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2002 Conversations

Ron McManus: Leadership center launched (December 30, 2001)

Norman Arnesen: History's supreme event (December 23, 2001)

Dr. Everett Bartholf: Help for the holidays (December 16, 2001)

"Auntie" Anne Beiler: God has a plan (December 9, 2001)

Mary Inman: Raising seven sons for Christ (November 25, 2001)

Tony Hall: Feeding the hungry, one person at a time (Novemer 18, 2001)

John Maracle: A growing Native American Fellowship (November 11, 2001)

Al Peterson: Praying for national leaders (October 28, 2001)

Beverly LaHaye: The family is God's gift (October 21, 2001)

Terry Meeuwsen: Putting family first (October 14, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Changing the world, one student at a time (September 30, 2001)

Nate Cole: You are not alone (September 16, 2001)

George Cope: Training pastors, missionaries and evangelists (September 9, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: Breaking down the barriers (August 26, 2001)

John Kilpatrick: The blessings and challenges of revival (August 19, 2001)

Marie Colwill: A passion for evangelism (August 12, 2001)

Lottie Riekehof: The Joy of Signing (July 22, 2001)

John Castellani: Teen Challenge: The Jesus factor (July 15, 2001)

Mike and John Tompkins: Publishing newspapers and proclaiming the Good News (July 8, 2001)

Chuck Girard: Music, marriage and ministry (June 24, 2001)

Stanley Burgess: The value of a godly father (June 17, 2001)

Dennis Franck: Single Adult Ministries Agency (June 10, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: The work of the Holy Spirit (May 27, 2001)

Stephen Tourville: The changing church in America (May 20, 2001)

Margaret Columbia: Raising 17 children for Christ (May 13, 2001)

Donna Fahrenkopf: Wanted: a life change (April 29, 2001)

Sean Smith: Spiritual attacks on young people (April 22, 2001)

Josh McDowell: Is the Bible true? (April 15, 2001)

Joyce Meyer: Being a practical Christain (April 8, 2001)

Paul Drost: Multiplication (March 18, 2001)

Bill Bright: Fasting for 40 days (March 11, 2001)

Beth Grant: Women in ministry (February 25, 2001)

Alicia Chole: His people and His presence (February 18, 2001)

Cris Carter: Playing on God's team (January 28, 2001)

Randall K. O'Bannon: The value of life (January 21, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Secular colleges: a vital mission field (January 14, 2001)


(March 18, 2001)

Paul Drost, director of church planting for the Assemblies of God, has a passion for church planting that dates back to his childhood when he watched his father successfully plant four churches. Drost’s own ministry includes leaving a successful pastorate to plant a church in Bel Air, Md., that mothered another young church. In 1999, Drost took the helm of the new Church Planting Department for the Assemblies of God. He spoke recently with Ashli O’Connell, assistant editor.

Evangel: Why is church planting a priority for the Assemblies of God?

Drost: Seventy-four churches, from all denominations, close their doors every week in the United States. In the last decade, 10 percent of the population has left the church entirely — that’s 27.5 million people.

God has blessed the Assemblies of God. We have 2.5 million adherents and vast assets. We must seek God for ways to use our resources most effectively to reach people with the gospel. One way is church planting.

Church planting is the Book of Acts’ way of fulfilling the Great Commission. Wherever the gospel was proclaimed, a church was formed. The fruit of the gospel must be preserved, and that is done through the local church.

Evangel: How do church plants differ from older, more-established churches?

Drost: We need both types of churches. It’s not an either/or situation.

Church planting is the most effective form of evangelism as far as reaching new people. It’s dramatic the number of souls that come to Jesus Christ for the dollar invested.

We’ve found that church plants can be very effective in reaching targeted segments of the population. We have church planters reaching certain ethnic groups, certain age groups, etc. We’ve found this to be effective because it flows out of who we are instead of trying to fit some preconceived idea of what church should be like. We need to think saturation, not competition.

Often, as churches age, the emphasis turns more toward discipling those within the church and developing programs for children and families.

Evangel: What does the national department do to help church planters?

Drost: We’ve implemented a system that’s having a 90-95 percent success rate for new churches. The plan has four steps.

First, we assess church planters. Individuals wanting to plant a church are interviewed, so they know whether they have the giftings to be the lead church planter or whether they should be a part of a team.

Second, we train. Attending a four-day boot camp is a requirement.

Third, we link church planters with coaches who will provide guidance and support through the process.

Fourth, we encourage churches to parent new churches. Healthy things reproduce. When you have a healthy church that parents or mothers a church, the spiritual DNA is transferred from that church to the baby church.

The Assemblies of God must be a church-multiplication movement.

Evangel: What can laypeople do to support local church planters?

Drost: The number one thing is to pray. If we don’t, we’ll be trying to accomplish spiritual things by carnal means. They might ask God if He wants them to be part of a church plant. Short-term trips are available where people with skills can assist. We have a number of church-planting home missionaries and local church plants that have vision, but lack finances.

Evangel: Anything else?

Drost: North America is the only continent where Christianity is not growing. We want to change that. No county in the United States has a greater percentage of its population in church than it did 10 years ago. Many counties have lost ground. America is now the third largest receiving nation for foreign missionaries. Cults are booming. There’s a great need for churches full of God’s presence, His power and His people.

There is a great church-planting movement going around the world, and as we say yes to Jesus we will see that happen here at home. The Church Planting Department exists to facilitate our constituency to plant healthy, effective, reproducing churches.

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