


Thanks Tom Nebel for this great opportunity to see more what God is doing around the world!

Top 10 reasons to stop planting churches in the ERC (wink, wink)

The Top 10 reasons to stop planting churches in the ERC:

  1. Too many new churches are requiring our focus, resources, and vision to be given to God’s Great Commission and Great Commandment: we’ve had to give from our resources like our Endowment Fund and a special bequeathing to provide for almost two dozen ERC modern-day missionaries/church planters, (and future ones), in order to reach today’s non-Christian culture throughout our region
  2. Too many community needs are being met: one church plant did free community dinners to benefit medical and educational needs in their community
  3. Too many lives are being improved internationally: one plant gave water filtration buckets to Africa
  4. Too many established churches are supporting church plants as an extension of their mission: churches giving vans, equipment, resources, and use of their buildings to these new churches
  5. Too many different ethnic churches are bringing diversity to the ERC: Latino ministries, African American plants, and Liberian church planters are joining our now multi-cultural ERC family
  6. Too many “God stories” are being told all the time: enough already on the ministering to the poor and hurting in Harrisburg, Zebulon, Manheim, Asheville, Mechanicsburg, Raleigh . . .
  7. Too many new leaders are being trained for ministry: more than 420 people from the ERC – from new and existing churches - have used planting and its leadership conferences, workshops, seminars, internships, retreats, and apprenticeships to help develop their ministry and leadership skills
  8. Too many new approaches and strategies are being modeled, shared, and used to reach more people for the Lord: one church plant uses community block parties – including the Game Truck – to invite people and kids to church – and then helps to teach new outreach principles to some of our established churches and pastors
  9. Too many financial resources are already being given back by these church plants: almost $40,000 in tithing received back by the ERC, just by churches planted in the last 3 years
  10. Too many funding dollars are producing too many churches: with planting all different sizes and types of churches, our goal of 20 churches by 2020 has been replaced by God providing us the opportunity to support 23 planting projects by 2013 -with our funding support per project averaging less than $20,000
  11.  Too many people are accepting Jesus: more than 220 at one of our church plants alone

Oops, that’s 11.  As you can tell, it’s time for the ERC to stop planting churches: too much . . . is too much.  Afterall, do we want to keep seeing more new ERC churches like the Orchard Asheville NC 

Great workshop on assimulating people to your church!



People Spots:      

 Completing Outreach through Incorporation


(Or: "How to reach people and help them "stick" to your church!")


            How can you reasonably expect that a visitor who attends this Sunday will be with you one year from now? How can you assist your congregation accept the changes necessary for growth? How important is the Sunday School in the total program? These and other questions will be addressed in this seminar.


            Many Christian leaders believer their churches fail to grow because they lack programs of outreach. The truth is: many congregations do effective outreach but fail to incorporate people brought by those efforts. Outreach is relatively easy. Incorporation is difficult.


            Most new classes or groups will not survive if the design is to recruit people from existing classes. They are being asked to abandon their current "people spot". Keep in mind, participation in a small group is the glue to hold members in the fellowship. New classes and groups ought to be designed for persons not attending.


            It is increasingly difficult for new people to fight their way into many existing churches. Members are surprised that a new person has to struggle to gain acceptance in their churches. The members say, "What's wrong with them? We are a friendly church." Incorporation is the completion of the evangelistic process. It means breaking down the walls we build between ourselves and others. If more than half of your people have been there for more than seven years, it is probably difficult for new people to gain entry to your fellowship. The theories in this seminar have been tempored by an average of 150 on-site visits to local churches a year over 30 years.  This is the 30th anniversary presentation  of People Spots. 


The Benefits:

  • A quality presentation of proven theories that have been tested in a variety of places.
  • An experienced seminar leader.
  • Time with other folks who have similar interests from a variety of traditions.
  • A light lunch on site to facilitate time.


APRIL 4, 2013

9:00 AM to 3:30 PM


Everyone Welcome! 




The cost will be $50.00 per person .


You may register by sending your check to:


 Eastern Regional Conference 900 S. Arlington Ave. Suite 120B,

 Harrisburg, PA 17109




The entire registration fee will be given to the give a legacy campaign to fund:

 Church Planting in the Eastern Region of the Churches of God.


Jim Moss is donating his time. 


A donor is funding lunch and handout costs.




Eberly's Mill Church of God.   is located at 115 Creek Road, Camp Hill, PA 17011

Questions?    Please contact the Eastern Regional Conference Office at (717) 652-0255 or

This email was sent to by |  
ERC Churches of God | 900 South Arlington | Suite 120B | Harrisburg | PA | 17109

4 Powerful words for ministry:

Lead Where You Are

Bill Hybels to Planters: "You've won the lottery!"

