Seth Udinski, FISM News
Last month, evangelical church planting network Acts 29 announced its new initiative to increase the amount of church plants this year. The network is reportedly offering a $50,000 grant to each recipient to help fund startup churches.
The money would be given in two separate payments of $25,000, one at the beginning of the startup and one later on.
Acts 29 has been one of the preeminent evangelical church networks for the last two decades, helping establish over 700 new churches in the United States and internationally.
Though not affiliated with any specific denomination, the network is heavily influenced by the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” movement among Gen X and millennial pastors, a movement which values historic Reformed theology, sound biblical preaching, and a rebirth of the model of ecclesiology demonstrated by the apostles in the first century.
The ministry was co-founded by Mark Driscoll, the controversial former senior pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, in 1998. Eight years ago, as Driscoll was in the midst a contentious power struggle that resulted in the close of Mars Hill in 2014, Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, took over as the network’s head.
Chandler spoke of this new initiative in an interview with Christianity Today:
We see an opportunity right now—with the new Pew data about declining rates of religious identification, with a generation lost, with I think 4,500 churches closing their doors every year—to really lean in to this moment of history and plant biblically serious, spiritually alive, vibrant and innovative families of faith. We have been building toward this for the last couple of years, and are now finally able to do it. We know you can give the wrong guy a million dollars and he’ll fail. You can give the right guy nothing but encouragement and he’ll succeed. We’re trying to find the right guy who has the right competencies and then assess him for a long-term run, and where he makes it through our process of assessment, then we want to give him $25,000 to start up with.
Chandler went on to renounce the kind of narcissism and patterns of abuse that has unfortunately been seen in some young pastors who allowed the power and excitement of a new church go to his head.
The goal with this initiative is to plant 30 new churches in the year 2022. According to The Christian Post, there are currently 500 churches looking to join the Acts 29 network.