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How To Plant A Healthy Church
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How To Plant A Healthy Church

Author: Multiply Vineyard

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Planting churches is all about participating with what God is already doing. He is at work in every neighborhood and community around us. We want to help you learn to see what God is doing and expand your imagination for how you might partner with him. Join us for conversations with church planters, pastors, and leaders on discernment, preparation, and innovation.
51 Episodes
In this season of quarantine and subsequent lockdown, we’ve discussed many tools and tactics. As we re-emerge into this new season post-lockdown churches and church planters are faced with even more new issues. This conversation with Amos and Alison Groenendyk is helpful in a number of ways. Their inspirational origin story as church planters in Michigan begins our conversation followed by their journey with the Chester Springs Vineyard taking over the church from the founding pastor. They done many creative things vitally connected to the mission of their church in this season of COVID-19 but there are many more things to be gleaned from their story,   
Following her recent interview with Adam Russell on The Ferment Podcast, Dr. Elizabeth Pierre stops by to chat with our co-hosts Michael Gatlin and Liz Moore about the necessity of taking care of ourselves through the trauma the whole world is facing in the era of COVID-19. This is particularly important for pastors and others in careers focused on helping others.    This is an important and very helpful conversation!
On this episode, return guest Jared Boyd provides a counter-intuitive posture for those seeking spiritual formation in a time of global pandemic. Knowing how and what to fight against begins only when we can move from thinking we are in isolation to embracing solitude.   This is very personal look into what God has been doing at Jared’s life as well as his local church, Franklinton Abbey, a contemplative faith community in a low-income neighborhood of Columbus, OH in this season. 
Pacific City Church was planted in 2018 by Chris Meekins and his team in Santa Monica, CA. In this episode Michael and co-host Liz Moore (also a church planter in Princeton, NJ) talk through the issues facing church planters in the era of COVID-19. Chris and his team have tackled these new challenges with lots of creativity. This episode is a look back at the last couple months as well as a look forward into the future of the church and church planting post-quarantine.
Vineyard of Harvest Church is a multi-generational, multi-lingual, and multi-cultural church in southeastern Los Angeles County in Southern California. Pastor Dennis Liu has recently transitioned into a co-lead pastor role with the founding pastor (and Dennis’s father-in-law) Kenneth Kwan. Vineyard of Harvest is an amazing church community on many fronts but in this season of COVID-19 they have faced an additional set of challenges. One of these challenges deals specifically with the anti-Asian racism that has come to the forefront in this time.    There is a lot to glean from this challenging episode!!
On this practical episode, Michael Gatlin and our co-host Liz Moore talk with Dave Runyon, co-author of “The Art of Neighboring”, an initiative that mobilizes churches toward building relationships with the people who live the closest to them. This episode is particularly relevant in this new landscape created by the COVID-19 pandemic.    So much helpful information in this episode!
The Elm City Vineyard in New Haven, CT is an urban, multi-ethnic, church that bridges across the socio-economic strata. This is a “behind-the-scenes” look at the early days of the planting of ECV. Baked in to their early DNA was the idea of ECV being a church community modeled after a teaching hospital where both failure was acceptable as a teaching tool and raising up new generations of leaders was the norm. This is an inspiring and very accessible conversation for everyone in the trenches of church planting or considering a plant.    Producer’s note: This interview was recorded before the COIVD-19 quarantine.
It’s been said that all ministry comes out of relationship. First between us and God and then between us and those around us. It is these relationships that help to form and shape us into who God has called us to be. The churches that we plant are also an extension of our personal relational health. Our host Michael Gatlin and licensed family counselor and lead pastor Kurt Attaway explore this helpful topic on today’s episode.    Producer’s note: This interview was recorded before the COIVD-19 quarantine. 
This is a fun episode! Last fall, our host Michael Gatlin was invited to speak at the annual White Out National Youth Conference in Colorado. This is a long standing and powerful event every February that draws youth together from the Mountain West and beyond. At first, Michael was reluctant to take the invitation but then he wondered what it would be like to invite a group of five high school students along with him to teach and minster together. What happened next is found in this inspiring episode.    For now, meet Noah, Mason, Mercy, Abby, and Anika along with Michael and Clint Considine, the Student Ministries Pastor at Duluth Vineyard.   You’re going to enjoy this episode!
