Impact South Side

This past Saturday we held what is becoming an annual event at Allison Park Church, our ‘Impact’ day. This day is an awesome opportunity to serve a community in which we are planting a church.  With the launch of LifeStone Church in just a couple weeks, this year’s Impact community was South Side.  This day really hits one of our big values in church planting, which is serving the community. Not only does it teach the new church plant this value, but it allows individuals from APC to be physically involved in this exciting process of launching a church.

This year in South Side, we had numerous projects and were planning for close to 250 volunteers to blitz the community.  With the large amounts of rain we ended up receiving that day, we did cancel a good number of our projects, but God was faithful!  We still had almost 140 people walking the streets paying parking meters for people, picking up trash all over the South Side, planting flowers in local parks, repairing homes for senior citizens, and more! It is incredible to see how God could use even a portion of what was planned to still make a big impact in this community!

I talked to a number of people from the community that were so amazed at the number of people that came all the way to South Side just to serve and bless the community. With all the work that was done this day, the Kingdom of God was visible and tangible. It wasn’t just about a sermon on Sunday, but service on Saturday.  I believe this is the greatest expression of the gospel…serving with no strings attached.

A big thank you to all of you that weathered the storm that day and came out to serve!! LifeStone Church and South Side residents will be forever grateful for the hard work you put into this great day!

MCM Update: LifeStone Church

Finishing up my recent blog series on our MCM church plants, we’ll look at LifeStone Church, which will be launching this June in the South Side.

The American Serbian Club before LifeStone's first preview service in South Side

God’s hand has really brought this whole team together over the last couple years as He called Jack & Jamie Thomas to move to Pittsburgh this past July to launch this church. They had only a small handful of people committed, but they now have close to 40 on the team!  Although the church has not launched yet, God has done some amazing things already through LifeStone in South Side.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • Last October, LifeStone set out to hold their first Harvest Party in the community for the kids and families that live in South Side.  They set their goals high as they hoped to see 100-150 people come out for this first big outreach.  Little did they know, God has bigger things planned, as they had over 250 people show up for this first major outreach!
  • As LifeStone began the process to plant, one of the initial things to identify in a community is a Sunday morning meeting space to hold services in.  This proved to be a more difficult task then originally thought.  For months Jack scoured South Side looking for a building in the right location and price range.  One after another, the doors were closing.  In fact, as we approached their first two preview services, we still did not have a building identified.  Then, just at the right moment, God opened the door for LifeStone to meet in the American Serbian Club just off the main street in South Side. It has ended up being the perfect building in the right location with plenty of meeting space!  God’s timing was perfect, as usual!!
  • Just a few short weeks ago, LifeStone held their first Easter Egg Hunt in South Side.  Although this is a common event in most communities, South Side hadn’t had a community Easter Egg hunt in almost 20 years.  As they promoted and prepared for this big Easter outreach, it started to become apparent that this wasn’t g
    LifeStone's first Easter Egg Hunt in South Side a few weeks ago.

    oing to be just another little outreach.  Although they planned for 300 at this Easter Egg Hunt, they had over 600 show up, coming from all over South Side and even some surrounding communities!

As LifeStone prepares to launch in just a month and a half, please continue to keep Jack, Jamie and the team in your prayers!  Launching a church is not a simple thing at all, but we know that when God’s favor rests upon it, He will build His Church and nothing will prevail against it!!

MCM Update: Element Church

Continuing my posts on our recent MCM church plants, we’re going to look at our most recent church plant, Element Church, which was launched in August 2009.

Pastor Rich Jones speaking in a Sunday morning service at Element Church.

Element is a unique church that meets in a very non-traditional environment, Mr. Smalls Theater, a rock concert venue. Since their launch Element has really blazed the trail toward reaching the unreached in Pittsburgh.  Their worship is a little edgier then most, but they are seeing people who wouldn’t normally darken the door of a church now accepting Christ!

Here are some highlights from this past year at Element:

  • They launched on August 16 with over 230 people!  The place was packed with standing room only!!
  • On January 17 of this year, Element had its very first water baptism with 12 people being baptized and 7 more people responding to accept Christ!  It was truly a transforming Sunday.  You can watch the recap video here.
  • This last month, Element held their second annual ‘Great Millvale Easter Egg Hunt’ with over 300 people!  What is cool with this egg hunt is that they actually partner with the Millvale community officials for this event.

