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2003 PE Report

Americans find comfort in ‘nesting,’ but connecting is another matter (December 22, 2002)

Viewer discretion advised: Reality-based programs stoop to new low (December 15, 2002)

A/G among fastest growing faith groups (December 8, 2002)

Christians play crucial role in foster care (November 24, 2002)

A/G churches remember with outreaches (November 17, 2002)

Elderly face added woes from credit card debt (November 10, 2002)

PE Kidz News from BGMC (October 27, 2002)

Cyber-evangelists find innovative ways to share gospel (October 20, 2002)

Risks, stigma accompany wearing of tattoos (October 13, 2002)

Women lead on-campus ministries (September 29, 2002)

Tobacco, alcohol, gambling industries find underage Internet client base (September 22, 2002)

Marijuana, cocaine have abusive company: Ecstasy, meth and prescription painkillers (September 15, 2002)

September 11: A day that changed American Christians forever (September 8, 2002)

Congress, courts clash over Internet filtering issue (August 25, 2002)

People with disabilities bless churches (August 18, 2002)

Short-term youth binges can result in long-term habit (August 11, 2002)

Christians aim to preserve traditional marriage (July 28, 2002)

Payback time: Christian volunteers motivated to give back to community (July 21, 2002)

Urban training centers minister
to ever-growing population
(July 14, 2002)

E-mail rumors dupe multitudes, hurt credibility (June 30, 2002)

Not so innocent: PG-13 films increasingly push sex, language limits (June 23, 2002)

Skipping church: Why are some Americans staying home on Sunday? (June 16, 2002)

Fudge fellowship: Pastor's wife treats tavern clientele (June 9, 2002)

Persevering nomadic church finally reaches promised land (May 26, 2002)

Tragedy brings A/G church, community closer to God (May 19, 2002)

Couples find God's calling in adopting, raising children (May 12, 2002)

A/G chaplain ministers to women in maximum-security prison (April 28, 2002)

Youth center offers alternative to teens (April 21, 2002)

A week without television (April 14, 2002)

Technological know-how aids San Jose church outreach (March 31, 2002)

Cincinnati racial reconciliation brings inner peace to inner city (March 24, 2002)

District's fund-raising efforts aid pastors planting churches (March 17, 2002)

GED program an effective ministry (March 10, 2002)

Building relationshipis at heart of women's ministries outreach (February 24, 2002)

Single-minded devotion: Unmarried ranks offer ministry opportunities (February 17, 2002)

Bethany College honors black minister pioneer (February 10, 2002)

A/G quarterback wins Unitas Award (January 27, 2002)

Camp Melody plants song of love in boys' hearts (January 20, 2002)

Pastor breaks giving record after 10 days atop billboard (January 13, 2002)

2001 News Digest stories

2000 News Digest stories

District’s fund-raising efforts aid pastors planting churches

(March 17, 2002)

Pastor James R. Brown began holding church services in September 2000 at Harbor Assembly of God in Egg Harbor Township west of Atlantic City, N.J. As happens with most new churches, Brown and his wife, Kathy, had to do almost everything themselves at first, including lead worship, print bulletins and distribute fliers about the new congregation, which meets in a Comfort Inn conference room.

Early supporters: Jennifer and Kathy Brown have been attending Harbor Assembly of God since the church plant’s beginning.

However, unlike many ministers who begin preaching after graduating from Bible school and serving a youth pastor stint, Brown also had time to learn the community because he had financial support from the New Jersey District of the Assemblies of God. The New Jersey District committed to paying Brown’s salary for the first 18 months, housing costs for two years and medical insurance for three years. In addition, the district financed the rent costs for the new church. The support has kept Brown from having to become bivocational. Without the district’s funds to support him, his wife and 3-year-old daughter, Jennifer, Brown figures he also would have had to work as a hotel desk clerk as he did during his years at Valley Forge Christian College in Pennsylvania.

"Because I didn’t have to work outside the church plant, I could focus all my time and energy on recruiting, praying and organizing," says Brown, 29. "This freed me up so I could spend my day meeting people in the community that I couldn’t have otherwise."

Today, the church has a core group of 20 attendees and solid lay leaders in place. The congregation is now responsible for Brown’s salary. "I’m glad we didn’t have to worry about food and rent," Brown says. "It’s been a secure feeling to start this way."

By faith, Harbor Assembly of God became the first of a projected 30 church plants in a five-year span to be financed primarily by the New Jersey District. Through the "If Not Now … WHEN?" capital stewardship campaign, kicked off in 2001, many individuals and 105 district churches committed $3.7 million exclusively for planting new churches. The national Fellowship also pledged $20,000 to the campaign. In a five-year period, the district expects to invest at least $120,000 in each of the 30 church plants. In addition to Egg Harbor Township, new A/G congregations have started in Paramus, Collingswood and, this month, Piscataway.

The district had set a goal of $3 million, but response to the campaign has been overwhelming because existing pastors and church members see the wisdom of such a strategy.

"A lot of new works fail due to the struggle to come up with the necessary finances," District Superintendent Carl J. Colletti says. "So we determined what the realistic costs would be to subsidize salary, housing, insurance and facility rental and determined to invest that amount in each new church plant. This way the pastor isn’t bivocational, isn’t overwhelmed financially and can focus on ministry matters. Church planters aren’t going to get rich, but they can now make a livable wage."

Paul Drost, director of church planting for the Fellowship, says he is encouraged by the New Jersey capital stewardship campaign, the first attempted by an Assemblies of God district. "It’s not only effective, it shows a real intentionality to the importance of church planting," Drost says. "How we spend our time and money shows what our values are."

— John W. Kennedy

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