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August-September 2016


Relentless Parenting


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The Latest: An Update From North American Ministries

By Brad Ransom


In 2014, nearly every leadership role changed at Free Will Baptist Home Missions. Dr. David Crowe became executive director after serving the department for 18 years. Dr. Brad Ransom was hired as director of church planting. Rev. Jim McComas began developing the new role of director of church revitalization. Master’s Men, under the direction of Ken Akers,became part of North American Ministries in 2015. Rev. Rick Bowling continued his role as director of Hispanic Ministries and Col. (Retired) Kerry Steedley began serving as volunteer director of Chaplain Support. Most recently, after 25 years, Ida Lewis retired from her post as publications editor.

With the addition of Master’s Men and a reemphasis on other vital ministries, Home Missions began doing business as Free Will Baptist North American Ministries. While not an official name change, we’ve shifted our terminology to begin using more applicable and missiologically correct terms. The most noticeable is the shift from the term missionary to church planter.

Along with a new name and new people, many roles have been restructured. Our primary purpose as a department always has been (and always will be) planting churches. With the changes in leadership, we began working hard to evaluate and make necessary changes to our roles, systems, processes, training, and so on.

Our church planting process was improved to help us plant more churches and see them reach self-supporting status faster, while providing better training and resources to the entire team. This begins with our application and assessment process.

We follow proven guidelines and strategies to send called and qualified church planters to plant churches in North America. An important new area for North American Ministries is the development and launching of a church revitalization program.This multi-faceted program has already had a huge impact on established churches in our denomination. Dozens of churches have benefitted from various forms of the program during its two-year history. We are excited to see churches given hope, pastors encouraged, and people excited about their churches. We stand ready to help many more churches in the future.


Updates From the Field

Here are just a few highlights from among the many things happening at North American Ministries:

  • Twenty-two new church planting families have been approved for service with more starting the process.

  • Seven churches have reached self-supporting status.

  • Several church plants are on target to reach self-supporting status by the end of the year.

  • Three legacy church projects (revitalization) are seeing great success.

  • In the six months between October 2015 and March 2016, approximately 200 salvation decisions were reported (in English-speaking churches).

  • On average, 2,000 people attend a North American Ministries church plant each week.

Although these statistics are in bullet point form, each number represents a life-changing experience that will last for eternity!


Church planters recently reported the following exciting news:

  • Plans to go self-supporting in the next year and beginning plans to plant a second church - Nate Altom / Tommy Jones, Greensburg, Pennsylvania

  • Adding a third Sunday morning service in the next few months - Jeff Goodman / Josh Bennett, Marana, Arizona.

  • Six people accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior on the Sunday after Easter - Chad Kivette / Brian Lewis, Clarksville, Tennessee.

  • Launched a new church the last Sunday of January 2016 with 264 people in attendance. Reported 12 conversions in February - Marc Neppl / Kevin Bass, Portsmouth, Virginia.

  • Salvation decisions reported every week, with 19 conversions in February; the church is full - Myron Scott / Jason Huff, Gilbert, Arizona.

  • Buying land to build their first building - Jason Weaver, Winchester, Virginia.

  • Twelve church planters and associates currently raising funds to start new works: Marshall Bonéy, Virginia Beach, Virginia; Chris Davenport, Kaneohe, Hawaii; Adam Garrett, Wytheville, Virginia; Johnny Isenberg, Sherman, Texas; Jordan Ledbetter, Taylorsville, Utah (associate joining current work); Jamie Lee, Champaign, Illinois; Travis McKenzie, Ashland, Ohio; Terry Miller, Ft. Collins, Colorado (legacy project); John Moran, Apex, North Carolina; David Osborne, Wytheville, Virginia; Carl Spruill, Kaneohe, Hawaii; Chris Willhite, McKinney, Texas.


Chaplain Updates

  • Chaplain (COL) Terry Austin will move from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he has served as installation chaplain (senior chaplain on post), to Fort McNair, Washington, D.C. where he will serve as the Command Chaplain, Military District of Washington.

  • Chaplain (MAJ) Tracy Kerr is being transferred from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Ft. Stewart, Savannah, Georgia.

  • Chaplain (CPT) Lee Frye will attend the Army Chaplain Career Course at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, departing his assignment at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.

  • Chaplain (CPT) Roy Swisher was expected to retire this summer but has received a one-year extension to continue serving as a reservist on active duty at Fort Lewis, Washington.

  • The following chaplains will remain on their current assignments: Chaplain (MAJ) John Carey at Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Chaplain (MAJ) Kevin Trimble at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Chaplain (MAJ) Brad Hanna with the Oklahoma National Guard; Chaplain (LT) Mark McCraney at the U.S. Navy Base in Rota, Spain.




©2016 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists