Mt. Bethel Project-Update No. 27

This issue of the Mt. Bethel Update will be devoted to the Superintendent’s David Harvey’s report to the District Leaders of Acts 12:24 Churches.  When the Mt. Bethel Project was set up, the district leaders were designated as the board of Mt. Bethel and David Harvey was designated the interim leader of the project. This report is a summary of what has been done through the Mt. Bethel project to date.

Mt. Bethel Project Report to the District Leaders
By Superintendent David Harvey
September, 2013

It has been about 14 months since the Mt Bethel project was authorized by the annual conference and oversight of the project delegated to the district leaders.  Here is a brief summary of what has been done in those fourteen months and a summary of where the project is currently, and suggestions for moving forward.

We began the project by spending several months trying to understand the Bruce Bennett system better.  We reviewed it at several district leaders meetings and had a couple of conference phone calls seeking to understand this better.

Several churches across the conference began to seek to implement some of the teachings they had learned at Reframe Conference.  Late in the Fall of 2013 representatives from about six or seven churches met together at Waverly, PA to compare notes about what things they were trying and how they were succeeding. Most efforts reported were classes in which Bruce’s material was being taught and/or people going into new communities looking for a person of peace.

The superintendent has been trying to put the church planting movement teachings in a format that is easily understood by people who hear these teachings.  I spent the entire three months of my sabbatical reading everything I could find on successful church planting movements (CPM’s).  I have done several seminars presenting the CPM system including one in Michigan which about 100 people attended, one at Passaic Spanish for the Spanish churches which about 65 people attended.  I have also met about four times with small groups, either in a local church or a combination of people from different churches to talk about the CPM system. Recently we had our first Strategy Coordinator Training seminar in which ten people participated.

In addition, I have been producing the Mt. Bethel Update which is distributed to about 200 people by email.

List of churches have participated in the Mt. Bethel project in some way

Here is a list of churches in our conference that have participated in the CPM work in some form or another.  I have probably missed some on this list:

–         Allentown First Spanish – Pastor Jose Garcia and lay leaders attended the recent Spanish training day at Passaic, NJ

–         Baltimore Spanish – Pastor Fernando Gonzalez attended Strategy Coordinator Training and is starting a church planter training class. Pastor Fernando has plans to teach this strategy to his other three church plants.

–         Bronx Spanish, El Remenente – Pastor Joel Guzman has translated the entire Bruce Bennett system into Spanish and has trained a class of twenty people.  A number of members of this class have gone into neighborhoods in the Bronx looking for a person of peace. Three new church plant groups have been started and are being led by lay members who went through his class.  Joel is also translating the Omega church planting course and the Bruce Bennett pastoral training course and using these to train his leaders. Pastor Joel has also attended the Strategy Coordinator training and has translated some of the T4T materials so that Spanish pastors can use them. Joel also planned and coordinated the Hispanic CPM training event at Passaic First Spanish in which about 65 people participated.

–         Brooklyn First – Assistant pastor Euline Jackson went through Strategy Coordinator Training and has started a group with five people she is training to plant a church.  Three of these class members are from Brooklyn and two are from New Jersey.

–         Buck Township – Pastor Joe Gandia has been to Wilkes-Barre looking for a person of peace.  Joe has identified a person and has now started a group in Wilkes-Barre.  The group is meeting weekly.

–         Clifton Crossroads – Pastor Willie Kirchhofer has started a new group in a community and is preparing a lay person to lead the group.  Pastor Willie is also working to start a group in New York City.

–         Clifton, Casa de Oracion – led by Pastor Camilo Mora and Myller Olivio, this church has started three new church planting groups in the past year and is training lay persons to pastor these groups.  Pastor Myller also attended Strategy Coordinator training and is new starting a new group to train to plant churches.

–         Fort Washington, Bethel – Pastor Dan Norheim attended Strategy Coordinator training and is starting a small group to train as church planters.

–         Layhill, Silver Springs, MD – Focusing on Bruce Bennett’s Mobilizing Members in the Fall both in preaching and creating groups to train people to create groups.

–         Mechanicsburg, Good News – Pastor Al Sones has committed to going out and finding persons of peace. Al has done this about five times and has taken other people with him each time to teach them how to do it. Al has identified several persons of peace through this work. Al is also teaching a course in his local church that is designed to produce church planters. Al is leading the Wilkes-Barre district in a church multiplication program.  See the information below under Wilkes-Barre District.

–         Nescopeck, Living Hope – Pastor Mike Maleski has attended Strategy Coordinator training and is starting a group for church planter training.   A lay person from Living Hope also attended Strategy Coordinator training. This lay person has started a new group in Shamokin, PA.

–         Orange Spanish – Pastor Efrain Reyes attended the Hispanic training event held at Passaic Spanish Church.  He videotaped the event and has begun showing the video to his church. He is preparing to teach a church planters class.

–         Outlet – Pastor Matt Riley has been involved in the new group in Wilkes- Barre started by Joe Gandia. Matt has worked to reach several unchurched families in Wilkes-Barre.

–         Passaic, First Spanish – This church hosted the Hispanic CPM training event.  Pastor Hector Fernandez has about 70 people in pastoral training and is trying to understand how to incorporate the CPM training as part of his pastoral training. He has invited Joel Guzman to come and teach his pastor’s training class in the principles of church multiplication.

–         Plymouth Meeting, Storehouse – Pastor JR Rushik has had a pastors training class for several years now and is seeking to incorporate the CPM teachings into this class.  He has several people ready to start a new church plant.

–         Pottsville, PA CPP – Led by pastor Storm Hutchison this new church has developed a church planting strategy that has identified the next four communities in which they will plant, and the person who will be leading this church plant. Pastor Storm has been teaching and preparing these four new pastors.  In addition they have identified eight communities they are targeting for second generation churches. It should be noted that one of the people in training to plant and pastor a new church is a person that was found by Pastor Storm and Al Sones going to a new community looking for a person of peace.

–         Wallenpaupack, PA – Pastor Ken Platt has identified a community in which he would like to start a new church and has done some preliminary work to identify a person of peace in that community.

–         Walton, NY, New Hope – Pastor Larry Light led a group of about 12 people through Bruce Bennett’s mobilizing members and they have gone out into nearby communities looking for persons of peace.  They are continuing in their training and plans for starting new groups in new communities.

–         Waverly Community, PA – Pastor James Cohen and Al Sones have spent some time in the city of Scranton, PA, looking for a person of peace.

–         White Haven, Mountainview – Pastor Brooke Selby has been to the nearby community of Weatherly to look for a person of peace.  He is working with a person who may be the person of peace.

Other groups/persons involved in Mt. Bethel

–         The Wilkes-Barre District has developed a multiplication plan for the 17 counties of northeastern Pennsylvania called “Focus 17”. Each church in the district has committed to being part of this multiplication plan. The district is providing training and encouragement for their member churches to plant in targeted communities. The district is sponsoring a church planting banquet on October 29, 2013 to raise awareness and increase vision for church planting.

–         Church Multiplication Teams monthly meeting.  This group arose out of the small cohort that met with Bruce Bennett at the last reframe meeting. The participants decided to get together monthly to report to each other on their progress and encourage each other.  At the last meeting there were about 15 people present. This Group includes pastors from the Wilkes-Barre District, Storm Hutchison and his church planters, and Larry Light and people from his church planting group.

–         Pastor Ronnie Hampton – Pastor Hampton has been through the Mt. Bethel training and is moving to Shreveport, LA to plant a new church and implement the CPM plan.

–         North Michigan Conference – Superintendent Harvey led a “Church Planting by the Numbers” seminar for about 100 people in the North Michigan Conference. Several people have gone to new communities looking for a person of peace.

Strategy Coordinators

I am increasingly convinced that one of the keys to starting this movement is to raise up a small group of people who have deep knowledge of how the system works, including the nine strategies and the behaviors we are trying to produce, and who also have the skills to train and oversee a group of people to go out and start their own group.

Our first strategy coordinator training had eight people. It was held over two days at Peach Orchard Retreat Center.  The training consisted of explaining the system, teaching the first five strategies, and then having each person practice leading a group.  During the training we were exposed to several different systems including “RAD” (Rapidly Advancing Discipleship) “T4T”, and “Discipleship Cycles,” in addition to Bruce Bennett’s “Mobilizing Members.”

At the end of the training each person shared their “to do” list for the next two weeks, and agreed to meet by conference phone call in two weeks to share how well they accomplished their “to do” list.

At the two week call, last Friday, six people joined the call. The results were as follows:

–         All six participants had either started a group or made arrangements and set dates to start a new group.  Among the six there are eight groups either started or have dates set to start.  The groups vary widely. One is a group for young men in their twenties.  Another is an adult Sunday School class.

–         Of the groups that have already started, they have all started at the correct point of training people to tell their story and then go out and tell God’s story.  We are praying in this current two weeks for conversions as these people go out.

–         One member of one group has already gathered two other people and started a second generation group.

–         One member of the group is working on developing a permanent “Christian Households” emphasis in his church that will carry over into the new groups that are being started.

I am considering doing another Strategy Coordinator Training at a different location, perhaps Camp Timberledge, and I also need to develop Strategy Coordinator Training II which will focus on Strategies 6-9 which enable groups to become healthy, multiplying churches.

What are the next steps for the Mt. Bethel Project?

In addition to the work being done by the groups and individual churches listed above, the larger strategy to start a CPM is becoming clearer with each step we take.  Listed below are some of the items that we have identified as important in the immediate future.

1. Strategy Coordinator Training and coaching (SC)

Every CPM functions with a core of leaders trained to train others to be trainers. These trained leaders are called Strategy Coordinators. The superintendent has done the first Strategy Coordinator Training. The goal of SC training is to produce a cadre of people who are trained to train others, and will commit to being accountable to train others.  We are teaching a system that has been widely used around the world to train people to train people who will train others.

At the end of SC training participants that are called to this work commit to gather a group of about five people and train them to train others. During the training the SC’s are exposed proven training systems and agree to remain accountable to the superintendent and each other to produce new groups and train participants to train others.

The goal is to continually produce new Strategy Coordinators to move the system forward.

2. Creating a system of coaching and encouragement

We will build a support system of coaching and encouragement for strategy coordinators and local church pastors and leaders involved in the work of church multiplication. At the beginning this work will be done by the superintendent (who has studied the system more than anyone else in our system) but over time we will be looking to identify and train coaches.

