Church Planting Bank Funded with Over $1 Million

Cleveland, TN–In a historic move, the International Executive Council of the Church of God launched the Church Planting Designated Fund, often called the Church Planting “Bank,” with assets of more than $1 million dedicated to starting and building life-giving and life-sustaining churches.

After much work by the Council’s Budget Review Committee, a proposal was submitted for consideration that would have initially funded the “Bank” with $950,000. That proposal included funds previously allocated for church planting, along with other funds re-designated for church planting by the Budget Review Committee. The proposal also included a commitment by the Tennessee Church of God State Office of $100,000.

The 2016-2018 International Executive Council met in session on September 27-28, 2016 (click photo to enlarge)

The 2016-2018 International Executive Council met in session on September 27-28, 2016 (click photo to enlarge)

After the proposal was submitted for consideration by the Council, Pastor Tony Stewart, a member of the Council of Eighteen, sought recognition from the moderator. Pastor Stewart stated he knew that the desire of Dr. Tim Hill, General Overseer, was to launch the fund with $1 million. Seeing that the amount designated was short of that goal, Stewart offered to help reach the goal by giving $5,000.00 from his church, Citylife Church in Tampa, Florida. A challenge was then issued for other members of the Council to give towards the church planting bank as well. In an incredible outpouring of love and support for reaching the lost, more than $105,000 was immediately raised from members of the Council, far exceeding the $1 million goal.

General Overseer Hill noted that he has never seen such occur in the Council room: “When Pastor Stewart challenged us all to reach the $1 million mark by his generous gift, gifts were being offered so fast we had a hard time tracking what each member of the Council was giving. When Loran Livingston, pastor of the Charlotte Central Church, gave $25,000 from his church, the room seemed to explode with others wanting to contribute. The power and blessings of God just seemed to flood the room as we witnessed such an historic event in the midst of our business sessions.”

Arizona State Overseer Dr. Sean O’Neal, the author of the General Assembly resolution that created the Church Planting Designated Fund and a member of the Council of Eighteen, stated, “The leadership of the Church of God clearly took a huge step today in fulfilling the Great Commission. While I have been excited about the benefits of having a church planting bank, I never believed that we could have such up and operational so quickly. Two months after the General Assembly approved the concept, we are now close to seeing it implemented. The FINISH Commitment truly is in sight.”

The operations and procedures for accessing the church planting bank are currently being developed. To learn more about the church planting bank or to contribute toward the fund, please contact Mitch Maloney, Director of USA Missions, at (423) 478-7373.

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