Winfield Bevins

Director, Asbury Seminary Church Planting Initiative.
Living out the Great Commission Daily.

Ph.D., Southern Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C.

Winfield Bevins refers to himself as an accidental church planter. In fact, Winfield planned to be a professor, but God changed his direction with a phone call. A friend called and asked if he’d be interested in starting a church in Outer Banks, N.C. In faith and prayer, Winfield and his wife answered the call.

“This wasn’t part of my dream, but God planted me in the Outer Banks,” Winfield, Director of Asbury Seminary’s Church Planting Initiative, said. “Fifteen years ago I wanted to be a seminary professor, but through God’s providence I’m at a seminary, but as a practitioner instead of a professor.”

Winfield’s mission is to live out the Great Commission and to help others do likewise. He started the Church of the Outer Banks, N.C., with five people. In a few months, the church grew to several hundred and began meeting in a YMCA.

Winfield and his congregation explored new ways of expressing an age-old truth. They considered themselves a “fresh expression of an ancient faith.” The church took Christ’s command in Matthew 28:20 seriously, starting with local outreaches and then expanding to a global mission. These outreaches included adopting local beach accesses, sponsoring children, organizing surf camps, sending cows to Rwanda, opening an art gallery, sending Christmas shoeboxes and hosting a songwriter’s workshop.

The church experienced exponential growth.

Soon other church planters started coming to learn best practices from the Church of the Outer Banks. As a result of this interest, Winfield started a church planting network in North Carolina that ended up planting about 40 churches across the state. He is the co-founder of of two church planting networks, Mission Carolina and Kardia and has been responsible for dozens of new church planting networks.

But for Winfield, church planting isn’t just a movement. It’s discipling others and preparing, equipping and training them to do the same. A year ago, Winfield joined Asbury Seminary as the director of the Church Planting Initiative. Through his hands-on experience and relationships with students and global church planters, he seeks to train and equip others to live out God’s mission.

“We live in a truly global and multicultural world where we must be missionally minded and globally engaged Christians,” Winfield said. “As we look at the world around us, there is a tremendous need for learning from global church planting movements.”

During his time at the Seminary, Winfield has developed relationships with more than 50 church planting networks, including Fresh Expressions, Kardia Church Planting Initiative, the Anglican Church of North America, Methodist Partnerships, New Thing Network, the Wesleyan Church and others.

Winfield has found that when it comes to church planting one size does not fit all and has worked with the faculty to create both academic and non-academic methods of training church planters at Asbury Seminary.

“It will take all kinds of new churches to reach all types of people for Christ,” Winfield said. “The church is like a mosaic or tapestry that is made up of many colors. Each piece is a beautiful masterpiece.”

In addition to the master of arts, master of divinity, doctor of ministry and doctor of philosophy programs that focus on church planting at Asbury Seminary, Winfield has also helped to created the Church Planting Institute. This non-academic format provides training in three modules: Personal Calling, 21st Century Planting, and Growing Healthy New Churches.

He has written several books, including Our Common Prayer: A Field Guide to the Book of Common Prayer, Creed: Connect to the Essentials of Historic Christian Faith, and Grow: Reproducing Through Organic Discipleship. His latest book Plant: A Sower’s Guide to Church Planting, published with Seedbed, provides a practical guide for all levels of experience as it examines essential processes and strategies for starting a new church.

Plant is a basic primer on church planting—a church-planting 101 guide—which dispels widespread myths about church planting and sets forth a practical how-to guide for aspiring church planters,” Dr. Timothy Tennent, President of Asbury Seminary, said. “This book is not only a gracious invitation, it is also a church planting GPS, which will guide you to become part of the emerging church-planting movement sweeping the world. I heartily recommend it.”

In addition to being a church planter, Winfield is a coach, consultant, author, networker, Canon for Church Planting for the Anglican Diocese of the Carolinas and Adjunct Professor at Trinity School of Ministry.

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