The Mt. Bethel Project Update-No. 11

How to Start a Church Planting Movement – Creating Our Own Paths through Culture

Allan Hirsch says that secular people have a positive view of Jesus but a very negative view of the church.  These negative views of the church are part of the reason why efforts to create a church planting movement in the United States have been so difficult and largely unsuccessful.

To create a church planting movement we will have to create new paths through secular culture that differentiate our work from the traditional views of “church” that culture entertains.

For starters we will have to accept that secular culture owes us nothing. Even though I have been frustrated the last few weeks that it is almost impossible to find Christian Christmas music on the radio, to create a movement we have to accept the fact that culture owes us nothing, not even our preferred Sunday morning time slot in people’s schedules.

It is up to us to create new paths through secular culture for the Gospel and Gospel values.   We have to create paths which secular culture will respond to in positive ways.  We have to earn our right to be heard and earn our right to have a significant place in culture.  The day is past when we can say, “We are right therefore you should pay attention to us.”

A church planting movement has great potential to create new paths through culture and regain credibility for Christian Truth in secular culture.  If we would just live out church planting movement values and learn how to make persuasive arguments for these values, we can create new paths through secular culture.

The values of a Church Planting movement include such things as hospitality, encouragement, faith, faithfulness, generosity, living with a sense of call and offering care to needy people we do not know. These values compose a different view of believers and “church” than the one currently held by many secular people today.

Part of our challenge is to create these new paths through our culture and to distance ourselves from the negative views of the church and Christians that many secular people rightly or wrongly hold. Living out our values is the way we create these new paths.

Report on the “Share Your Story” meeting in Waverly, PA

Fifteen people gathered in Waverly, PA to share their stories about trying to begin a church multiplication movement.  We heard many stories of praying over a map, going into a new town, talking to people not previously known, and looking for a person of peace.

While not all the people who are working in the Mt. Bethel Project attended this meeting, the fifteen people who were at the meeting have visited at least six new towns in the past several weeks.  There have been several people identified who might be persons of peace and who are being followed up on.  A new group has already been established in one of these communities that we are praying will become a new church.

One of the purposes of the meeting was to learn what the questions are that we still need to answer to create a church multiplication movement.  Here is a summary of some of the issues that were discussed.

1. It is important to go into a new town two by two, as Jesus sent the disciples in Luke 10. We need others for courage to do what God has called us to do and to keep the commitment we made to go into new towns to look for a person of peace who can help us start a new group in that town.

2. We need better skills in knowing how to start a conversation with someone we don’t know.  Perhaps we can develop a repertoire of ways of talking with new people. We discussed several “door opening questions” to begin spiritual conversations with people. We also talked about whether or not we should introduce the fact that we are looking to start a new church early in the conversation, or whether we should use an alternate term for church.

3. Several people spoke of the next towns or regions that they felt God was telling them to visit.

4. We have possibilities for starting new groups in several of the new towns people have visited.  At least one of these towns has a new group that has been started, and several other towns will have new groups beginning in the next several weeks.

Mt. Bethel Project Introductory Training Available

On Saturday, January 12, 2013, there will be an all day training event held at Pottsville, Pennsylvania.  David Harvey will be teaching on the Person of Peace concept and on the seven values of a church planting movement. Anyone is invited to attend, but you must let Pastor Storm Hutchison know in advance so that he will know what size of room to secure.  This class will be part of the curriculum of the Pottsville church planting class that Storm leads, but he has graciously opened the training to anyone who would like to attend.  If you want to attend please contact Pastor Storm at

Moving from ideas to action – The “To Do” List

One of the key tools for starting a church multiplication movement is the “To Do” list.  As you may recall this is an essential component of Bruce Bennett’s system.  A “To Do” list is what turns an idea into an action.  Many of us have good intentions about what we want to do; a map that we want to pray over, new communities we want to go into, or a training class that we want to gather and start.  But these intentions will become just a thought we can ignore in a matter of three or four weeks if we don’t put them on our “To Do” list. If God has spoken to you about getting started in church multiplication and you have not done it then it is time to put some specific action on your “To Do” list and then put that task in your calendar to be done on a specific date. I am certain that there are people who God has spoken to about being involved in this work who have just not yet gotten started. Let me know if you would like assistance in getting started.