Great article on Bill Hybels' insights into church planting.

But here's the best for all of you church planters from Bill:


Question: Bill: To close, do you have a final word of advice or encouragement for church planters?

A: You’re one of the luckiest people on the planet—because the most important thing happening on earth is the establishment and building of local churches. God selected you to be able to form a community where this incredibly important work is going to be going on under your direction for perhaps the next 40 years. You won the lottery!

Enjoy it! Every day realize you don’t have to stand at a drill press. You don’t have to load and unload trucks. You get to traffic in kingdom ideas and work with great people who are pulling with you to try to form this Acts 2 dream of Christ’s church. You should fall on your knees and say, “God, what an incredible privilege to be invited by your Holy Spirit to play a key role in the most important thing happening on planet Earth.”

I tell pastors all the time that I’ve had a ball! We’ve taken our hits. There are bad days. But I’ve had an astonishingly blessed ride. And I think God would have that same heart toward every pastor. I think he wants every pastor to love His Word and love the adventure of His work. I don’t even know what it’s like to lay my head on the pillow and say that today was a waste. Every night, I feel like we moved the ball. We may have only moved it a foot, but we moved the kingdom ball ahead a little bit today. That’s good enough for me.

A high percentage of the human race hits the pillow at night feeling like their day was a waste. They didn’t move anything eternal ahead. They didn’t touch any lives. They didn’t do anything that’s going to outlive them. So my final word to church planters is this—you won the lottery! You get to lead the coolest endeavor on planet Earth, the only agency God said he was going to predictably bless and favor.

The Church . . . not A church!

Back after the Holidays - way too many cookies!

Here's a great video unveiling our "Hear the Call" planting initiative:

Merry Christmas . . . Immanuel, God with us!

CPLF day two: International church planting

International Church Planting:

Ying Kai and Bill Fudge: Hong Kong/Taiwan

Ying Kai has been responsible for thousands of church plantings - possibly the preeminent church planter in the world!

Known for T4T methodology (Training for Trainers)

 "T4T" Training for Trainers: (book)   find on - a discipleship training process that is winning millions to Jesus


SOS:  (for discipleship):

  • What does it say?
  • What am I to obey?
  • What should we share with others?


Church Planters Leadership Forum in Nashville: African American Church plants and international church planting


Back for our second CPLF meeting in 2012 in Nashville, which brings national church planting organizations together to learn, network, and do mission and church planting more effectively.

Here's day one notes, beginning with a statistical study from Lifeway on African American church planting:

CPLF: African American Church (AAC) Planting



  • ·         identify how AAC's are planted
  • ·         measure characteristics and methods related to higher attendance and conversions
  • ·         compare characteristics of health to Protestant church plants
  • ·         to identify distinctive, contextual characteristics of AAC plants


  • ·         290 AAC church plants completed survey
  • ·         typical size = 1st year to current (8 years): 37, 51, 64, 80, 88, 81, 91, 105
  • ·         characteristics that impact worship attendance: facility, worship style, influential models


  • §  Where AAC meet: Positive = hotel, church building of a sponsoring church, meeting in their own building within 5 years
  • §  (in order)
    • ·         shared building with another church
    • ·         business establishment
    • ·         home


    • ·         school
    • ·         hotel
    • ·         community hall
    • o   churches meeting in sponsoring churches had 20 % more growth


    • o   blended worship was most popular in AAC churches
      • §  blended
      • §  contemporary gospel
      • §  contemporary
      • §  urban contemporary


      • o   Models most influencing planting approach:
        • §  Seeker targeted
        • §  simple model
        • §  purpose-driven


        • o   which models influenced the approach used in planting:
          • §  ministry based
          • §  attractional
          • §  missional
          • §  programmatic model
          • §  relational
          • §  purpose-driven


          • o   Intentional outreach: Positive:
            • §  children’s special events
            • §  evangelistic visitation for identifying prospects


            • o   types of leadership:
              • §  delegation of key leadership roles to volunteers
                • ·         this is key to growth
  • §  leadership training for new church members
  • o   mission: planting a church within at least 3 years had a positive impact


  • o   ***study of all church plants found that churches that averaged 75 or more in attendance: the church that daughtered within 3 years had significantly higher attendance
  • o   ***better funded church plants had faster attendance growth, but not necessarily a greater number of plants that had greater longterm survivability: assessments and coaching are the keys to longterm survivability
  • o   ***Planting keys: to become self-supporting, self-propagating, and self-governing

Rebuild Initiative:

D'hati Lewis - Blueprint Church - urban church planter

 (wrongly) "We determine God's call by the path of least resistance!" 