3. Getting to multi-generational church plants

To get to second, third, and fourth generation churches.  Bruce Bennett believes that you have achieved multiplication when your system is producing fourth generation churches. Getting to second, third, and fourth generation churches will be the singular measure of success of the Mt. Bethel project.

4. Curriculum Development

Since the goal of a CPM is to create thousands of churches, the means of training pastors becomes a critical part of the success of a movement.  Bruce Bennett trains pastors for forty months.  We need to develop our system of training that will provide many skilled pastors that will enable us have a successful CPM.

5. Budgeting

CPM’s believe that the resources are in the harvest.  The Mt. Bethel Project does not want to fund the planting of churches that arise out of its work. However, training and oversight will cost some money.  We will get to a point in the near future where we will know the amount of funding it will take to get this project up and running in an efficient manner.

There are also several longer term goals that we are considering for creating a movement with long term health in the United States. Here are some of those items:

1. Fourth generation churches – This is the benchmark that we are seeking that will show that we have moved beyond addition and are reaching our goal of multiplication.

2. Regional Critical mass strategy – Movements always require critical mass to become a movement.  It is possible that we should focus our efforts on one, two, or perhaps three geographical areas and seek critical mass in that area before we move on to other regions.

3. Christian Households – If there is one thing that I believe is restricting a church planting movement in the United States I would say that it is the nature of family life.  Sociologists agree that something radically changed in family life in the 1960’s.  Mary Eberstadt, in her book, “How the West Really Lost God” makes the case that the secularization of the United States that began in the 1960’s was caused by the decline of the family. According to Eberstadt the decline of the family was not caused by the decline of the church, but rather the decline of the church was caused by the decline of the family.  Since the original church planting movement in the bible included both the home and the temple (Acts 20:20), and since the home is to be the primary place of creating reproducible disciples of Jesus, a focus on creating Christian households is essential to creating a church planting movement in the West.

4. Significant use of media/media strategy – A church planting movement requires acceptance and implementation of a specific set of values, including, hospitality, encouragement, faith, and faithfulness. For a movement to succeed these values have to become known and accepted in culture, at least among those we seek to reach. Today, values are transmitted broadly through media.  There is a gaping hole in media today; these values are barely represented if at all.  Even Christian media rarely promotes these values, and when it does, it does so in a way that appeals primarily to evangelical Christians and in a manner which can be quite off-putting to non-believer. We can create media that will gain credibility in culture for these values and this will assist a church planting movement. It is a need that is waiting for someone to come along and fill it.

Critical prayer needs at this moment in the process

1.     First Conversions

2.   Second Generation groups

Conclusion

We are in a moment when persistence is required, we have had some success but the future is not yet clear to us. In these moments we must remember the words of Bruce Bennett that, “we may not have precedent, but we have promises.” We are trusting the promises of God as we move forward and seek to develop these fledging efforts into a church planting movement.

 

 

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Mt. Bethel Project Update-No. 26

How to Start a Church Planting Movement – The value of “meet and report”

“Encouragement is the ‘oil’ of the church.” This is one of Bruce Bennett’s favorite sayings.  Without oil in an engine the friction produces heat and the heat will destroy the engine.  Like oil keeps an engine functioning, encouragement keeps the church functioning.

Starting a church planting movement requires creating reproducible systems of encouragement.  The question of “how do we encourage the people we are training” is one that every trainer has to consider.  Church planting movements are built on changing the behaviors of believers through the nine strategies. Behaviors are changed through training and encouragement.

Encouragement happens both through face to face encouragement, but also through the weekly “meet and report” time that happens during the training meeting. During this time of the training meeting members of the training group report on the activities they have done during the past week to meet the goals they agreed to in the previous meeting.  Those who have met their goals are appreciated and encouraged to keep going. Those who have not met their goals are appreciated and encouraged to do better. For example, if someone agrees to share their story and God’s story five times during the week, and at the report time during the next training week they report that they have only shared twice, then the goal of the trainer is to express appreciation for the good work they have done in sharing twice, and then encourage them to complete the next week’s assignment.

“Meet and Report” is a powerful factor in shaping behavior of believers. If there is no “meet and report” time in the training session, trainees will quickly lose motivation to do the things that God is calling them to do, such as sharing their story and God’s story, or gathering their own group to train and disciple.  This is a form of the old adage that “what get’s measured get’s done.”  Just knowing that we are going to have to meet and report on our work toward our weekly goals is a great source of encouragement to keep meeting those goals.

Strategy Coordinator Training

Eight people gathered at Peach orchard Retreat Center in August for the Mt. Bethel Project’s first Strategy Coordinator Training.  The training consisted of three phases: a brief overview of the entire church planting system, an introduction to four different methods of short-term discipleship plans/plans to equip persons to share their faith and gather their own group, and opportunity to practice leading the actual lessons each trainer will be teaching their group.

Strategy Coordinators play an important role in church planting movements.  Strategy Coordinators are persons who understand the reproducible strategies necessary to have a movement and know how to train others in those strategies.  The goal of training is always to produce reproducible behaviors in believers that they can pass on to the next generation of believers and churches.

Our Strategy Coordinator training happened over two days during which the participants selected the system of training they will use with the groups they are starting. The participants also agreed to start their own group and train that group to share their faith, gather a group, disciple that group and train their group to train a second generation group.