Be With Him…

Thomas Kelly on living out Christian values in the midst of secular culture:

“No average goodness will do, no measuring of our lives by our fellows, but only a relentless, inexorable divine standard. No relatives suffice; only absolutes satisfy the soul committed to holy obedience. Absolute honesty, absolute gentleness, absolute self-control, unwearied patience and thoughtfulness in the midst of raveling friction of home and office and school and shop. (p. 66)


The Mt. Bethel Project Update-No. 1

Sept. 21, 2012 Training Event Summary

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in our first training event.  We had 30 people attend the training. Nineteen people signed up to try and start a training for trainers group.

Thanks especially to Storm Hutchinson who taught the Xcelerate discipleship model. Remember that Xcelerate can be used as both a Field I and Field II strategy.   If you want to learn more about Xcelerate you can contact Storm who has plans to accommodate those who want to see Xcelerate in action. Dan Greider, who is a church multiplication coach (and Storm’s coach) and who has initiated Xcelerate will be the speaker at our Multiplication Training Event that will be held on March 2, 2013.

Special Thanks also to Larry Freed who taught the “Train and Multiply” system to us.  Train and Multiply is an alternative system to create a multiplication movement. The advantages of Train and Multiply is that its simplicity and the materials are available in 40+ languages.  You and learn more at  If you are interested in using Train and Multiply please let me know because the conference can purchase the copyright and then everyone is free to use it.

Your “To Do” List

The first item on the “To Do” list distributed at the seminar was that you would agree to, in the next month:

– produce a map with target communities for church planting (it should include target communities for first and second generation churches.)

– secure the necessary training materials

– review the first months lessons to be taught

– identify prayer partners for your work

– recruit 2-5 persons to train as church planters, with at least two of them being persons of peace that God has led you to; begin training them with “Mobilizing Members” (if you are using Bruce’s system) and teach Gospel strategies.

We are not sure if the one month timeline is correct, we need to collect data from each of you to discern that, but by this time you should be fairly well along in your first month’s “to do” list. Unfortunately we left the seminar without a good system for reporting your progress. That is something that we will have to correct. But for now please feel free to contact me or anyone else who is on our e-mail list if you are getting stuck.

Expect Spiritual Opposition

Some of you know that I spent last weekend in the hospital.  I have been getting increasingly ill as we have moved toward implementing this system. The night before the Sept. 21 seminar I was so ill I was not sure I was going to be able to do it. Last Friday my goal was to get this update written since it was just two weeks after our seminar.  As I went to get started writing this update my whole body and mind crashed. I became delirious.  Dawn took me to the Emergency Room where I was diagnosed with complete dehydration.  Since then I have been plagued with serious blood pressure spikes that are both dangerous and debilitating.  I have never taken blood pressure medication in my life. The doctor has put me on some medicine now to try and even out the spikes.  I say this to tell you to expect Satan’s attack. This week as I have been in battle with Satan I have come to have great joy from the simple juxtaposition of two phrases in the Lord’s prayer. I have enjoyed the fact that the phrase “but deliver us from evil” is immediately followed by “for thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” In those phrases is the source of every hope we have.

Going Forward

We have taken a step of faith into the unknown . We do not know exactly how to create this system in a way that it will work in our culture.  I have taken great comfort in Bruce’s words that “we may not have precedent, but we have God’s promises.” There is so much yet to figure out. As I mentioned above we need to develop a reporting system.  We need more avenues for encouragement. Storm has suggested that we create a “best practices” Facebook page where we can post what has worked and what hasn’t. Storm has also suggested geographical encouragement groups that would meet at least monthly.   The district leaders will meet this month and we will spend some time trying to create this missing part of our system. Until then please feel free to share with us what you need, because that will help us create a good system.

