Lee Stephenson remembers precisely where he was when he first heard it. On the first day of a graduate class he didn’t want to be in, these words from his instructor changed the trajectory of his life:
“The most effective way to reach people for Jesus is to start new churches.”
Today, Stephenson serves as Converge’s executive director of Church Planting. He personally has planted two churches, most recently Harvest Community Church in Orlando, Florida, where he is the lead pastor. Church planting changed Stephenson’s life, and, through vibrant new churches, it has done the same for many others.
Over the next five years, the Converge movement is trusting God for a season of significant expansion through church planting and multisiting. We want to start new churches together to see more people meet, know and follow Jesus.
During the past year, our district and national leaders have worked diligently to raise awareness and prepare our churches for this push. Through great effort, they have evaluated and improved our systems to ensure that in the areas of recruitment, assessment, coaching, training and funding we can handle such an endeavor.
Our goal is to give every person the opportunity to hear the gospel, say “yes” to Jesus, grow in faith, be equipped to serve and be sent out.
The church planting goals set by our movement are bold. They also are a significant component of the 10-year vision first communicated by Converge president Scott Ridout in 2016.
Over the past two years, Point has focused on one specific way individuals can take part in that vision: Each One Reach One. Our prayer is that each person would have the privilege to see someone in their circle of concern — a neighbor, coworker, relative, friend, classmate, etc. — come to Christ as a result of their efforts to cultivate a deeper relationship and plant seeds that lead to their faith decision.
To that end, we provided stories about individuals and churches who are reaching others with the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. And we offered tips on how you and your church can do the same.
Each One Start One
In the next several issues of Point, you will read plenty about another way you and your church can take part in Converge’s 10-year vision: Each One Start One. Join us as we pray each church will be used by God to start new congregations through church planting, multisiting, deploying planters and initiating residency programs. You’ll read inspiring stories of how God is working in and through his churches and people as they plant churches, reaching those who otherwise would be unreached. And you’ll learn how, like them, you and your church also can start churches and reach people for Jesus.
Of course, we’ll continue to cover international ministry, church strengthening and other topics. But we pray you’ll feel some of the excitement Lee Stephenson felt the day he first heard the words that changed his life.
Our goal is to give every person the opportunity to hear the gospel, say “yes” to Jesus, grow in faith, be equipped to serve and be sent out. We want every person to experience a life-changing, personal relationship with Jesus. Thank you for partnering with us as we start and strengthen churches together worldwide.
Mickey Seward, Director of Communications
Mickey Seward is Converge's director of communications and Point editor. He served in ministry positions as director of communications at Mobberly Baptist Church, a multisite church based in East Texas, and as national director of communications for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Prior to holding those positions, Mickey spent 15 years as a college sports information director.