In addition to starting a group, the trainers in the group agreed to participate in a conference call every two weeks to “meet and report” on their progress.

I want to thank each person that attended and also thank them for their obedience to God’s call on their life to participate in the work of church multiplication.

Strategy Coordinator Training North

The first Strategy Coordinator Training was a beneficial time for those who participated. We are considering doing this training a second time but in an area that would reach more people in the northern part of our conference.  We are looking for eight to nine people who would be interested in attending this training. If you have interest in being part of this training please contact me at dharveymar@aol.com.

Joel Guzman Teaches CPM Principles to 75 Hispanic leaders from two churches

Joel Guzman, who was one of the attendees at Strategy Coordinator training mentioned above, recently taught seventy-five Hispanic leaders the principles of starting a church planting movement.  Present at this training were sixty-five small group leaders from Passaic First Spanish Church, pastored by Hector Fernandez, as well as ten leaders from Pastor Estaban Lora’s churches in Patterson, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York.

Pastor Hector is seeking to learn how some of his small groups can become church plants.  With sixty-five small groups in many communities across northern New Jersey, pastor Hector has a vision to plant many Spanish churches. We want to continue to pray for Joel as he teaches these principles and coaches these pastors in the principles of church multiplication, and for the churches that God is calling to plant other churches.

Be with Him…

First conversions and second generation groups

As you pray this week, pray especially for the first conversions to come out of the Mt. Bethel Project, and for second generation groups to emerge.  There are about 125 involved in the Mt. Bethel Project in some way, but we have not yet had a large number of conversions.  Please pray that God will bring to us the first large wave of conversions that will lead to the emergence of many second generation groups.

Mt. Bethel Project Update-No. 25

How to Start a Church Planting Movement:
It’s simpler than you think

“Discipleship Cycles” is a short paper that summarizes the entire church planting movement in 39 pages.  It is the best short summary and short training document available.  It is available to read free on the internet at http://www.scribd.com/doc/88649548/Discipleship-Cycles-T4T-Training-Material , but it is behind a pay wall if you wish to download it.

“Discipleship Cycles” really describes one person’s implementation of T4T.  One interesting aspect of the paper is that it talks about creating an ethos among the people you train. It is important that as part of our training program we create a mindset that promotes and enables implementation of our plans.

Among the T4T church planting movements there is a distinctive ethos. This ethos has been used to guide their work and to give good reasons why this work of church planting should move forward.

This ethos takes away the great barrier to church planting that exists in a lot of people’s minds that it is too complicated for them to attempt. Encourage your people that if God has called them he will enable them to complete their task with the simple system that tens of thousands of people have already used to plant a church.

The CPM Training Ethos

1. Church planting is not rocket science (anyone can and should do it)

2. It is a great thing to love someone to Jesus;

     It is a greater joy to start a new church;

     It is the greatest joy to teach someone else how to start a new church

3. Just do it

Follow-Up Story: Finding a Person of Peace – Al and Storm go to Boiling Springs, PA (from Update No. 13
“Finding a Person of Peace is process, not necessarily an event.”

During Reframe Conference we had a small cohort group that met with Bruce Bennett for more directed training.  One of the things that Bruce Bennett stressed is that finding a person of peace is often a process, involving several trips over a period of weeks or months into a community.

In Mt. Bethel Update No. 13 we had the story of Al and Storm going to Boiling Springs, PA to identify a person of peace.  Below is the story of Al’s follow-up visit to their contact in Boiling Springs.

It’s also a fascinating experience to pray for my oikos with the belief that God is raising up many people from this household of faith to go into the harvest field (Focus 17/Mt. Bethel Project). (Note: Focus 17 is the Wilkes-Barre District’s initiative to plant churches in 17 counties in Northeastern PA.) I have this conviction that God is calling every one of these 234 to the Harvest – and Jesus specifically said to pray that the Lord of the Harvest will send workers into the Harvest.

To take this hike, I drive to the small town where Storm and I went on our Luke 10 Day. As I was coming back down the mountain, I realized that it was time to follow-up with the man that Storm and I met on our Luke 10 Day.

I went into his store. It was a very different dynamic from our Luke 10 Day – when the store had no-one else come in for the entire time we were there. The place was teeming with activity – many customers were there the entire time I was there today. This meant that I had only 10 interrupted minutes of conversation with the man we identified as a person of peace.

Since I wasn’t sure he would remember me, when I walked up to him, I told him who I was. He remembered me as I introduced myself to him. He was somewhat reserved, but very friendly. He smiled a big smile when he realized that I had been one of the two men who visited him some months ago.

I again told him that I had a strong sense that the call of God is on his life. He was warm and conversational for just about a four minute time period of the 10 minutes that we talked, before he had to deal with other customer’s walk up questions.

He said that he just finished watching the “Left Behind” movies again. He said that he reads his Bible every day, which, he said, “Makes me nervous.” He explained that he reads different parts of the Bible which say to not do certain things and thinks, “I’ve done that.” He gets nervous because he believes he’s in trouble with God. He was chuckling (ruefully). I told him that he needs to get to the part about forgiveness, and he looked at me and nodded as he needed to walk away from me to deal with another issues.

He also mentioned that he was aware that the Messianic Jewish convention (which attracts about 3000 people) is at Messiah College this week. I told him that God is at work among the Jewish people – convincing them that Jesus is the Messiah. He said, “Well, those are the people who have something to say about God.”