  • launched in january 2010
  • 500 people now
  • presently planting 2 daughter churches - looking for 7 in 10 years around Atlanta, and more elsewhere

 "Visions are born in the soul of a man that wrestles with the tension between what is and what could be." - Andy Stanley

for multiplication: "every believer is a church planter, and every church a church planting church."

-80% of African American babies born into a single mom home.

-Rebuild Initiative is all about multiplication and partnering with other planting churches and multiplication movements
    -they provide theological training, leadership development, planting/missional training, and life on life skill building

Here's a great look at what they do:


Vault Conference notes

Vince Antonucci begins the first session of the Vault church planting conference with "The Question of Zero."  Referencing "Starting with Why" by Simon Senek.

We must start with "why" when it comes to communicating vision!

Vince started Verge Church in Las Vegas by recruiting all non-Christians to his launch team.  Why?  Because Verge had a vision to reach only non-Christians.  They average 250 people now.

 One way to build relationships with non-Christians: do-nut drop offs (pick a business and drop a dozen do-nuts off every week, at the same time!)


Day 2:



How to minister to the gay community with Gordon Wohlers:

Here's Vince and Gordon:

Don't say homosexual, just whatever they want to be called: gay, etc.

Stand up for who they are: we are all created to give glory to God!

We can learn how to be a better Christian community, by learning/observing the community emphasis of the gay community

Welcome gays to every aspect of the church - but that doesn't mean affirming

Gordon Wohlers: "being gay doesn't send you to Hell, anymore than being straight sends you to Heaven."

for Gordon the question of gay marriage: marriage goes back to the Garden of Eden - a holy rite - between a man and a woman - (he doesn't marry gays) - "However I will fight with every fabric of my being to defend their civil rights."

Las Vegas church planting conferences: Vault and Auxano

It's our second year out in Las Vegas for the Vault church planting conference.  We're starting off with a pre-conference session from Auxano and Will Mancini ("Church Unique") and Dave Saathoff.

Here's Will Mancini:

Mancini: "Clarity isn't everything, but it changes everything."

 -"we spend more time on preparing this week's message, then thinking about vision and strategy in the last five years."

 The Lower Room: Why do people call your church home? (in understanding how vision and strategy work)

  • Place: People will want to claim a place
  • Personality: 15-35% of people attend because of claiming a connection to the pastor or staff person
  • Programs: People will want to be tied to a program
  • People: People will want relational connections

These are all valid, and we recognize that people will come into your church's "lower room" through these "provisions." However we want to take them to the "upper room" that transcends this "lower room." (helping to bridge the lower and upper rooms: through vision and unique calling)

 A Game Changer: in your 101 class, ask people which one of these "provisions"/lower room values are most important to you?  Then connect them to the vision.

 David Saathoff:  the most effective way to build the bridge: LUNCH!  Find the 10 people who will buy into God's vision for the church, and be primary influencers, and build a relationship with them (through lunch, or whatever is most effective for you to build that relaionship, etc.)

Kingdom Concept:

Local Predicament: (our unique place)  What is unique in your setting/place where God has placed you?  Where has God placed you and why?

Collective Potential: (our unique people) What is unique about the people God has brought to your team to help you with the church?

Apostolic Esprit: (our unique passion) What is the unique passion God has given you and the team/church?


Clarity makes the vision undeniable

Clarity makes enthusiasm transferable

Clarity makes focus sustainable

Clarity makes leadership credible

Clarity makes synergy possible

Vision transfers through people, not paper


5 Questions for developing vision:

What are we doing as a church?

Why are we doing what we are doing?

How are we doing it?

When are we successful?

Where is God taking us?


 Missional mandate (What?): We must continue to remind people that our church exists for those who aren't here yet!

 Values as missional motives (Why?): Name 2-4 driving things - nonegotiables - the shared convictions that guides your vision and shapes your strengths.

 Strategy as missional maps (How?):   What "buckets" are you going to use to gather people?  Most churches have 3 buckets that are linear.  However, many times this doesn't work. But in today's culture, we don't get 3 buckets a week to gather people into - especially with lost people!  People don't go to church weekly anymore! 

Provocative thought: Can people become a disciple before being saved?  Dave had 3 people on his mission team get saved!

Here's Dave Saathoff:

Missional Measures as Marks (When?): Dave's church -  Bandera Road Community Church - marks: "7 How we lives"

-Listen to God

-Be the church

-Share a meal

-Peel the onion (discipleship)

-Downsize to maximize (financial)

-Keep your passport current (mission)

-Lean toward green (being good stewards)

Mancini: "We should want people to hear the vision, feel the values, take the next step, and then to become what God wants them to become."

Albert Einstein: "If the idea is not absurd, it is not worth trying."