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!!

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!!

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.

Element Church & Monthly Services

Yesterday our 8th church plant, Element Church, had their first monthly preview service. It was a great initial introduction to the community; the worship team was incredible; and we had 148 in attendance! During the service, I couldn’t help but think how amazing it was to see the group of 7 we started almost a year ago with now ministering to almost 150! Rich and his team were well prepared and laid out at a quality welcome mat to the community. I’m excited to see what God has in store in the coming months!

Now, some might ask, with such a great first preview service, why not launch now? Great question! The idea of monthly preview services has been explained in Nelson Searcy’s book, Launch, and to understand it, you have to first understand the main premise: The larger a church can launch, the quicker it will sustain itself, the greater the impact it can have. With that said, these services are geared toward accomplishing a few things:

  • Allowing the launch team to refine their process and work out the kinks in service planning & implementation. Without fail, there will always be a few things to correct and fix. Having a month between services allows the team to have time to correct these issues. The goal here is excellence.
  • It gives time for the leaders to focus on building teams, which in the long-run will impact the size and sustainability of a church plant. As people from the community come to the monthly preview services, leaders & members of the various teams (hospitality, tech, kids, etc.) that make up the larger launch team can look for possible team members and encourage them to join them in serving. The goal here is team building.
  • These services allow momentum to build toward the Grand Opening. Although a Grand Opening creates natural momentum, having some going in makes it only bigger. It’s like throwing gasoline on a small flame – it makes the flame bigger and more impacting. The goal here is pre-launch growth.

With this model of planting, the launch team still meets weekly. This weekly meeting should grow as the grand opening draws closer. Also, in between monthly preview services, there are ‘easy-invite’ events called comeback events. These might include a cookout, bowling, or other relationally-geared event. If you are looking to plant a church, I would strongly encourage you to check out Nelson Searcy’s book, Launch, and see if his model or portions of his model might work for you!

The Three Amigos

Brian Bolt | Greg Krowitz | Rich Jones
Brian Bolt | Greg Krowitz | Rich Jones

Earlier this week I happened to have our three most recent church planters in my office and snapped this picture. What a great group of guys! Here’s a little update on these church planters and their churches:

  • Brian Bolt, Pittsburgh City Outreach: PCO was chosen by the Penn-Del Ministry Network as one of two church planting projects this year. Because of that, Brian has been busy this month traveling and telling the story of PCO raising additional support to renovate the building they were recently given.
  • Greg Krowitz, BridgePoint Church: BPC celebrated their one-year anniversary this past Sunday. It was an incredible service as they celebrated this past year with a packed boxing gym! Continue to pray for them as they are currently looking for a more permanent facility to hold services in.
  • Rich Jones, Element Church: Element Church will hold their first monthly service in about a month (April 19) in Millvale. Keep them in prayer as they go through their monthly services in April, May, June & July and gear up for their grand opening on August 16!

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