Hundreds of church planters and their lead teams converged in Birmingham, Alabama in April to set the foundation for future churches across the country. The annual ARC conference in Birmingham offers new pastors and church leaders an unique opportunity to learn, connect, and prepare as they enter the early stages of establishing non-denominational, life-giving churches.

ARC, the Association of Related Churches, exists to helps church planters realize their dreams to establish churches in their local communities. By providing support, resources, funding, and guidance, ARC leaders work to set new churches up for success. Each year when these leaders gather at the ARC headquarters is Birmingham, they network, receive prayer, and attend educational sessions critical to launching and growing a church. In addition to the April conference in Birmingham, a second ARC conference is scheduled for September 25-26, 2018 in Anaheim, CA hosted by Eastside Christian Church.

ARC provides church planters with resources, online training, and $30,000-$50,000 towards a launch

The vision for ARC started in 2001 when Greg Surratt, the pastor of Seacoast Church in Charleston, SC, told his church he felt they were supposed to plant 2000 churches. From there, a team of six pastors from around the country came together to build the ARC model and provide funding for the first two launches. The effort proved to be a success. These initial church plants became New Life Church in Arkansas and Church of the Highlands in Alabama, both multi-site churches that share Jesus with tens of thousands of people each week.

Because ARC founders believe a network of churches can provide crucial support to pastors starting out, they offer mentoring from some of the fastest growing non-denominal churches in America. ARC’s lead team includes leaders such as: Randy Bezet, Rick Bezet, Christine Cain, Joe Chapman, Herbert Cooper, Matt Fry, John Grey, Chris Hodges, and Stovall Weems. In addition to these partnerships, joining ARC provides church planters with resources, online training, and $30,000-$50,000 towards a launch.

Currently directed by Dino Rizzo, ARC is built on generosity and the mindset of “pay it forward”. The funding these church planters recieve has been given by churches that have come through ARC before them. New churches start re-investing lunch dollars through their missions giving so that church planters coming after them have the same opportunity. Today, ARC churches give over $15 million to missions each year.

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Joy Miller is the editor of Birmingham Christian Voice. Joy has a passion for to see God’s people tap into their potential and pursue their dreams. As a writer, editor, educator, and mother of teenagers, Joy works to help people grow and develop their gifts and talents. She holds a Master’s degree from Clemson University and has also studied at The University of Michigan, The University of South Florida, and Samford University. Joy has resided in Birmingham for the past 8 years where she and her family are active members of Church of the Highlands. At church and in the community, Joy uses spiritual gifts of intercessory prayer and giving on a variety of leadership teams.