Leaders from 17 churches gathered March 1 in Champaign for the first Multiply Illinois Hub meeting.
The 38 men and women who met at New City Church adjacent to the University of Illinois campus learned about opportunities and strategies to help create a church planting movement across the state. They also built connections with other ministry leaders in central Illinois. “I came expecting to hear about how to get involved in church planting, but what I found was much more holistic,” said Josh Parsons, pastor of Western Oaks Baptist Church in Springfield.
Multiply Illinois Hubs will inspire church leaders interested in church planting and equip them to lead with multiplication in mind, according to IBSA Church Planting Directors Kevin Jones and Paul Westbrook. Some leaders come because they want to pray for or financially support a church plant. Some explore the possibility of becoming a church planter. And some desire to see their church plant another church.
“There was information about how to multiply my leadership, multiply our churches evangelism efforts, and things like that,” Parsons said. “This is helpful now and will help us be prepared if God moves us into more direct involvement with church planting in the future.”
Population-dense areas of Illinois, such as Chicago and its suburbs, come to mind when mentioning church planting needs. However, rural areas and small towns often have little gospel witness, as well. There are 10 counties across central and northern Illinois with no IBSA church.
According to Jones, the Multiply Illinois initiative will continue planting in metro areas, while increasing pathways for planting in other regions. With a church multiplication goal in every sector of the state, these quarterly regional gatherings are planned throughout Illinois.
Jones said their team wants to help leaders, volunteers, and planters in all kinds of locations lead with the Great Commission in mind. “At every hub meeting, we are asking those who attend to do one thing they learned before we gather again for the next meeting. We hope this leads to them multiplying their ministry, leading to lives being changed, churches revived, and new churches planted in every community across Illinois.”