from Brent Storms, President and CEO
Orchard Group has been starting churches in and around New York City since 1948. That means a lot of organizational learning from trial and error, failures and successes. Three visionary leaders preceded me as President. Hundreds of board members have exercised sharp minds to refine the mission, values and practices of our ministry. Organizationally, we’ve been learning for a long time. It may be a cliché to say we are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us. It’s true.
Today, our four executive leaders utilize decades of our own personal church planting experiences to serve the next generation.
We may be young (two of us are in our 30s and two are in our 40s), but we’ve been learning for a long time. All four of us have undergraduate and graduate degrees from Christian colleges/universities, with an extra degree in law thrown in just for fun. We have sixty-five years of combined experience in church planting. We have personally served on staff with eight new churches and have overseen dozens more.
Remarkably, all of our new church staff roles occurred in cities or major metros. Boston. New York. Las Vegas. Mexico City. Bangkok, Thailand. Nagoya, Japan. Currently the four of us volunteer our time, along with our families, serving in local churches in Brooklyn, Chicago, San Francisco and near Philadelphia.
As we’ve expanded our ministry, we’ve been learning lots of new lessons along the way. Cities out west present different opportunities and challenges from the megalopolis along the east coast. Evangelism strategies in post-Christian European cities are necessarily different from those in pre-Christian Asian cities. Historically, we haven’t worked a lot with minority leaders in minority neighborhoods, but we are gaining experience very rapidly. Every year we’re presented with challenges we’ve never faced before, but… we’ve been learning for a long time. We don’t expect that to stop now.
We’re convinced that God has prepared us, organizationally and individually, “for such a time as this.” Orchard Group is uniquely equipped and positioned to start churches in major cities around the globe.
When Orchard Group was started, 30% of the world population was living in cities. Today it’s 50%, and by 2050 it will be 70%. Who will respond to the need for gospel centered churches in this era of unprecedented urbanization? We believe God wants us to join others in responding to this great need. Remember Him saying to Jonah, “should I not be concerned about this great city?” (Jonah 4:11) Imagine how many cities God is saying this about now! We want God’s concern to be our concern.
Do we have all of the experience we need? I’m sure we don’t. Will we gain it along the way? With God’s help, we believe we will.
Would you like to join us in making God’s concern our concern? Would you like to learn with us what it will require to start churches in the world’s major cities? We invite you to join us as God opens up new doors for His church in cities around the world.
Our vision is to start 10 churches in 10 global cities over the next 5 years. We need to raise $1.5 million dollars to recruit, assess, train and send these church planters and their teams. You can find out more on our Global Cities Initiative page. Would you be willing go there now and make an online donation, or set up recurring contributions, to join this effort?
Already, three church planters have been identified for three of these cities – Paris, France, Cape Town, South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria. Consider this… 40 million people live in these three metropolitan areas! Can’t you hear God saying, “Should I not be concerned about these great cities?”
Join us in this bold faith venture. We’ve been learning for a long time, but we’ve got a lot of learning left to do. We’d love to do it with you!