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2009 Conversations

2008 Conversations

2007 Conversations

2006 Conversations

2005 Conversations

2004 Conversations

2003 Conversations

Joy Williams: Rooted in Grace (December 29, 2002)

Judy Rachels: Christmas gifts (December 22, 2002)

Ralph Carmichael: New music for a timeless message (December 15, 2002)

Roger and Greg Flessing: Media, ministry and society's ungodly messages (December 8, 2002)

Rick Salvato: Meeting medical and spiritual needs around the world (November 24, 2002)

Asa Hutchinson: Drug Enforcement's top officer (November 17, 2002)

Bill Bright: 'Not I, but Christ' (November 10, 2002)

Ray Berryhill: Living by faith (October 20, 2002)

Owen C. Carr: Reading through the Bible 92 times (October 13, 2002)

Curtis Harlow: Combating campus drinking (September 29, 2002)

Wes Bartel: Making Sunday count (September 22, 2002)

M. Wayne Benson: The Holy Spirit knocks (September 15, 2002)

Dr. Richard Dobbins: Understanding Suffering (September 8, 2002)

K.R. Mele: Halloween evangelism (August 25, 2002)

Roland Blount: God makes a way for blind missionary (August 18, 2002)

Cal Thomas: Finding a mission field (August 11, 2002)

Lisa Ryan: For such a time as this (July 28, 2002)

Dallas Holm: Faith and prayer in life’s toughest times (July 21, 2002)

Paul Drost: Intentional church planting (July 14, 2002)

James M. Inhofe: Serving Christ in the Senate (June 30, 2002)

Karen Kingsbury: The Write stuff (June 23, 2002)

Michael W. Smith: Worship is how you live each day (June 16, 2002)

Wayne Stayskal: On the drawing board (June 9, 2002)

Fory VandenEinde: Anyone can minister (May 26, 2002)

Thomas E. Trask: Pentecost Sunday (May 19, 2002)

Stormie Omartian: Recovering from an abusive childhood (May 12, 2002)

Luis Carrera: Beyond the Shame (April 28, 2002)

Tom Greene: The church of today (April 21, 2002)

Philip Bongiorno: Wisdom for a younger generation (April 14, 2002)

Deborah M. Gill: Christian education and discipleship (March 24, 2002)

Norma Champion: Becoming involved in politics (February 24, 2002)

Steve Pike: A candid discussion about Mormonism (February 10, 2002)

Raymond Berry: More to life than football (January 27, 2002)

Sanctity of Human Life roundtable: Doctors speak out (January 20, 2002)

Chaplain Charles Marvin: Ministering in the military (January 13, 2002)

2001 Conversations

Intentional church planting

(July 14, 2002)

Paul Drost is director of church planting for the Assemblies of God. He recently spoke with Staff Writer John Cockroft.

EVANGEL: What is essential for a church plant?

Drost: You need the right church planter at the right time for the right reasons. A church planter must possess the faith, entrepreneurial spirit, and the ability to speak the vision to others. Planters must have the support of the district and other members of the church plant core group. Half of our church plants continue beyond five years, but we want to raise that to more than 90 percent.

EVANGEL: Is church planting a solo effort?

Drost: We teach a team ministry philosophy. In addition to the planter, ministry partners must have the same level of commitment to the church plant. They should go through a period of gestation prior to the opening of the new church. This is similar to a business, which operates prior to its grand opening for a smooth transition from training to full operation. This should take about three months. Our goal is to have 50 adults to start.

EVANGEL: How are church locations determined?

Drost: Sometimes a district or parent church has a strategy for a particular area with no A/G church. Candidates go through an assessment process and pray about going to a certain area. Other situations are approved or denied based on a specific request.

EVANGEL: How many churches are being planted?

Drost: In the Decade of Harvest, we opened more than 2,900 churches. In the first quarter this year, we opened 75 and hope for 300 this year. I would like to see 750 to 1,000 planted per year. In Australia, the A/G went from 9,000 to 170,000 adherents in 22 years. We need to prioritize church planting. We must become intentional, not accidental, about the process.

EVANGEL: What challenges must be overcome?

Drost: Territorialism can happen when neighboring pastors see a new church as a threat. The answer is a relationship with other area churches and especially with the A/G. Church planters need the support of the Fellowship. Districts with strong coaching and support systems, such as the Rocky Mountain and the Ohio districts, are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of new churches. Additionally, the number of church planters making applications to plant there is increasing.

EVANGEL: Why focus on specific people groups?

Drost: It’s biblical — the Book of Acts says some went to Gentiles, others to the Jews. It’s good stewardship to concentrate resources on the people God has called the planter to reach.

EVANGEL: If church planting stopped today, how would it affect the church overall?

Drost: The blessing of God would leave (see Hosea 9:16). Lyle Schaller, a well-known church growth consultant, says denominations have two purposes: to plant churches and to send foreign missionaries. If one or both is missing, it is the beginning of the end for that denomination.

EVANGEL: Are older pastors planting churches?

Drost: Several pastors in their 40s and 50s are planting churches to obey the call of God. When we understand God’s calling (2 Timothy 2:4) we do it. The thrill of something new is also a factor. Most of our church planters have been in ministry before.

EVANGEL: Is there a formula for church planting?

Drost: There is not a set formula; in its basic form it’s about fulfilling the calling God has placed on your heart in the smartest way possible. It’s people willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill that call. We must support them. We need to welcome church plants like we welcome a new baby into the family.


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