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Seminary, GBNAM Announce Church Planting Partnership

Aug 16, 2005

Grace Seminary & GBNAM Announce Training Partnership
New program will launch church planters from call to conception in 18 months

Winona Lake, Indiana – August 17, 2005 — Grace Brethren North American Missions and Grace Theological Seminary announce a new coalition training program geared at creating a new church multiplication movement in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches.

In conjunction with its designer, Dr. Terry Hofecker of Northwest Chapel Grace Brethren Church in Dublin, Ohio, Dr. Jeff Gill, Dean of the Seminary and Dr. Tim Boal, CEO of the North American Mission Board are pleased to announce this new program beginning January 2006.

The new training program proposes to release 150 church-planters to North America by the end of 2010. A key distinction in the proposal is a major paradigm shift in making a distinction between the role of church-planter and pastor. This program hopes to open up a new commissioned ministry position of church-planter in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches.

In announcing this ministry, Boal, who also serves as President of the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers (AGBM), indicated that the new position might require the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches and the AGBM to reassess the various categories currently used to credential ministers.

Currently, only two categories, that of licensed and ordained, are recognized in the FGBC. However, with the creation of this new program, the AGBM will be asked to lead a discussion to create at least one and perhaps more categories for commissioning church planters and other Christian workers who do not intend to serve as elders or pastors in the churches.

“I have asked and received from the officers of the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers,” Boal stated, “agreements to hold a summit of our District Ministerial Board Chairmen and our National FGBC leaders for the purpose of exploring this expansion of categories. I am pleased that Dr. Jerry Young , present GBNAM Board member, former Chairmen of the Grace Schools Board and currently Director of Research and Development for the AGBM will head this summit.”

The new program, which is yet to be named, will include the use of an artificial intelligence to manage an on-line church planter assessment tool on the GBNAM website that will launch in September.

Following a series of questions posed by the attendant, the applicant for church planting will know immediately whether additional training and pursuit of church planting is encouraged.

A positive assessment will direct the candidate to Grace Seminary for the initial week-long module to be held in January in Winona Lake. Contact information on this program may be found at the GBNAM, AGBM and Grace Seminary websites.