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Stanley Horton
12.20.09

Wes Bartel
12.13.09

Jason Roy
11.29.09

Steve Donaldson
11.22.09

Norma Champion
11.15.09

Byron Klaus
10.25.09

Alton Garrison
10.18.09

Ed Stetzer
9.27.09

Aaron Boyd
9.20.09

Eric Treuil
9.13.09

Lynn Krogstad
8.30.09

Lew Shelton
8.23.09

Todd Starnes
8.16.09

Gary Smalley
8.9.09

Rick Cole and Dary Northrop
8.2.09

George O. Wood
7.26.09

Sarah Reeves
7.19.09

Mercy Me
7.12.09

Chuck Bengochea
7.5.09

Jeremy Camp
6.21.09

Kary Kingsland
6.7.09

Doug Clay
5.31.09

Owen C. Carr
5.24.09

James T. Bradford
5.17.09

Marlo Schalesky
5.10.09

Wally Nelson
4.26.09

Leeland and Jack Mooring
4.19.09

Mark Trammell
4.12.09

Chris Sligh
3.29.09

Scott Krippayne
3.29.09

David and Marie Works
3.22.09

Paul Baloche
3.15.09

Ellie Kay
3.8.09

Deborah Burke
2.22.09

Max Lucado
2.15.09

Sy Rogers
2.8.09

Duke Preston
1.25.09

Kenny Luck
1.18.09

Todd Tiahrt
1.11.09


2008 Conversations


2007 Conversations


2006 Conversations


Conversation: Owen C. Carr

The octogenarian church planter

In 67 years of ministry, Owen C. Carr has been a pastor, evangelist, president of Valley Forge Christian College, founder of Channel 38 in downtown Chicago, head of the Assemblies of God National Youth Department and a tireless fundraiser for causes in the Fellowship. In 2006, Carr, with his son, David, planted a church in Springfield, Mo. Carr, who turned 86 on May 19, recently sat down with TPE News Editor John W. Kennedy to discuss the venture.

tpe: Why did you plant a church at age 83?

CARR: My wife, Priscilla, and I had moved back to Springfield in 1998 to be near friends and relatives after helping a troubled church in Chicago. One Wednesday when I was praying, suddenly the Lord laid a burden on my heart for downtown Springfield. That surprised me. I never went downtown. In fact, I would go around downtown. We were attending Central Assembly of God at the time, and that evening Pastor James Bradford asked me to pray for the city of Springfield. As I walked down the aisle something happened in my heart, and I prayed with a passion I never had before.

tpe: Didn’t the new church meet at a funeral home at first?

CARR: We made arrangements to meet in a funeral home for a few weeks until we found another building, but we stayed two years. Now we’re in a former health food store that has been completely renovated to become Grace Assembly of God.

tpe: Had you retired before starting this church?

CARR: I hadn’t retired. I was still speaking where doors opened. One year on the field I preached 366 times.

tpe: How did you find a congregation?

CARR: We did everything wrong. We ran a two-column ad in the newspaper on Saturday and opened the door on Sunday morning. But we had quite a lot of word of mouth, and 52 people came. Four weeks from the day we started we took in 39 charter members.

tpe: In your long career you’ve helped start four churches. What have you learned about the value of planting new churches?

CARR: Church planting has always been the best way to evangelize, particularly where the need is, where the people are. I came to find out more than half of the downtown Springfield population never go to church. It’s a needy area. Many people don’t have a car, so they walk to church.

Number one, a church must have strong and consistent Bible preaching from the pulpit. People come to hear the pastor preach the Word. Number two, a pastor must have 100 percent moral and financial support from the board. Number three, a church must have room to put people. If you have the first two, people will come, but if you don’t have room, they can’t stay.

tpe: What are some foundational principles that church planters must have in mind when they are raising money to finance their God-given vision?

CARR: The important thing is to communicate the burden. When God wants something done, He chooses a person. He gives that person a burden to see what needs to be done, then He gives a vision to see what can be done. Finally, God provides the faith for the person to believe he or she can do something about it.

The one ingredient God doesn’t give is the daring to step out and risk everything to see the vision happen. A lot of people fail because they are afraid to risk everything. If you’re going to plant a church, you have to risk the possibility of failure.

E-mail your comments to tpe@ag.org.

 

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