Remember also that we are also still praying that God will reveal the person who is to be the Champion.

Bruce’s material now available in Portuguese

Bruce has notified us that the training material has been translated into Portuguese.  Please let me know if you would like the link to that site.

Please feel free to respond to anything on this e-mail.  I believe you can just click “reply all”  and everybody will receive what you write.  This whole project is at a critical stage.  The information you can provide about your work is essential to our success.  Thanks to each one of you who seek to be obedient to God’s command in 2 Timothy 2:2 that we are to entrust what we have learned to reliable people who are able to teach others.  I am deeply thankful to God for each one of you, and for your willingness to take a great step of faith to advance Jesus Kingdom.

Be With Him

These will make war with the lamb and the lamb will overcome them; for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are Called, Chosen and Faithful.                                                                                             Rev. 17:14

The Mt. Bethel Project Update-No. 2

1. Have you been where the people are?

A vision for Kingdom advancement comes from being among the people.  Jesus saw the people “harassed and helpless” and “without a shepherd.”  No one can multiply the church unless they GO to where the people are and “see” them the way Jesus saw them.  ALL church planting only happens when we go where the people are and get a vision.

It is now one month since you decided to move forward and try to create church multiplication.  Please take a minute to identify the places where you have gone to “see” the people in the last month.  Remember that we go specifically looking for people whom we have not yet met but whom God wants to use to help plant a church in this community.

2.  Have you been alert for people you have met whom God has put favor in their heart for you?

When you go where the people are, this is what you are looking for—people whom God has prepared in advance and in whom he puts favor in their heart towards you that is evident when you meeting them. Identifying the people to start a church with is not based on your judgment; it is based on identifying the people who God has supernaturally put favor in their heart for you.

3. Have you been faithful to your call?

One month ago you said that you were called to this work.  It is the desire of Satan to distract you from this call.  If you have not gone to where the people are yet, please take a moment now to schedule a block of time next week to just go to a community you have targeted on your map, and give God an opportunity to work in supernatural ways in the people that you talk to in that community.

4. Be with Him

This week I re-read “The Captivating Presence” by Albert Edward Day.  This is one of a handful of books that I have read over and over for many years.  Day at one point describes part of his prayer life as “an hour in prayer in which I came, not to petition but to attend to a wisdom not my own.”  It is impossible to get to church multiplication unless we have a “wisdom not our own.”  We do not have the skills or the abilities to create a system of multiplication.  The success of our work depends on spending enough time to discover God’s wisdom and God’s direction for our work.  If you take time to find that wisdom you will succeed.

The Mt. Bethel Project Update-No. 3

Go to the communities Jesus want you to go to.

Jesus told us how to choose the communities in which to plant new churches. In Luke 10 Jesus sent out disciples to find the persons of peace who could assist in starting new churches. Luke explains the process this way:

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town where he was about to go.” Luke 10:1

Jesus has been working in communities before you get there. He is preparing the person of peace to be discovered by you and his Holy Spirit is already working in people’s hearts calling them to Jesus.  Everything is prepared and waiting for you to go to the places and the people in which Jesus is working.

You are surrounded by communities where Jesus wants to go.  As you pray and create your maps with communities targeted for first and second generation churches, you will discover that Jesus is sending you to every town that he has targeted.  Please take the time to go to these communities.

Build a prayer team

I was reading Matthew 17 this week in the NIV.  The translation of this chapter in the NIV is remarkable for what it leaves out.  It moves 17:21 to the footnotes. As you recall the disciples were unable to cast a demon out of a young boy.  In 17:21 Jesus says: “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” I have no intent on arguing the decisions of the NIV editors, but we can all affirm that there is in fact spiritual work to be done that can only be done through prayer and fasting. Finding persons of peace and planting new churches is work that moves beyond our skill levels.  It requires supernatural assistance.