    2010 Great Millvale Easter Egg Hunt
  • Then this last week, Element Church was actually featured in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review!  What an honor and opportunity.  You can see the article here.

As Element approaches their one-year anniversary this August, we know that God is really moving in Millvale through Element.  This community that has experienced so many set-backs now has a group of believers serving and pulling for the success of Millvale! That’s Christianity at its finest!!

MCM Update: BridgePoint Church

BridgePoint's New Building

Over the next few posts, I wanted to take an opportunity to share some updates from our most recent MCM church plants.  I’ll start off with Pastor Greg & Francie Krowitz and BridgePoint Church in Tarentum, PA.

BridgePoint (BPC) just celebrated its two-year anniversary last month and has had some exciting things happen in recent months.  This past October, they were able to move out of their meeting space, a boxing gym, and into a more permanent church building owned by First Christian Church in Tarentum. The provision of this building was an answer to prayer and God’s continued favor on our MCM churches in miraculously providing church buildings!

For the month of October BPC met at 9am, prior to First Christian’s service.  Then in November, the leadership of First Christian decided to cancel their Sunday morning service and join BPC’s service, allowing them to have a later start time of 10am.  Since that time, BridgePoint has seen a number of new families joining the church and in addition to meeting in this building on Sunday mornings and they have now moved their offices and small groups into the building.  Over this last 6 months, BPC has experienced some incredible favor with the First Christian leadership already, and we are believing that BPC will one day own this beautiful building, allowing them to continue to be a beacon of hope to the Allegheny Valley!

Recent water baptism in BPC's new building

This past Sunday, BPC had one of their regular baptism services that they are now able to have with the baptismal in their new building.  Greg baptized 6 people, which included a mom & her two sons, a brother & sister and a young adult! God continues to move at BPC and we know that the best is yet to come!

As we celebrate what God is doing in Tarentum through BridgePoint, continue to keep Pastor Greg and Francie in your prayers as they look toward this 3rd year of existence as a church and lead BPC toward a place of greater influence and impact in the community!

New MCM Website Launched

We are happy to announce the launch of our new MCM Network website! This site is designed to be a resource to pastors and church leaders.  There are a number of features to this site that we are so excited about.  Below I have listed a few of those features:

  • Sermon Resources (logos, graphics, videos)
  • Strategy Resources (governance, operational documents, etc.)
  • Listing of Upcoming Events/Trainings within the Network
  • Ministry Openings at our 16 MCM Network churches
  • Bios about each of our MCM churches

As a Network, we are committed to seeing our pastors, churches and church plants reach their full-potential.  Our churches are community-driven churches that strive to not simply build their church, but to build their community. If you’d like to visit our new website or get more information on the MCM Network, visit

Coming in 2010: New Church Plant in South Side

In addition to the church plant being launched this fall by Pittsburgh City Outreach, the MCM Network will be planting LifeStone Church in the South Side community of Pittsburgh. Jack and Jamie Thomas moved to Pittsburgh last year to plant this church and they have seen God do some amazing things already.  Their small Neighborhood Group has now grown and transitioned into a good-sized launch team, and in fact they have their first ‘Practice Service’ this Sunday.

To give you some perspective of where LifeStone is in the scope of planting, here are the different stages we utilize for our MCM church plants:

  • Neighborhood Group: We start a small outreach group in a potential community that meets weekly and goes through a curriculum that equips group members for evangelism.  In addition to the weekly meetings, they also do an outreach/service project each month.  The goal is to simply serve the needs of the community and be a blessing to those within the community.
  • Launch/Street Team: As the Neighborhood Group grows and it becomes apparent a church plant is not only possible but purposed by God, we connect the group with a church planter and the month before we start monthly ‘Preview Services’ we transition the Neighborhood Group into a Launch Team, or Street Team.  This team now divides into different ministry teams for the purpose of the services (hospitality, kid’s, security, worship, tech, etc.).
  • Preview Services: Usually 4-5 months prior to the Grand Opening of the new church plant, we will begin holding monthly preview services.  These services serve multiple purposes:
    • To give the various ministry teams the ability to work out their processes and systems for the sake of excellence at the Grand Opening.
    • To provide opportunity to build momentum in the church & community toward the launch.
    • To give the team leaders opportunity to build their teams bigger, which in turn establishes a bigger base from which a larger launch is possible.
  • Grand Opening/Launch: This is an exciting day when the church officially goes public with weekly services.  At this point, the church may not have all the bells and whistles of an established church, but they are doing one thing well: providing a weekly worship service that not only is done with excellence but is impacting the spiritual climate of that community.

