By Jennifer Johnson
“We didn’t set out to recruit three African-American church planters for our 2014 plants,” says Brent Storms, president of the Orchard Group, a church planting organization based in New York City. “Our goal is always to find the very best young leaders, and Watson, Jordan, and Derrick were simply the right people.”
Watson Jones will plant in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, an area rich in history and diversity, but with little church attendance and a growing Islamic community. Jordan Rice, currently a leadership resident at Forefront Church in Manhattan, will start a church in Harlem, once a dynamic African-American area that’s also home to large Asian and Hispanic communities. Derrick Puckett will launch a church on the west side of Chicago; Orchard Group reports that two recent studies ranked Chicago as one of the top three North American cities for racial segregation and income disparity, and Derrick hopes the new church will bring people together across neighborhoods and backgrounds.
“The Restoration Movement is guided by the example of the first-century church, which was often multiethnic and based in cities,” says Storms. “Each of these leaders will develop churches that really fit their communities and bring people to Christ. These are exciting partnerships—we didn’t try to orchestrate them, but we’re glad God did.”
Learn more about each of these church plants at www.orchardgroup.org/churches.