The conversation ended abruptly. He fully turned his attention to the next customer who walked up – without even acknowledging me as I said good bye. Now I don’t know if he has a hearing deficit, or if there was something else going on in his complete turn-away. I felt unsettled and disappointed by it.

Now, I’ve reflected more today on what it means to have a Person of Peace invite you into his/her house. Clearly this man is a man with spiritual interest. But he has not invited me to anything more in his life at this point. When we first visited him he told me to expect that he might show up in church some day. He has not. He also gave me his e-mail address that first day, but did not acknowledge the two e-mails I sent to him shortly after our first visit.

I find myself inclined to just go about my work in Boiling Springs, being sure that I cross paths with him whenever I can. I will take the teen group fishing in the lake right next to Rowland’s store – stopping in to the store while there.

I also know that the daughter of the man of peace we found in Port Carbon knows this man from Boiling Spring. I don’t know what to make of that connection – happenstance? Divine conspiracy?  Her father describes this woman as having been turned off to church by a past bad experience. I’ve met her. She presents in a forceful, opinionated way and makes sure that it’s clear that she has other stuff on her mind. That might be her defense mechanism. But when I talked with her and about the man from Boiling Spring, she lit up with a big smile.

Christian Households Strategy Development:
Wanted… People whom God is calling to develop strategies for Christian Households

I am often asked the question of why is there no church planting movement in the West when these movements are thriving in the southern hemisphere and in Asia. My answer to that question is that in both the Scriptures and in our generation, church planting movements thrive where there are healthy households.  In the bible these households were described by the Greek word “Oikos.”

One of the goals of the Mt. Bethel Project is to develop a Christian Households movement alongside of our church planting movement. We are seeking to develop a simple set of strategies that will enable discipleship to be done primarily in the home in a way that is reproducible from one generation to another. We want children to grow up in Christian households and to reproduce that Christian household for their children.

I am looking to gather a group of people who are called to help develop Christian household strategies.  We will meet together both in person and by video conference to develop a simple set of strategies we can easily teach to parents. If you are interested in participating in this please contact David Harvey at dharveymar@aol.com.

Be with Him…

“So justice is driven back, and righteousness stands at a distance; truth has stumbled in the streets….The Lord…was appalled that there was no to intercede.”  Is. 59:1

Mt. Bethel Project Update-No. 24

How to Start a Church Planting Movement:
Knowing the three things that have to reproduce across multiple generations

A church planting movement is marked by one primary characteristic—multiplication.  If one church plants five new churches, it is still only accomplishing addition.  There can be no spontaneous church planting movement when we are just adding new churches.  But if a church plants a second generation church that starts a third generation church that starts a fourth generation church, then multiplication has been activated.

2 Timothy 2:2 commands multiplication to the fourth generation. Paul taught Timothy who was to teach reliable men who would teach others.  We know we are reproducing in biblical way when we see fourth generation disciples and churches.

Everything living multiplies as each generation produces succeeding generations. “Be fruitful and multiply” was God’s first command to people.  To have a church planting movement in the United States we need to produce multiplication in several areas:  disciples must produce new disciples, churches must produce new churches, and Christian households must produce new Christian households.

The key to multiplication in each of these areas is simple, reproducible, and effective strategies.  These strategies are always geared to produce behavior in believers that will lead to multi-generational multiplication.

Pray that God will help you to be part of biblical multiplication and allow you to see fourth generation disciples, churches and Christian households.

Reports From the Field…

Church Planter Training Event at Passaic Spanish

On Saturday, August 13 about 65 people gathered at Passaic Spanish Church for teaching on starting a church planting movement.  The day consisted of presentations by several speakers. David Harvey presented a summary of the Mt. Bethel Church planting system that we have learned from Bruce Bennett.  Then Josh Fajardo, missionary to Spain, who is implementing the Bruce Bennett system in Spain talked about using this system among Hispanic people. Finally two people from Joel Guzman’s church planting class who have started new groups in new communities presented the work that they have been doing.  We were blessed to hear these two lay people speak with passion about the ministry of church planting that God has called them to, and to hear amazing stories of what God is doing in these new churches.

We believe that God is raising up many church planters among the Spanish churches. God is blessing their emphasis on training and turning that training into a desire to plant new churches. Many lay people have been through some type of training for ministry and are now asking how they can use that to start new groups.  Pray that new churches will be planted as a result of this day of training.

Thanks to Joel Guzman for translating and to the Passaic church for supplying lunch.

Church Planter Training bears fruit at El Remenete in Bronx, NY

As mentioned above, Pastor Joel Guzman has been teaching a church planter class with about 20 people attending regularly at El Remenete Church in Bronx, NY.  Joel translated Bruce Bennett’s entire “Church Planting Manual” into Spanish and taught that to his group.  Now Pastor Joel is taking them through the five volumes of the Omega Church Planter materials. But not only is he training people; these classes are bearing fruit. Three new churches have already been planted out of these classes and several more new groups are in the early formation stages.   These materials, including Bruce Bennett’s Manual and the Omega Church Planting Course are free and can be downloaded at www.Reframeconference.com.

