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Global Methodist Church Announces Partnership with Planters Field Training Academy

By Dianne Burnett

The Global Methodist Church’s Transitional Leadership Council recently endorsed and entered into a partnership with the Planters Field Training Academy, a program created by The Woodlands Methodist Church (TWMC) in The Woodlands, Texas. Designed as an online church planting and multiplication resource, the program is available to clergy and laity who believe they are called to plant or multiply new churches.

“We believe in a future where every community has a thriving local church that lives out the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed,” said the Rev. Dr. Jeff Olive, Pastor of Church Multiplication at TWMC, and the training academy’s online host. “I think we’re living in a time where the opportunity to plant churches in major cities and their suburbs are wide open. And given all the relocating people did during the pandemic, there’s the possibility, even the necessity, of multiplying congregations in rapidly growing towns and villages across the country. We’re looking forward to partnering with our GM Church brothers and sisters who share our passion for church planting and multiplication.”

Planters Field Training Academy consists of 12 modules focusing on the essentials of church planting. Each module is hosted by an expert in key areas of ministry development and new church starts. And it includes downloadable and printable resources that walk aspiring church planters though the critical steps of planting a new church. A subscription to the program costs $199. The GM Church’s endorsement serves as a testament to its commitment to embrace new opportunities for growth and outreach around the world.

The partnership between the Academy and the GM Church highlights a shared dedication to innovation, growth, and inclusivity in church planting. By embracing new methods and technologies, the GM Church and the Academy are poised to make a significant impact in reaching individuals who may not have access to quality resources for learning to plant and grow healthy and vibrant congregations.

“As a pastor who planted a church 25 years ago, I vividly remember how exciting and frankly intimidating the experience was,” said the Rev. Keith Boyette, the GM Church’s chief connectional officer. “I have had the opportunity to watch the Planters Field Training Academy’s videos and review many of its resources; the program is excellent. As is so often the case, our friends at TWMC have given loving attention to every detail, produced a program that carefully addresses key steps to planting a church, and they have done it all in a way that is engaging and easy to follow.”

After an introductory session, the program invites participants to assess their character and competencies, build a prayer foundation for church planting, and then it helps participants develop a mission and vision for a church plant. Other modules cover topics like recruiting a team, branding and marketing, legal issues, and preparing a discipleship strategy to initiate right at the launch of a new congregation. The online format offers flexibility for the material to be broken up into easily digested segments, allowing participants to learn at their own pace and revisit key information as needed.

“I never saw myself as a church planter,” said Ms. Cara Nicklas, an attorney and chairwoman of the Transitional Leadership Council. “But like many former United Methodist members, I realized parting ways with the church I had attended for years meant joining with my brothers and sisters and learning about church planting in a hurry. The Planters Field Training Academy is just the kind of guide that will help laity and clergy think and pray though the essential steps of planting a new church.”

 The Planters Field Training Academy is the second church planting and multiplying program the GM Church has endorsed and partnered with. Since the late summer of 2022, many GM church laity and clergy have worked with The River Network, a program based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and led by the Rev. Dr. Steve Cordle, the founding pastor of Crossroads Church, also located in Pittsburgh.

“We’re all in this together,” said Olive. “The River Network was right there just as the GM Church launched, and it proved to be a godsend to so many brothers and sisters looking for direction. We’re blessed that Steve agreed to serve as one of the Academy’s presenters, leading our module on church multiplication, a subject that he probably knows more about than any pastor in the GM Church. Our prayer is that the Academy becomes another great resource that helps all of us plant churches and spread the good news of Jesus Christ!”

Launched on May 1, 2022, the GM Church now has 4,501 local churches in Africa, Europe, the Philippines, and the U.S. GM Church leaders believe the partnership with the Academy will help it plant churches and multiply congregations in geographical areas still lacking its presence.

“Planting, multiplying, and growing local churches is one of the GM Church’s top priorities,” said Boyette. “We know it will require a major investment of time, talent, and financial resources, but it is one we must be prepared to support sacrificially. So we will continue to partner with innovative programs like the Academy and the River Network to help fulfill the mission Christ has given us. In the coming years I am confident our annual conferences and local churches will leverage these programs and support laity and pastors called to church planting.”

To learn more about the Planters Field Training Academy and to enroll in the course, visit: www.plantersfield.org. They are offering a GMC discount code for $50 off the subscription. To take advantage of this discount use the  code PLANTGMC.

Dianne Burnett is the Global Methodist Church’s Executive Director of Communications.

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