By Chris Moon
The Carolina Movement is growing and learning.
The four-year-old church-planting group in North Carolina is in the process of putting together a more permanent organizational structure as it prepares for its second statewide conference in April. The group has planted 10 churches so far and has connected with more than 30 churches that are helping financially to start even more.
The group is hoping for 150 pastors and church leaders to attend the conference in Asheboro, up from 50 at its first statewide conference last year.
Chris Hankins, lead pastor of Point Church in Raleigh, N.C., and a founding member of the Carolina Movement, said the conference will be a “mini-Exponential conference” and will enable pastors to “see more and more of what we’re doing.”
The Carolina Movement was formed in 2016 by Point Church and Lifepointe Church in Raleigh. The group currently has five “networks” of churches that are working to finance and assist local church plants. Four of those networks are in the Raleigh-Durham area. Another network is in the eastern part of the state.
Each network includes six or seven churches that donate at least $2,000 per year to a church plant over three years—hopefully adding up to support of around $50,000 during that time span and making each network a core supporter of a church plant’s initial funding.
And each church plant then pays the investment forward by helping to support additional church plants.
“The idea is to build that reproducing-church-planting DNA,” Hankins said. “In the past, church planting has been reserved for the Southeast Christian Churches of the world. . . . What we’re trying to do is lower the bar so everyone can be involved in [church planting].”
But this also is a time of growth and organization for the Carolina Movement.
Since its beginning, the group’s administration has been funneled through its member churches. But the network recently hired a bookkeeper to manage its finances, and it’s looking to hire its first staff member in the near future.
It’s been a learning process, Hankins said.
“It’s kind of an inhale-exhale,” he said.
After the initial flurry of activity in planting churches in its first years after starting, the Carolina Movement currently is catching its breath—or inhaling—as it better establishes itself to move forward. After this stage, the group will “exhale and plant more churches,” he said.
The goal, said Hankins, is to “change the spiritual landscape of North Carolina” through church planting.
The original goal was to plant 100 churches in 10 years. That aim has faded into the background as organizers have learned some key lessons about launching and sustaining a church-planting network.
“[Now] it’s more about making sure we’re doing it in a healthy way,” Hankins said.
And that means not just planting as many churches as fast as possible—but planting churches and helping to sustain them.
Hankins said it’s about planting the “right churches in the right way so that in the long term it’s sustainable.”
The Carolina Movement’s statewide conference will be held April 27 and 28 at the Caraway Conference Center near Asheboro, N.C.
Chris Moon is a pastor and writer living in Redstone, Colorado.