In this time where churches are moving their services online en masse , Vineyard Fullerton took another approach using the video conferencing platform Zoom to not only handle their small group meetings but actually run their entire weekend service. Their innovative approach is described in detail by Melisa Keller, Event Director for Vineyard Worship and member of Vineyard Fullerton’s leadership team. Melisa has years of experience with the Zoom platform which enabled Vineyard Fullerton’s rapid adoption of this innovative approach to online church.  Lots to learn here for churches of all sizes and shapes!
Vineyard Columbus is a church with 8,000 people in attendance on a normal Sunday. Like the rest of us, with the restrictions brought on by COVID-19, Vineyard Columbus quickly pivoted from a church that only met physically to launching their online ministry platform in a matter of days. This is a look behind the scenes at what they have learned in this short time and a look at where they are heading next.  Another very relevant and helpful episode in this challenging time!   Andrew's bio: Andrew is the Lane Avenue Campus and Online Pastor for Vineyard Columbus in Westerville, Ohio. Andrew took a roundabout way to God. Growing up with a renowned Biblical scholar for a father, he grew up skeptical of the church. He met his wife Ginny at Columbus College of Art and Design and they both graduated with degrees in Fine Arts. Five years into their marriage, they both had powerful encounters with the peace, joy and purpose available through a relationship with Jesus. While developing a professional career in sales and non-profit management, Andrew completed the Vineyard Leadership Institute and led Hear the Cry, a non-profit organization responding to the AIDS crisis in Africa. He currently serves on the board of Riverview International Center, which focuses on empowering our international neighbors by providing opportunities to access services, resources, and education. After many years of lay leadership at Vineyard, Andrew launched Vineyard Columbus – Lane Avenue in 2011 as its pastor. He is finishing a Master’s of Divinity at Asbury Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He and Ginny live in Clintonville with their three children. Andrew is passionate about good coffee, ice cream, vegetarian cooking, building things, and riding his scooter.
DO NOT MISS THIS EPISODE!!   This week’s guest is John Willison. John is the senior pastor of Abundant Grace International Fellowship in Shanghai, China. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Abundant Grace International Fellowship has been innovating out of necessity taking their entire church life online from Sunday worship experience to small groups to daily devotionals to kids’ ministry. There is so much practical wisdom from their experience over the past nine weeks.    John’s bio: Born into a family of devoted church-goers, I’ve been active in Christ’s church all my life.  I’ve spent years in Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Anglican churches. Carol and I met at Northwestern University where I graduated in engineering. Yet, during this time, I learned my real passion is helping people follow Jesus. Mentored by a local pastor, I learned “normal” Christianity includes both orthodox theology and genuine spiritual experience. Carol & I graduated and married.   We both attended Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where I received Master of Divinity in 1988. A year later I was asked onto pastoral staff at our church in Evanston, Illinois. Our family grew to 5 children. Carol and I assumed our pattern of she being a schoolteacher and I a pastor.   As our children were approaching high school age Carol and I moved our family to Kenya. Why? We wanted our children to experience the world and Kingdom of God outside of the United States.  This shift opened my heart to larger picture of what God is doing in the world.  Over the years I had, for better and for worse, become focused on our particular denomination. Our first year in Africa restored my focus to the Kingdom of God as a whole. While in Kenya we connected with a group of families in Uganda who were forming Kampala International Church. Our values were aligned, and I accepted the call to be the team leader for the fledgling Kampala church. I was the first staff leader for this group. Together we articulated our vision and was able to focus what was a bit chaotic. Over the next 11 years we grew from a “one-projector” church of 70 people to a group of 700 spread across 3 congregations.   I enjoy building environments for people to flourish. I value scriptural theology and authentic spirituality. I am happiest when focusing on spiritual leadership, building healthy disciples and a healthy church culture. My wife and I have also grown immensely in appreciating the multiple cultures of this world. I have learned to enjoy the varying ways of communication – what people say, how they say it, what they don’t say; family dynamics; ways of resolving conflict, and the myriad other ways people build culture.  Much of it is very beautiful, most of it makes sense in context, and all of it must be brought into the Kingdom for our Father to sift, prune, redeem and bless. After 12 years in East Africa, our children grown, it was time to leave. As we prefer the international culture we did not return to USA. Carol accepted a post as a teacher at Concordia International School Shanghai. Currently I assist within the international congregations but hope to return soon to full-time work building the church.