Church Planter Cohort continues to meet

During Reframe Conference a small cohort of interested pastors and lay people met with Bruce Bennett during meal times for some individualized coaching.  This group agreed to continue to meet once a quarter for sharing and encouragement.  On Thursday, August 1, 2013 this group of about sixteen people gathered at Camp Timberledge.  Each person shared what they had been doing since Reframe conference to start new churches.  There were reports of several new groups that have been started since Reframe, reports on training happening in several churches and identification of future church planters and the communities to which these planters will be going to start new churches. Several maps were presented with the communities targeted for new churches clearly marked. There was also good discussion and cross-fertilization of ideas and strategies that are being used by different persons. The group also talked about the purpose of this cohort gathering and agreed to continue meeting once a quarter for sharing, encouragement, and accountability. The group included pastors and lay people from the Wilkes-Barre District in Pennsylvania, from Storm Hutchison’s work in the Schyulkill County region of Pennsylvania, and from Pastor Larry Light’s church in Walton, NY.

Be With Him…

This quote is from “Discipleship Cycles,” a summary of a Church Planting Movement (CPM) by someone using the T4T system.  This quote contains “No.1” on a list of eight requirements for a CPM to be successful.

“At first glance, John’s Training for Trainers (T4T) is deceptively simple. He offers no radical insights or unusual theological principles. However, if you fail to catch the hidden elements within John’s Church Planting Movement dynamite you’ll never grasp why it is so effective. Here are a few of the hidden elements that you must not miss if you want to pursue this very user-friendly methodology:

1. John is serious when he says two hours a day in prayer are necessary to be an effective navigator of Church Planting Movements.”

Or, in the words of Abraham Lincoln…

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Mt. Bethel Project Update-No. 22

How to Start a Church Planting Movement – Strategy Coordinator Training – August 19-21, 2013 – Peach Orchard Christian Retreat Center, Burtonsville, MD

Church planting movements (CPM’s) happen through the work of the Holy Spirit and are guided by Strategy Coordinators (SC’s). Strategy Coordinators understand that CPM’s happen through producing multiplying behaviors in the lives of believers.  SC’s are trained in the strategies that produce these behaviors and know how to train their workers to train others in these behaviors. A complete list of these behaviors can be seen in Mt. Bethel Update No. 19 at www.mtbethelproject.com.

On August 19 -21, 2013 at Peach Orchard Retreat Center, the Mt. Bethel project will have its first Strategy Coordinator training event. The event will begin at 8:30 Monday morning and end at noon on Wednesday.  There will be a brief overview of the entire system as it is taught by Bruce Bennett, and then there will be training in at least the first five strategies.

The requirements for attending are 1) Agreement to start a group of three to five people who you will not only train in these strategies, but train them to train others. It will be a goal to have at least two people in your group of 3-5 who have been discovered by your work of looking for a person of peace; 2)  Agree to complete a short pre-training reading list; and 3) Agree to enter fully into the training experience.

If you are interested and have not yet signed up please contact David Harvey at Dharveymar@aol.com.

Travels with Bruce Bennett

I was honored to travel with Bruce Bennett around New York State for three days after Reframe Conference.  Bruce met with a number of groups that were seeking his advice on expanding Kingdom work in Africa.  The first group we met with was from a church near Binghamton, NY, which is sponsoring work in Senegal.  They were asking Bruce for advice on how to make their investment in Senegal more effective for the Kingdom.  We then met in East Aurora, NY with a several United Methodists from New York and Indiana who have begun to work with Bruce in Uganda.  They currently have about eight churches planted in Uganda.  It was inspiring to be in this meeting as they spread out a map on the table and laid plans to expand the church planting work throughout Uganda and eight neighboring countries.  As I sat in these meetings my faith grew that the same God who was expanding the church in Africa wants to expand his work in the United States.

Wilkes-Barre District Starts its’ Second New Group

The Wilkes-Barre District has started a new group in the city of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.  The group is led by Pastor Joe Gandia, assisted by Pastor Matt Riley.  The group is growing and is already reaching new people.  This is the Wilkes-Barre District’s second new group they have started.  The first group continues to meet in Shamokin, PA.  In addition to these two new groups, the Wilkes-Barre District continues to support the Centro de Esperanza church plant in Hazleton, PA.  The Wilkes-Barre District is led by Pastor Al Sones.

Follow-up from Tom Doherty in Cadillac, Michigan

I did go back to Cadillac two more times.  The last two times I have been alone.  The first time I went down near a park and sat on a bench reading my bible and praying.  Here is what changed in me.  I went back to see if anyone would show up.  As I went to Cadillac I talked with the Lord about how I was feeling.

I was going to Cadillac on that day because I was being obedient to what I thought God was telling me to do.  It wasn’t because I had a feeling that there was going to be a large group of people there who I would be ministering too. I was at peace with that.  When I got there I prayed for the time I would be spending there.

When I got to my park bench and sat down I began to read Luke 10 again.  I saw some new things; at least they were new for me.  I also could hear the conversation of several teens that were nearby.  What happened in those few minutes surprised and blessed me.  As I read the companion scripture Matthew 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” I too was filled with compassion for the teens that were near me and the town as a whole.  I had been changed from someone who came because of an idea, because God told me to go, to someone who had a heart full of compassion and now a drive.  Now I think about the church plant in Cadillac all the time.

