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)

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!

Look Out Millvale

This past May we began two Neighborhood Groups in two different communities with the hope that one of them would be the location for our 7th church plant in 2009. Well, the time has come and one of them is in process to being that very church plant. I am very pleased to announce that not only is our new church plant going to be in Millvale but we have identified our church planters for this new church. The pastors of the new church plant are going to be…drum roll please…Pastor Rich and Jodi Jones. Rich is not only a good friend but he has proven himself as a great pastor. We are excited to welcome him to the church planting team and can’t wait to see what God is going to do as they join the great team already in place in our Millvale Neighborhood Group, Millvale Matters!!

In case you would like more info, here’s a short bio on Pastor Rich and Jodi:

Pastor Rich, along with his wife, Jodi, have been the Student Ministries Pastors at First Assembly of God in Hermitage, PA since October 2, 2005. They have two beautiful daughters, JoLyn and Jackilyn, and as a family seek to honor the Lord in all they do. Pastor Rich has served as youth pastor since the age of 18 years of age.

In 1992, He and Jodi began their full-time ministry as Youth Pastor at Full Gospel Worship Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1996 they accepted the Youth Pastorate at Monroeville Assembly of God and enjoyed eight wonderful years of Ministry under the leadership of Pastor Jim Leake. He spent 2005 in Detroit, Michigan, again as Youth Pastor.

Pastor Rich is a 1992 graduate of Valley Forge Christian College and is an ordained minister with the Penn/Del District of the Assemblies of God. Having spent more than 15 years in ministering to students, he has been blessed to have had many opportunities to attend and speak at Youth Ministry Training Events, including the 2004 National Youth Workers Convention for the Assemblies of God. Pastor Rich’s current portfolio at First Assembly includes the Youth and Mission’s Departments.

And for some more good news (if you’re actually still reading this super-long post), both Rich and Jodi have blogs! You can follow them at and

If you’d like more info on our Millvale Neighborhood Group (Millvale Matters) you can e-mail us at

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