It really is imperative that you gather a group of people around you who will intercede for the success of your church planting work.  I would suggest that you start with at least three people who you know that when they say they will pray for you, they will do it.  Then you can expand this team as God leads you.  Perhaps we can begin to share stories together of how we have put together a prayer team.

Plant new churches by obeying 2 Timothy 2:2

We will move into church multiplication when we accept that 2 Timothy 2:2 is a command that needs to be obeyed.  We are to entrust what we have learned to faithful people who are qualified to teach others.  I consistently hear stories about pastors who feel as if they have invested a lot of time and energy in people who were the wrong people.  While it is good they have invested in people, the biblical command is to invest in people who can teach others.  Training the right people to train others is the only way to get the church to multiplication.

Be with Him

Here are a few more words from A. E. Day about being with Him in a way that leads to obedience:

“Here is where so many lost the sense of the Presence. There come to them hints, suggestions, directions, even inspirations about new ways of thinking or feeling or about new relationships, or about their vocations.  Perhaps at first they are startled, are inclined to dismiss the whole matter and to keep on just as they have always.  Maybe they do give it a second thought, begin to feel it might not be so bad after all, may even develop a bit of enthusiasm over it.  There are even moments when they feel something good is about to happen. They may even make it a matter of prayer. They realize the Presence has been good to them and they really should be more responsive to Him.  It is almost like beginning a new conversation with Him.

But the dialogue does not get very far. Other interests intervene. Other persons get into the picture. The inner glow dies down. The sense of the Presence fades. Nothing happens. Nothing is done. They have not followed the gleam. They wander in the twilight of what now seems to be His absence but it is really only their absence from Him. Disobedience is the great deafener.”

Four weeks ago you heard His voice to plant churches.  Pray and work against the “great deafener” in your life.  Refuse to give into it.

The Mt. Bethel Project Update-No. 4

Bruce Bennett’s Report

I will attach Bruce’s latest report.  He is now reporting 1.76 million members and 21000 churches.  When he was at Reframe in June Bruce was using the numbers of 1 million members and 17,000 churches.  We pray that someday we will see these kinds of numbers in the U.S. Here is his accompanying e-mail.

Dear Friends,

Attached please find a copy of the OMS SA Board report for our church planting activities across Africa.

We celebrate God’s goodness toward our ministries – our registers now record 1,76 million members and 21000 new churches.

If you receive a copy of this report and do not desire to, please advise me by return email.


Bruce Bennett

Executive Director

One Mission Society (South Africa)

Reports from the field

We are starting to get reports of actual results from those who signed up at our training to try to implement Mt. Bethel multiplication.  Storm Hutchison has begun a church planters training group and listed below is the system he is working on to reproduce churches.  The intriguing part of Storm’s plan is that he sends people out to start a prayer group in a new community with the intent of turning that prayer group into a church.

Here are Storm’s thought about how this might work:

Mt. Bethel Thoughts

Once a church trainer/pastor is identified:
They start attending Xcellerate (discipleship) and Pastoral Training Classes

Start searching for the person of peace

Next Steps:
Start a prayer only meeting in the community where church is to be, not planning meeting – prayer meeting.  Goal: listen to God and take notes

Can be on Sunday morning but not necessary.  May continue to worship at originating church during prayer phase.

Mapping – begin to plan next congregations

Offering is collected at prayer meeting.  Monies given to The River Church to be held.  Those at prayer meeting may give their tithe toward the Church plant project.  All monies must be processed according to the new church start financial guidelines.  

Next Steps:
Purchase Bose speaker, smart phone, laptop and printer.

Learn how to manage technology

Within six months church starts Sunday morning worship.

Pastoral Training Classes / Xcellerate:
One night per week

Must also be leading a prayer group and attending prayer leader meetings

Only 4 unexcused absences a year

Help lead Sunday morning worship at The River Church unless meeting on Sunday morning.