God corrected and clarified something in me in addition to this.  I always understood that the person of peace would be a non-Christian. The scripture doesn’t say that.  It says go to the towns and go to a home.  The homes may have been a home where Jewish people who already believed in God lived.

Why does this matter?  It helped me think in a larger context.  Since this revelation, I have gone back to Cadillac and placed an ad in the News paper reaching out to persons of peace.  We will see what God brings of this.  I am now open to working with people who already know Christ and have in their heart to be a part of this.

Be with Him…

How multiplication happens:  “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.”   Isaiah 44:3

Mt. Bethel Project Update-No. 21

Reframe Conference

Our second Reframe Conference has come and gone.  It was a great time of being in God’s presence and learning from him through his servant Bruce Bennett.  Bruce helped us to see hospitality in a new way, pushed us to keep seeking persons of peace as the foundational way to start new churches, and taught us his Membership Mobilization system.

Bruce’s system has produced 9000 new churches and 1.3 million new believers in the past twelve months.  In conversation with Bruce I realized that this system has reached many more people than the 1.3 million people that he talks about.  He said to me that they have added 1.3 million new members but they have reached many more people in their churches that that.  The 1.3 million number includes only those who have joined his churches.

Bruce told us that most of those 1.3 million new members have come through his Member Mobilization program.  This is an eight week program that assists people in your congregation to gather their own group that can become a church plant. This material is available on the Reframe website, including the power point presentation that Bruce uses to teach Member Mobilization.

Bruce also met with a small cohort of persons who wanted personal coaching in creating their own plan for multiplication.  This was a group of about 12 people who met with Bruce early in the morning and through the lunch break.

We were honored to hear from Bruce again.  The purpose of Reframe Conference is to give God an opportunity to reframe our vision and thinking so that he can use us for rapid Kingdom expansion through creating a church planting movement among us. We have much to learn from Bruce about this.

I also got to spend the three days after conference driving Bruce around New York State so that he could meet with potential ministry partners. This was a great opportunity for me to spend time with Bruce and to serve him. I am thankful to God for that opportunity.

Strategy Coordinator Training

What is the next step for Acts 12:24 Churches in producing a church planting movement (CPM)?  The next step is to train several Strategy Coordinators (SC) in the strategies it takes to produce a CPM and to identify the resulting behaviors that we need to produce in believers.

Strategy Coordinator training will take place August 19 – 21, 2013 at the Peach Orchard Retreat Center in Burtonsville, MD. The expectation for each person in the training is that after the training they will form their own class of 2-5 people and coach them through starting their own church by teaching how to implement the nine strategies.  At least two of the people in your class should be people that you have identified through a person of peace strategy.

If you are interested, please contact David Harvey at Dharveymar@aol.com.

Family Discipleship

Christian households are a necessary part of the CPM in the US. I made this case in my presentation at Reframe Conference.  Godly households are the place where we learn the values that make a CPM possible such as faith, faithfulness, encouragement and hospitality.  Godly households precede the church and even the nation of Israel.  They are God’s primary plan enabling us to live out his holiness on earth.  We will develop this further in future editions of this update. Here are some places to go to begin to understand this concept:

The book I referred to at Reframe is: “The Spontaneous Spread of Home-Discipleship Christianity,” by Henry Reyenga. The theme of the book is how parents can disciple their children into a daily reproducible walk with God. The book is available on Amazon.

Here are a few quick links from a search on “family discipleship:”

http://www.familydiscipleshipjournal.com/index.html
http://familydiscipleshipchallenge.com/
https://familydiscipleshippath.wordpress.com/
http://heartofthematteronline.com/precept-family-discipleship-plan/

Be with Him

I came home from Reframe with a deep sense that God is doing something significant among those who have a passion for Rapid Kingdom Expansion in the U.S.  But I also came home with a sense of the necessity of being prepared for opposition in the spiritual realm.  The Bible says that we have to put on the full armor of God so that we can take our stand against the devil’s schemes (Eph. 5:11).  I am certain that as we get closer to a breakthrough that will enable us to see Rapid Kingdom Expansion the devil is in fact scheming against us.  When the day of evil comes, we will need to be prepared to stand our ground.

The suggestion of the Scripture is that we need to be prepared in advance for spiritual attack, not wait until it happens. I want to encourage everyone to spend more time in prayer; taking time to pray for one hour and to be involved in prayer groups through the Acts 12:24 prayer initiative.  If you want to discuss doing a regular prayer conference call you can contact Al Sones at AlSones@aol.com.  Al has been doing this for several years with the pastors of the Wilkes-Barre district.

Mt. Bethel Project Update-No. 20

How to Start a Church Planting Movement:
Know the Difference between Teaching and Training

We have all known people who have sat in Bible Studies their entire life, but whose behavior never changes. These people are often very Godly and sincere people but who are ineffective in using their gifts to advance the Kingdom.  They are the product of teaching without training.

Ying Kai, The leader of the T4T church planting movement in China was a pastor and church planter who wondered why the Kingdom wasn’t multiplying faster.  He realized one day that he needed to stop simply teaching and begin training people for specific behaviors. Then, he later realized that to have a movement he needed to train many people to be trainers of these behaviors. Thus the T4T movement was born which stands for “Training for Trainers.”  Training trainers is the key to reaching tens of thousands of people for Jesus.

Here is a brief summary of the difference between teaching and training.

