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ANGLICAN 1000: ACNA Bishop Excited by Church growth prospects

ANGLICAN 1000: ACNA Bishop Excited by Church growth prospects

By Bishop John Guernsey in Dallas
March 10, 2012

Bishop Guernesy offers a personal recap of the 2012 Summit with his diocese, Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic. At the Summit he led a workshop on dealing with money in the church.

Dear Friends, At the launch of the Anglican Church in North America in June, 2009, Archbishop Robert Duncan issued a call for the planting of 1000 new churches in the next five years. It was a prophetic word from the Lord for our Church, calling us to place mission as our highest priority.

This week I am in Plano, Texas, along with more than two dozen others from our Diocese, for the third annual Anglican1000 Church Planting Summit. It is, to say the least, an exciting and stimulating place to be, with nearly 400 participants, many of whom are currently planting a church or preparing to plant. Archbishop Duncan, numerous bishops and senior rectors are here, but I'm so very encouraged by how many among us are young. The passion to proclaim the Gospel and establish new congregations is especially evident among younger Anglicans.

Over 220 new churches, perhaps as many as 250, have been planted so far-things are happening so fast that it's hard to keep track of them all. Whether we reach the full 1,000 in exactly five years is not the issue. We're about creating a church planting movement and to be here in Plano is to see that the momentum is building.

The Rev. Tim Keller, Presbyterian pastor, theologian, church planter and speaker at last year's Anglican1000 Summit, gives these reasons to be planting churches:

1. We want to be true to the Biblical mandate. We obey Jesus' call and we follow St. Paul's example as we go to plant churches. Mission strategist C. Peter Wagner says, "Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven."

2. We want to be true to the Great Commission. New churches are the best vehicle to reach new generations, new residents, new people groups and, especially, the unchurched.

3. We want continually to renew the whole Body of Christ. Keller writes, "It is a great mistake to think that we have to choose between church planting and church renewal. Strange as it may seem, the planting of new churches in a city is one of the very best ways to revitalize many older churches in the vicinity and renew the whole Body of Christ." New churches bring new ideas to the whole Church, raise up new leaders and cause established churches to reevaluate themselves and redefine their mission more evangelistically.

4. We want to stay focused on the Kingdom of God. The work of church planting by a mother church stirs excitement through new leaders and ministries and income, which, as Keller puts it, "washes back" into the mother church to strengthen it.

We are blessed to see a growing number of new churches being planted in our Diocese. Christ Church, Vienna, which began last fall, is thriving. GracePoint in Burke and All Nations DC are in pre-launch stages and others are in the works, as well. To God be the glory. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out more and more laborers into His harvest field (Matthew 9:38).

Faithfully yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. John A. M. Guernsey

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