If you are, or have been, part of a church plant.  Are there other stages you utilized or you would add?

Coming in 2010: New Church Plant in Braddock

PCO-Braddock Home

This year we have so many exciting things happening through our MCM Network.  One of the many great things is the new church plant being launched out of our 6th church plant, Pittsburgh City Outreach. PCO has a unique model that is geared toward reaching drug addicts and those battling other life-altering addictions.  The amazing thing with this model is that an inner-city church can actually become financially self-sustaining, which is remarkable!

The first step in launching a PCO church is to start a recovery home in the targeted community.  Out of that home, they will eventually start a Bible study, which will then progress to a weekly service.  PCO’s new church plant is aimed at launching weekly services this fall in the community of Braddock. Recently, they have acquired a house for their first step of establishing a recovery home in Braddock.  I’m believing PCO is going to accomplish some amazing things for the kingdom of God in the community of Braddock in the years to come!

If you would like to help out PCO-Braddock, I listed some supplies they are in need of for the home below:

Washer, Dryer, Electric Range, Whiteboard, Dishes, Bed’s (single or bunk), Linens, Pillows, Pots/Pans, Toaster, Dining Room Table and Chairs, Dressers (6), Coffee Maker, Lamps, Bibles, Christian Literature, Stereo/CD Player, Filing Cabinet, Fans, etc.

For more info, visit

UPDATE: The Braddock Men’s Home opens on Sunday, January 31.

Element Church’s First Baptism

This past Sunday our newest church plant, Element Church, had their first Baptism Service. Rich Jones and his team did an awesome job with the service and made quite an impact!

It is so rewarding to see all that God is doing through Element in the community of Millvale.  It was only a little over a year and a half ago that we started with about 5-6 people meeting every week in a Subway restaurant.  Sunday there were over 100 and they baptized 12 people!! In addition to that, they had 7 more people respond to an invitation for salvation.  God is up to something big in Pittsburgh and I feel so blessed to be part of it!

For those that might be new church planters or are considering church planting, this is what it’s all about.  It’s not about all the accolades that might come with your Grand Opening or recognition you might receive because of the size of your Sunday morning service…it’s about lives that have been changed!  If you find yourself trailing off track, use this as a great reminder of what can and could be in your church!!

MCM All Over CMN

In this last week, our MCM pastors have been all over the Church Multiplication Network’s blog.  CMN is our denomination’s church planting arm and recently featured an interview with Brian Bolt, an article by Rich Jones and another interview with our fearless leader, Jeff Leake.
(You can see the interviews and a portion of the article below)

Rich Jones: My ‘Aha’ Moment at Boot Camp

You know the feeling…you said “yes” to something before you had all of the facts—before you really had any of the facts? Almost a year ago, my wife and I answered God’s call to plant a church in Pittsburgh. We knew we were supposed to go, but overall, we shared the feeling of not knowing how we were supposed to go about reaching the community of Millvale with the gospel.
(Read the rest of the article here)

Great News from the MCM Network!

This past Sunday we had some exciting things happen in a couple of our newer MCM church plants that I wanted to share with you all:


  • BridgePoint Church, which launched last March, baptized 7 people this past Sunday!  God is doing some great things through BPC in Tarentum.  They are a very unique church in that they meet every week in a fully-operational boxing gym.  This has been a really cool location to have a church, but please continue to keep BPC in prayer as they are currently looking for a more permanent church location.  You can read more about their water baptisms this past Sunday on Greg’s blog here.
  • Element Church had their 2nd monthly service!  It was an exciting day as 10Element Preach9 people came out to Mr. Smalls Theater in Millvale to worship God and hear Rich bring the word!  They are making great progress as they approach their Grand Opening on August 16.  You can read more about the service on Rich’s blog here.

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