Teaching – Usually done in a classroom setting where the goal is for the student to master some set of knowledge.  Good teachers pay close attention to how well they communicate the bit of knowledge they want the student to have. To measure the effectiveness of our teaching we test the student to see if he or she has retained what we have taught.

Training – The goal is not to produce knowledge in participants, but to produce behaviors. To produce a specific behavior we have to:

– Clearly explain the desired behavior

– Provide time in the training to practice the desired behavior

– Acquire agreement from the student to practice that behavior in the next week

– Provide a time for reporting back by the student on how well they did in their attempts at the behavior

– Include encouragement to keep moving forward with the behavior and not give up.

The last Update included a chart that explained the nine behaviors we have to produce in believers to have a church planting movement. Not every believer has to have all nine of the behaviors, but to have a multiplication movement all nine must be present within the group God is using to multiply the Kingdom.

We need to pray specifically that God will call and gift people to train workers for Jesus.

Reports from the Field:
Looking for a Person of Peace in Cadillac, MI.

Submitted by Tom Doherty

Wednesday May 1st we went to Cadillac.  I had been praying and asking God about where to go.  Nothing seemed to be coming to me.  I had a map and I knew the town, I spent half of my growing up years there.  So I started typing into the map things like “Micki”, “Bethany”, “Doherty”, and finally “Mason” the name of my grandson who was going with us.  There was two small pieces of Mason Street that showed up on the map.

We now had a place to start.  We drove over near Mason Street and saw the “First Congregational” Church.  We parked in their lot and I went to talk with the pastor.  He said that he just got off the phone with a pastor who was doing a ministry for single mom’s in Travers City and was thinking about doing one in Cadillac.  This was an encouragement to one of the people in our party who had been sensing God calling her to be a part of putting a school together for unwed pregnant teens.  It also gave us a chance to pray with the pastor about this ministry opportunity.  I have continued to pray for this request.

We then began to walk up and down streets near Mason Street praying for families, burned out homes and the people associated with them, and workers who we saw. We then we turned on to Mason Street.  We immediately saw a man working in his yard.  As we came close he greeted us.  We talked with him for a few minutes and told him what we were doing.  We asked if he had any prayer requests.  He said he was a pretty religious guy and didn’t think that he needed any prayer.  We talked for a few more minutes and I said well we just thought we would see if you had any prayer needs.  As we started to go he stopped us and said, “Well I don’t have a job right now.”  So we stopped and prayed about that.  I gave him a business card and we left.

We connected with a few more people down at the lake and at an ice cream place and went home.  That night at prayer meeting we told the story and someone from our church knew of a company who was hiring near Cadillac and gave me the information.

On Saturday we were supposed to go back.  I had a time set in my mind, but things didn’t come together so we couldn’t leave in time to get there when I thought we should.  The Lord did put me at ease before we left by saying to me, “You’re right on time.”

So we took one person in our group down to the lake where she thought she was supposed to be and my wife and I went back to Mason Street.

We parked in the same church parking lot and walked over to “Paul” from Mason Street’s home.  He was standing in his door as if he was waiting for us.  I told him about the job and he said that he knew the owner and would check out the job.  We spent about 10 minutes or so talking and left there with a positive connection.

We gave him an information sheet about a meeting we would be having down at the lake on May 13th at 6PM.  We gave out a few more of these and tonight I will be going down for the next chapter of the journey.

I’ll let you know what happens.  My hope is that the person of peace or a connection to the person of peace will show up.

Building a CPM Strategy in Clifton, NJ

Submitted by Willie Kirchhofer

We are working the mapping and prayer system. We have 4 areas now that I am praying for: Englewood; Villas; North East Bronx; and Battery Park City.

A group has started in Englewood NJ. We have been meeting for 2 months Saturdays at 4pm. There is a core of 5 other than my wife and I. We have had up to 14 at the meeting. I lead the group at present. Two weeks ago one man came to Christ in the meeting. He and a woman in the group will start the training this Saturday before the group meeting. The host of the group will be training them (this is one of the second generation groups I mentioned – He, the host is in one of my long term training groups). The man who came to Christ actually lives in the Bronx and I have already mentioned to him that he can train people in the Bronx – he is very open and is I believe a person of peace. Interestingly everyone who has come to the group is from the Dominican Republic. They are English/Spanish speaking middle class unchurched or Catholic background people.

I was greatly impacted by the T4T principle. I rebuilt our entire discipleship process according to the principles in the book. We still call it the Masters Mile but it is not the same material. We have 9 beginning lessons and then a long term discipleship through the book of Ephesians that takes 12 weeks. After that I will meet probably bi-weekly with those who have groups or are training others.

Right now there are 4 trainers other than myself. There are 3 second generation groups going right now. Two of the groups are people who go to Crossroads but one group is people who do not attend Crossroads. A 4th was supposed to start this past Saturday with 4 people outside of Crossroads but did not come together. We had one 2nd generation group outside the church that stopped and did not progress. No third generation yet. I am mindful of the 25% figure of people who will actually be trainers and realize that the key is to train a lot of people in order to get to multiplication. The number trained so far is insufficient to get to multiple generations. Ying Kai trained hundreds – I have probably trained 15 so far. At present I have 2 groups I am training and trying to start a third. The key is train many people.

Be With Him…

“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.”   Isaiah 58:11