Qualifiers are fruit and faithfulness

Join the Champion’s Prayer Team

As you know I am serving as the Champion of the Mt. Bethel project until God reveals the person he wants to be that leader.  At our District Leader meeting they asked that I begin to to create a prayer team for the this project and for my work.  I am asking for people who are willing to pray regularly and fast at least one meal a week for the project and for me.  If you can do that please respond and let me know that you will be a member of the prayer team.

Be With Him

The benefits of spending time with Jesus are too many to be listed.  But here are several of these benefits to which we need to pay attention.

1. It increasingly frees us from being a victim of other people, of circumstances, of our own fears, of our own bad behaviors.

2. It increasingly frees us to be the person God made us to be.

So go into your room, close the door (His instruction, not mine) and be with him.

For those of us who are interested in creating church multiplication, the effect of the freedom that comes from 1 and 2 above is that:

3. We increasingly know what to do next.

Bruce Bennett spent four years just being with Jesus to learn what to do.  Since those years 1.7 million people have been reached for Jesus.

The Mt. Bethel Project Update-No. 5


The Kingdom advances primarily through hospitality.  That is one of the key values for church multiplication. Bruce Bennett says that hospitality is the central message of the Bible.  Hospitality is not about inviting someone to our home for dinner, it is about the way we respond to people we don’t know. It is the love that God puts into our hearts for strangers.

Bruce says that there are three parts to hospitality:

Receptivity – a welcoming spirit towards foreigners and strangers

Respect – a spirit that reverences foreigners and strangers

A flow of loving generosity; generous in time, gifts, and kindness

One does not have to be rich to offer hospitality.  We just have to be able to look at people with the eyes of Jesus. That is how God intended the Gospel to move forward and the church to multiply.

Christians also need to learn how to receive hospitality.  The way we recognize the person of peace is that God has prepared their heart to offer us hospitality.  If we don’t accept it, we will miss the divine moment that God has prepared.

Report from the field

The Wilkes-Barre District led by Al Sones has a vision for expanding the church in the coal region of northeast Pennsylvania.  They have been talking as a district about what that would look like.  They have committed to each pastor creating a “to do” list at their monthly district meeting.  They have a weekly prayer meeting by conference phone call. Several of them have also been going into area towns and just talking to people they don’t know to see if God will reveal a person of peace.  Please pray that they will have fruit for their work and God will raise up many church planters in northeast Pennsylvania.

Prayer Team

A big “thank you” to all those of you who have responded and committed to be on the Mt. Bethel prayer team.  We are asking you to fast one meal a week to pray for our church multiplication work and pray for me as I “champion” this cause. Please e-mail me if God is calling you to be part of that team.

See it with my eyes

I have been telling God and Bruce for some time now that I want to see this church multiplication with my eyes. Bruce has invited me to go the Egypt to see this. I am considering going in March and meeting Bruce and Pastor Raif Azab in Egypt to see Bruce’s system in action.  Please pray that God will direct these plans.

Be with Him

God’s ultimate goal for your life:

“I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  John 14:3

The path we are to follow as we move toward the goal:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. If you love me you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of Truth”.  John 14: 12, 15-117.

The Mt. Bethel Project Update-No. 6

Develop Strategies for the Four Fields

Remember that creating a church planting movement requires that we have strategies for each of the four Fields:

For an Empty Field we need entrance strategies such as mapping, prayer, and planning

For a Seeded Field we need Gospel strategies such as finding the person of peace and ways to share our story and God’s story.

For a Growing Field we need discipleship strategies.

For a Harvest Field we need pastoral training and church planting strategies

When you are struggling to get multiplication started review whether or not you have strategies for all four fields and evaluate if your strategies are being implemented properly and if they are effective.

Reports from the field

I am going to try and summarize some of the things I know that are happening among those who attended the September training as we seek to implement a church planting movement.  If I missed what you have been doing, please contact me and let me know.

