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December 31, 2000: Saturday Night at The River

November 26, 2000: College athletes minstry emphasizes Holy Spirit

November 19, 2000: Bad weather doesn't dampen spirits of thousands at Detroit's Convoy of Hope

November 12, 2000: International Day of Prayer for Persecuted Church

October 29, 2000: Frontiersman way of life draws men, boys closer to Christ

September 17, 2000: Loving the unloved

September 10, 2000: Changing lives in a big way

August 13, 2000: Church planting fuels growth

July 30, 2000: Full Gospel New York Church targets 500,000 Koreans

July 16, 2000: Running the good race

July 9, 2000: Hispanic church thrives in border town

June 25, 2000: The hand of God

June 18, 2000: HonorBound: Raising an army of godly men

June 11, 2000: Illinois Christian radio stations deliver message of Christ to thousands

May 14, 2000: A/G foster families minister to children

April 30, 2000: Prison revival reaches beyond the fence

April 23, 2000: Harvest Sunday draws hundreds for water baptism

April 16, 2000: Chain reaction

April 9, 2000: One pastor's burden: reaching the 'white slums'

March 26, 2000: Cowboy church rounds up believers

March 19, 2000: Motorsports ministry: Winning souls at the track

March 12, 2000: A dream blooms in the desert

February 20, 2000: Romanian church prospers for 20 years

February 13, 2000: Ministry at a strategic academic crossroads

January 23, 2000: God's Navy

Church planting fuels growth

Worshipers at Hope Fellowship meet in a day-care center, but that isn’t the only unconventional feature of this Assemblies of God church in the Dallas suburb of Frisco. When it held its first Sunday service last January, its sponsors — and core group — came to Texas from two other states.

Pastor John McKinzie formerly served as youth pastor at Cornerstone Church in Nashville, Tenn., which is underwriting his salary this year. Calvary Temple in nearby Irving is supporting associate pastor Aaron Allison, who was McKinzie’s assistant in Nashville.

Cornerstone pastor Maury Davis was once youth pastor at Calvary. Several families from his church relocated to Dallas to help start the new work. With the blessing of senior pastor J. Don George, supporters also came from Calvary.

Living Water Church in Fort Worth, Texas, began as a home Bible study, and then held services in the fellowship hall until its auditorium was ready for use.

Started a month after the pastor moved back to his native state, the church experienced an enthusiastic reception. The church is only the second Assemblies of God congregation in the rapidly growing Frisco area. Fifty-three attended the first service; in a month, the number reached the mid-60s.

Because of their past ties, George says it made sense for the two churches to cooperate to start the new one.

"I’ve never heard of it happening before, but it was a natural thing," he says. "It certainly could be a model [for other plants]."

While it may be a pioneering dual-state cooperative, this isn’t the first time an Assemblies of God congregation has crossed state lines to plant a church in the North Texas District.

First Assembly of God of Shreveport, La. (Denny Duron, pastor), helped found Living Water Church in Fort Worth two years ago as a home Bible study. It held its first worship service in May 1999.

Last January, New Hope Church of Abilene held its first worship service, thanks to a $25,000 offering taken by Bethel Assembly of God in Duncan, Okla. (Ron Meador, pastor).

A month later, Stan Dennis moved to Flower Mound, just north of Dallas, to start Oasis Christian Center. Formerly the associate pastor of two churches in Alabama, Dennis felt God’s call to start a new work as a senior pastor. Oasis held its first service on Palm Sunday.

"We believe we have a church-planting movement going here," Morris Ivey, North Texas District assistant superintendent, says.

District Superintendent Derwood Dubose calls this migration unusual, but not unprecedented. Dubose is grateful others are coming to Texas. That will boost the A/G presence, which numbers 200 churches and preaching points in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Sometimes, the church planters have ties to the area. Wade De Forest grew up in Fort Worth, but First Assembly in Shreveport made such an impact on his life that he moved to Louisiana in 1982. Two years later, he felt called to ministry and joined the staff. However, in 1997 he felt God leading him back home. He eyed a building that housed Zion Temple. Although the plans unfolded slowly, Zion’s members finally agreed to sell.

Today, Living Water has 50 members and an average Sunday attendance of 80. It has seen 28 water baptisms and many filled with the Spirit.

On a visit to his wife’s parents in Abilene last year, Chuck Farina, associate pastor at Bethel Assembly, sensed God telling him to start a church there. When he shared his vision with Pastor Ron Meador, Ron said, "I’ve been praying for 20 years that God would raise up a church in Abilene."

Four families followed Farina to Texas, where New Hope’s first service drew 53. By late February, attendance had nearly doubled.

— Ken Walker


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