Some 10 years ago Christ Community Church in Columbus, GA entered into a strategic partnership with a conference in Latin America to plant a church in the capital city. They contributed funding, prayer support – and Pastor Keith Cowart personally mentored the church planter. (Because of security issues we cannot publicly name the country.)
A church was established but after several years the church planter got into difficulty and had to leave. Nevertheless, Christ Community Church continued their support, a new pastor was appointed, and the church continued to thrive.
The new pastor, Simon, was saved out of a background of rock music. God not only redeemed him, but his music also. The church has a worship band that has become well known and through Christian rock they have reached many musicians – and music fans – for Christ.
Several years ago the conference officially adopted Community Church Planting (CCP) as their ministry model. Pastor Simon voiced his sense that CCP would not work in the city where people are more sophisticated and busy – and where people are afraid to open their homes because of a context of violence and fear. The superintendent told Pastor Simon that if he tried it and it didn’t work they could have a further conversation, but that he couldn’t say it wouldn’t work unless/until he tried it.
So Pastor Simon and his leadership team went back to the drawing board, studied the material, prayed and sought God’s direction for where they should go to find persons of peace. In less than two years since then they have started more than 35 house churches.
Other church plants in the central and western parts of the country have also started through Free Methodist contacts using CCP. At their recent Annual Conference a new Mission District was officially formed with this network of new churches in the capital and beyond. Pastor Simon was designated as the Mission District Leader.
Many of the leaders of the new district voiced their gratitude to God and to Christ Community Church in Columbus GA. All that we are seeing today is a direct result of their faithful prayers, guidance, and financial investment over a 10-year period. From a distance they not only mothered a new church, but a whole new district!
written by Paul Olver