By Michelle Williams
Since its inception in 1991, Grace Church has had a deep commitment to plant churches with similar philosophical values to its own. Over the years, the leaders of the church have helped to plant many new startups.
More than two decades later, Grace Church has initiated a comprehensive strategy called “re:generate” to plant new campuses of its own across the state of Indiana and internationally.
The expansion started with the September launch of the first of many satellite campuses in Fishers. Plans include new campuses in Bloomington, the north side of Indianapolis and the first international church in London.
Dave Rodriguez, senior pastor at Grace Church, says that the first step in starting a new campus is to develop the leadership and support team. Usually, a period of two years is allocated to develop the team prior to building a permanent site. Currently, the church has selected pastors for the Bloomington and London locations.
Grace Church is working with long-time Kenyan partner, Nairobi Chapel, to plant the London church. The church may be the first of its kind, formed on one continent by church leaders from two other continents. Project leaders have been unable to identify another example like it in their research, which includes contact with a wide network of other churches across the globe.
“It’s a formidable task,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a lot to blend.” Cultural differences will inevitably impact international locations. Rodriguez said the church is hopeful that the London church will be able to open its doors within two years.
He also said the expansion focuses on gateway cities in Indiana and internationally. Within the state, the major college towns are considered the gateways. He said the church aims to connect with students who come from all over the world, “with the hopes that they will return to their home countries with transformed lives.”