Asbury Seminary Trains Global Church Planting Leaders
Asbury Seminary’s Church Planting Initiative partners with Disciple 21 Church Planting Network and Church of God in Christ to plant churches and train leaders around the world with church planting institutes, conferences, training modules and certificate programs.
“The Church Planting Initiative is so grateful for these relationships and the opportunity to work with these networks and denominations to train future leaders to reach others with the gospel message,” Dr. Winfield Bevins, Director of the Church Planting Initiative, said. “These church planting networks robustly reflect the diversity within the body of Christ as we disciple women and men, so that they in turn can disciple others.”
The Asbury Seminary Church Planting Institutes offer affordable, non-residential training so that participants can be equipped to learn while within the context of their ministry. The Institutes consist of five-modules that are offered in one-to-two-day intensive formats at a regional site and can usually be completed in one to two years. After completing the program, participants receive a non-academic certificate in Church Planting from Asbury Seminary.
Disciple 21 Church Planting Network
The Disciple 21 Church Planting Network, led by Global Executive Director Rev. Dr. Iosmar Alvarez, is a movement that focuses on planting disciple-making churches that reproduce and mobilize quickly. In 2017, Alvarez, Bevins, and four others met to cast vision for what was to become a growing church planting movement. The group met to pray, brainstorm, and strategize for three days in order to develop a Hispanic discipleship movement that would reach the world for Christ.
“In March 2017, we were invited to a vision meeting by Dr. Bevins to cast the vision for Disciple 21, and begin to strategize and network to recruit other like-minded, passionate spiritual leaders,” Alvarez said. “These leaders love the Lord and refuse to allow the decadence and the moral descent of the Twenty-First Century to prevent the Church of Christ from being relevant for our context. I have to confess that at the beginning, we just looked and felt like crazy people talking about climbing Mount Everest with no winter gear.”
However, three years later, the Disciple 21 Church Planting Network is active in seven nations and 28 cities, with 45 team leaders, and 307 house churches. One hundred students have graduated from the Asbury Seminary/Disciple 21 Institutes, with 30 students enrolled in the Latino Ministry Formation Program, a 60-credit diploma that is recognized by seminaries as a bachelor equivalent, thus opening a pathway to graduate school for the Latino community.
Church of God in Christ
In 2018, Asbury Seminary Church Planting offered a Church Planting Institute designed specifically for Church of God in Christ pastors, leaders and spouses. This Institute took place over three weekends around the topics of church planting, discipleship, marriage and family relationships, and church revitalization. These institutes graduated 66 people with full-completion certification in Kansas City, while Los Angeles graduated 36.
“Partnerships take time, but these relationships have resulted in genuine friendships that are moving us from conversation to collaboration,” Bevins. “We’re not just talking about something we should do, but we’re working together for the Kingdom of God.”
Institute graduates attended each of the four training weekends throughout 2018. Overall, more than 170 unique participants attended the Institutes.
“The Asbury Church Planting Institute provided us with training that was relevant and practical for our changing world,” Bishop John Mark Richardson, Sr., Prelate of the California New Journey Jurisdiction with the Church of God in Christ, said. “Each presenter was knowledgeable and shared strategies relevant to our ministry context. These strategies are now helping us have a greater ministry impact in our local communities. Attending the Institute has been a gamechanger for the hundreds of our pastors, church leaders, and lay leaders that attended the Institute. It changed our approach to how we minister in our diverse communities. What an incredible learning and training experience! If you are looking for affordable training that will train and equip you for ministry in the 21st century, this is it!”
To learn more about the Church Planting Initiative, visit churchplantinginitiative.com.