This is the final edition of the special three part series taken from the 2020 Multiply Vineyard Summit held in San Luis Obispo, CA. On this episode, we have Ralph Moore, founder of the Hope Chapel movement and current Church Multiplication Catalyzer at Since it’s beginning, Hope Chapel has planted over 2300 churches wordwide. In today’s episode, Ralph reminds us of the primary role Discipleship plays in our church planting efforts.   "Jesus had Peter, James, and John and so should we. We should spend more time making disciples out of our staff rather than making programs out of our people."   This is a good word from a church planting veteran!
Today on the podcast we have Alan Scott, lead pastor of Vineyard Anaheim in Orange County, CA. This is a fascinating conversation chronicling Alan’s journey from the beginning of his ministry in Glasgow, Scotland through the planting of the Causeway Coast Vineyard in Northern Ireland to today where Alan and his wife Kathryn are helping to breathe new life into Vineyard Anaheim, the historic birthplace of the Vineyard movement.  Alan shares so many stories from his years of ministry mobilizing congregations toward city impact and transformation. In Alan's words "Bringing Life To The City".  This is a powerful and inspiring conversation you don't want to miss! Alan Scott is the lead pastor of the Vineyard Anaheim in Anaheim, CA.  He was the founding pastor of the Causeway Coast Vineyard Church in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, which has grown through scattered servants who bring life to the city.  The church has planted several other churches and is the originator and catalyst for the Healing on the Streets movement.  Alan is a visionary leader, gifted communicator, and a prophetic voice who seeks to bring together biblical principals and supernatural power in a way that supplies the destiny of ordinary people.  His passion involves raising up trusted rulers who are kingdom carriers that change the culture.  Alan is also the author of the book Scattered Servants.  He lives in Anaheim with his wife, Kathryn, and his two girls where he enjoys thinking and dreaming of ways to lead the church beyond the building.
This is part two of the special three part series taken from the 2020 Multiply Vineyard Summit held in San Luis Obispo, CA. In this episode Dr. Charles Montgomery challenges us with a powerful word out of Numbers 13 to face our “giants" and renew our trust in God.    “A faith that can’t be tested is a faith that can’t be trusted.”    This is an inspiring and challenging episode speaking encouragement and vision for 2020 and beyond!  Dr. Charles A. Montgomery, Jr is the East Campus Pastor of the Vineyard Columbus. Prior to this position he served as Rich Nathan’s research assistant for 2 years.  Before that, he was licensed and ordained by the National Baptist Church, U.S.A. and has faithfully served on church staffs in California, Georgia, and Ohio.  He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Morehouse College, a Master of Divinity from Emory University, and a Ph.D. from Union Institute and University, with an emphasis in Ethical and Creative Leadership.  He is an Affiliated Professor at Ohio Christian University and has been married to his lovely wife, Kimberly, since 2003. 
This week we have a very candid and detailed look into the heart and life of a church planter from the initial dreaming and vision stage through to the actual planting. Suhail recounts the many internal leading he felt from the Lord and then also recounts the ways those leadings and dreams were externally confirmed - very much like the process of pregnancy leading to the brith of a new baby.    This is a very encouraging conversation for anyone discerning a call to church plant!    Suhail Stephen is from India, grew up as a missionary kid, and has lived in seven countries. He and his wife, Jennifer, have a beautiful daughter named Anaya and they live in Winnipeg, Manitoba.He did his undergraduate studies in English Literature and Philosophy at Wheaton College and completed his masters in Community Leadership and Philanthropy Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received his training in spiritual direction in Sustainable Faith’s School of Spiritual Direction. In addition to being a spiritual director and teaching in the School of Spiritual Direction, he is also the founder and director of (as well as a teacher in) Sustainable Faith’s School of Mercy and Justice. He has been part of the Vineyard since 2001 and currently serves as a National Catalyst for Vineyard Canada. Previously, he pastored at Winnipeg Centre Vineyard, and served as a worship leader at both Trinity Vineyard Christian Fellowship in St. Charles, Illinois and at Kowloon City Vineyard in Hong Kong. Suhail loves film, music, reading, writing, travel, and football (FC Barcelona!). You can follow him at
This is part one of the special three part series taken from the 2020 Multiply Vineyard Summit held in San Luis Obispo, CA. In this episode frequent podcast guest Renée Cunningham challenges us to become churches and pastors who love to grow other pastors.  This is an inspiring and very practical episode! Renée Cunningham is pastor of the Neighborhood Campus of the Evanston Vineyard in Chicago, Illinois.  Renee planted the Neighborhood in 2014 out of a desire to worship alongside her neighbors.  Prior to church planting, Renee worked in elementary education and served with her husband as pastors at La Vina Las Condes in Santiago, Chile.  She holds an M.A. in Christian Spiritual Formation from North Park Theological Seminary and lives in Chicago with her husband Bruce and their three young children.  
This episode features a fascinating conversation with Old Testament scholar Dr. Brittany Kim. Dr. Kim and our host Michael Gatlin provide helpful insight into wrestling with many of the challenging portions of the Old Testament giving us tools as we wrestle with the more challenging parts of the Bible. The Old Testament has much to teach us and not just in allegory or metaphor.    Don’t miss this episode!!    Dr. Brittany Kim is an Old Testament scholar, adjunct professor, and spiritual director-in-training. She has taught at Roberts Wesleyan College, Northeastern Seminary, and Bethel Seminary, and is the author of Lengthen Your Tent-Cords: The Metaphorical World of Israel's Household in the Book of Isaiah. Brittany and her husband Ted live in Chicago, IL with their three children.
On this week’s episode, our host Michael Gatlin sits down with Ted Kim and Renée Cunningham from the Evanston Vineyard giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the active transition of senior leadership of this flagship Vineyard church from it’s founding pastor, Steve Nicholson, to the leadership of Ted Kim. This is a very practical and helpful episode not only for the churches in active leadership transition but every church digging into your “why” behind your “how”.    Ted Kim Ted Kim has been pastoring for over twenty years, first as a Worship Pastor and now as the Senior Associate Pastor of the Evanston Vineyard in Illinois where he is the hoped-for eventual successor to Steve Nicholson.  He has done ministry all over the United States and internationally in places like the United Kingdom, Africa, and the Middle East.  Ted oversaw worship regionally in the Northeast and is a published songwriter, most known for “Kyrie Eleison” and “Eden”.  He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has been married for over 15 years with 3 children.   Renée Cunningham Renée Cunningham is pastor of the Neighborhood Campus of the Evanston Vineyard in Chicago, Illinois.  Renee planted the Neighborhood in 2014 out of a desire to worship alongside her neighbors.  Prior to church planting, Renee worked in elementary education and served with her husband as pastors at La Vina Las Condes in Santiago, Chile.  She holds an M.A. in Christian Spiritual Formation from North Park Theological Seminary and lives in Chicago with her husband Bruce and their three young children.  
Kyla Morgan Young is a Doctoral Candidate at Princeton University in American Religious History. Her research focuses on how American Protestant denominations relate to money and the marketplace. She is currently a lecturer at The Ohio State University in African American Studies and an active member at Franklinton Abbey in Columbus, Ohio. Over the last decade, Kyla has served on Vineyard staffs in Ohio and Pennsylvania and was a member of the planting team in Princeton, NJ. On this week’s episode, we have part two of a fascinating conversation with Kyla Morgan Young discussing the challenging issues of Money, Sex, and Power. This time we dive into the practical topic of aligning our budgets around both our values and God’s call and vision for our churches and church plants.  Shout out to those men and women who selflessly serve on our church budget committees and task forces!    This is another “clouds and dirt” episode address both the big picture as well as on-the-ground practical takeaways for those in the trenches of local church leadership. 
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