Clifton, NJ, Casa de Oracion – Camilo and Myllar – Have established a class for training church planters, have done some mapping, and have identified a person of peace in Jackpot, Nevada.

Walton, NY, New Hope – Larry and Jack – Have established a class for church planters with six people.  They are going through Bruce’s “Mobilizing Members.”  They have done mapping of nearby communities and have picked a community to start in.  They are going to go to the community and see if God identifies a person(s) of peace with which they can start a church.

Pottsville, Pa – Storm – Storm is beginning a church planter training group with at least five people.  Last Sunday during his worship service he talked about Bruce Bennett’s story and then gave an alter call asking people who think God may be calling them to plant a church to come forward.  Three people came forward and two others came to him after the service and said God was calling them also.  This church had just moved from being a church plant to becoming a Free Methodist Fellowship the week before. Storm has a vision to plant 100 churches in the Pottsville area.

Plymouth Meeting, Storehouse – JR – JR has had a pastor training group for several years, but has begun shifting the emphasis to send out people from this group to plant churches. JR has identified several persons who are getting ready to be sent out.

Wilkes- Barre District – Al Sones, Leader – The Wilkes Barre District pastors have been trying to implement parts of this system and to encourage pastors and learn how to get started.  They have mapped some new towns that they are considering working in and have sent people two by two to several of those towns to just meet new people. While they have had several meaningful ministry conversations with people, they have not yet identified a person of peace that would become a church planter.  They have literally gone to the “marketplace” by walking into a grocery store and finding people to have conversations with.  The district pastors have also begun to implement the “to do” list part of Bruce’s teachings.  This group has a vision for planting new churches across Northeastern Pennsylvania. At a recent meeting the district pastors have decided that their monthly meetings will now be focused on church multiplication.

Windsor, NY – Kevin – Kevin has spent time praying over a map and seeking God’s guidance about which community to go to next.  He has identified the community and has gone to that community seeking the people that God wants him to work with.  He is also working with the people in his churches to find ways to send them out into new communities.

If you have been doing work that is not on this list, please let me know.

I think the key is to just get started:  Map an area, go to the area, start a group, begin training the people in your group to pastor and plant.  It does not necessarily have to be in that order, but if you are not doing those four things, nothing will happen.

Gathering for Peer Learning

It is clear that a lot of us are in the experimentation stage of this work of multiplication.  We are trying to learn how to do this, and do it in a way that will “work” in our culture.  I think that one of the great assets that we have that we need to take advantage of is the experiences of each other.  I would like to propose a Sharing our Story Day in which we would listen to what each of us is doing and find what is and what is not working. I am thinking of doing this somewhere in northern Pennsylvania sometime in the second week of December.   In a few days I will send a link to you at which you can list your availability to meet the second week of December.  This event would be open to everybody interested in learning how to create a church based church planting movement.

Working on the Pastor Training Material

Bruce Bennett has graciously made available to us his six volume “Pastoral Training Course.”  The district leaders have hired Craig Hendrickson to examine the entire course and to adapt it for our use.  We want to produce it in a form that can be used as a course taught in a local church and also as a course that can be taught to larger groups as an internet class.  Pray for Craig as he begins this project.

Be with Him

We have all been mentored by different authors.  I have read Thomas Kelly’s, “A Testament of Devotion” my entire adult life (and have given away many copies of it.)  Here is an excerpt from Kelly:

“MeisterEckhart wrote: ‘There are plenty to follow our Lord half-way, but not the other half. They will give up possessions, friends and honors, but it touches them too closely to disown themselves.”  It is just this astonishing life which is willing to follow Him the other half, to disown itself, this life which intends complete obedience, without any reservations, that I would propose to you in all humility, in all seriousness. I mean this literally, utterly, completely, and I mean it for you and for me—commit your lives in unreserved obedience to Him. …When such a commitment comes in a human life, God breaks through, miracles are wrought, world-renewing divine forces are released, history changes. There is nothing more important now than to have the human race endowed with just such committed lives.”