In 2012 states leaders and a few other interested pastors from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and HGC gathered in Indianapolis to wrestle with a couple key questions: How can we do church planting/church multiplication more effectively? How can we help our states move more toward a culture of multiplication? That conversation led us to ask an intriguing question, could we do it better if we did it together? The answer to that question was an emphatic yes! Trust grew quickly and a partnership was formed. The Midwest Multiplication Initiative was born that day and we went to work together!
In the last three years, the Midwest Multiplication Initiative (MMI) has birthed many churches. One is Momentum Church in Crown Point, Indiana. Charlie Arms arrived in Indiana at the start of 2014 with his family in tow. The Arms family – Charlie, Rebecca, Amalia, and Charles – have worked together to launch an exciting church that is impacting lives for the Kingdom. Momentum just celebrated their first birthday. Since inception, Momentum Church has had 42 people commit their lives to Christ and over 30 baptisms. Recently, they hosted the Second Annual Trunk or Treat. When they closed the gates, they had over 25,000 people in attendance, setting the single day attendance record for the Lake County Fairgrounds where the event is held. This is a huge increase from 2014, when they saw 3000 guests at the event. In just the two Sundays following this year’s Truck or Treat, Momentum has seen 8 new families from the event, half of which joined the church. We are so excited for Momentum and the Armses. We can’t wait to see how God moves in the Crown Point community in the coming year.
The MMI focuses on more than just church planting. In fact, in January 2014, HGC and the state leaders met again to develop a common language and system for multiplication. Many great ideas were born that day and we developed a framework for multiplication in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. We agreed that if we were going to change the culture of the Church of God in the Midwest to be about multiplication that it would have to grow out of a grassroots effort. It could be inspired and resourced from a state office, but if it was going to have a sweeping impact it would have to come from the local church.
We began to wrestle with, what if we could get a few dozen churches to flip the question from should we multiply? to how will we multiply? What if we identified these churches as cultivating congregations and we began to help them figure out how to multiply? What kind of kingdom impact would this have? The idea quickly got traction. We spent the summer last year recruiting our first group of cultivating congregations. 60 churches raised their hand to join the Cultivating Congregations. 40 have taken the first steps. Four 3C clusters have formed to process together their next multiplication steps. And five churches have the goal of multiplying in the next 12-18 months. These five are working with Jim Tomberlin, a leader in church multi-sites.
On of our cultivating congregations is First Church with it’s main campus in St. Joseph, Michigan. First Church launched a third location in February and they are already launching their second service at that location. God’s up to some great things at all three locations of First Church. Watch First Church’s update:
Through the MMI partnership, here is what we have discovered…
We need each other.
We are flipping the culture.
We are better together!