Sent people send people. In Acts 11:22, the Bible tells us, “The report of this [a great number of people believing] came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.” Shortly after, we read about the new church at Antioch in Acts 13:3: “Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”
Once again, people who had been sent starting sending others to different geographic locations. It’s the story of how new churches are started and people are reached with the Gospel.
This is also the story of Legacy Church in Stanardsville, a new church plant led by church planter Adam Schwenk. Since starting public services in February 2016, Legacy Church has seen God work in amazing ways—with over 55 baptisms and people continuing to come to faith in Christ. This past Easter, Legacy gathered with over 650 in attendance to celebrate the resurrected Jesus!
Pastor Adam initially served on staff at The Point in Charlottesville with church planter Gabe Turner. As they both grew in their desire to reach surrounding communities, Greene County came to mind.
“We had a significant core from Green County attending The Point—[people who were] driving 45 minutes or more to church each week,” says Pastor Gabe. “While they were more than happy to continue the drive, the unchurched of their community were reluctant to attend [The Point] because of the distance. The best solution to continue to reach the unreached was to plant a life-giving body in that neighborhood.”
With a location identified, it was time to find a church planter. When Adam and Lynn Schwenk came to The Point to serve on staff, they already felt called to plant a church one day. The Point hired Adam with the intention that he would learn valuable church planting skills on staff and would be sent out to plant a church. It was only fitting that he would be the planter for the Greene County plant.
“My time working with Pastor Gabe and the remarkable pastors, staff, and group leaders at The Point has been one of the most formative and rewarding seasons of my life,” says Pastor Adam. “Their love, camaraderie, and passion have developed my devotion to Christ’s bride and my understanding of Christ’s servanthood.” He adds, “For me, it goes back to my personal ambition to glorify God with my life. He doesn’t call everyone to lead a church plant, but we are really good at making excuses for reasons we shouldn’t.”
This DNA of church planting did not happen by accident. The Point had also been sent out by a partnership of churches—New Life Community Church in Louisa and Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg—who pooled financial resources and people to plant a church in Charlottesville. These churches are leaving a legacy by creating pipelines of leaders and planting new congregations to reach the unreached.
Advice for Churches Desiring to Plant
Sometime the journey to follow His leading requires us to release treasured ministry and responsibility in order to pursue Christ with greater abandonment. This is one of those moments for me.
– Pastor Adam Schwenk
Sending people to plant is a very scary and beautiful step to take. It’s like welcoming a baby into the world—you experience everything from the joy of new life to fear of changes that are required. Prepare yourself to experience a range of emotions as you take the step and allow God to sanctify your heart through the process.
– Pastor Gabe Turner
Things to Consider When Sending
- Is there a potential church planter in our church right now whom we could identify and train?
- Is there a geographic location from which people may be driving that could be the location for a future church plant?
- How will I prepare my congregation for sending?
All Scripture references are from the English Standard Version (ESV).