A Partnership to Start Thriving & Healthy Churches

Apr 21, 2021

Meaningful relationships are the foundation of all great partnerships. When we all work together, we advance the Kingdom together. This is why we’re excited to share about a partnership that has been forming with Multiply Vineyard; a church planting organization. Because when we work collaboratively, we start more thriving, healthy churches. 

Listen in as Nathan ‘Chivo’ Hawkins of Stadia and Corey Garris of Multiply Vineyard talk about partnering in a shared vision of starting new churches for the next generation.

 Why We Need More Churches 

We’ve said it time and time again that new churches are the best way to reach those who don’t know Jesus. Church planting changes lives! But, many still ask the question: why do we need to start more churches? A report put together by the Pinetops Foundation puts this into perspective. Chivo gives some insight into a shift Stadia made in 2019: 

The pivot we made back in 2019 was a pretty radical shift to move from network to platform, which we did intentionally. We took a look at the shape of church planting primarily in the U.S., heavily influenced by a report put together by Pinetops Foundation. They identified that church planting across the board haplateaued. We had been seeing 4,000 new churches being a started a year across the board. On average, 3,700 to 3,800 churches were closing before Covid. Of course, covid is accelerating that up to 5,800 a year. So, we went from a net gain of maybe 200, 300, maybe 400 to a net deficit of 1500…this compelled us to say, we need to do something differently. 

It’s apparent that if the Church wants to not only maintain the current number of churches but to grow the Church we need to triple that growth. 

Enter our ‘no strings attached’ model that removes obligations from church planters to commit money to Stadia in hope of opening up the ability to better start and grow churches and fulfill the great commission. 

Multiply Vineyard  

Multiply Vineyard is the church planting organization of Vineyard USA, a movement of 550+ congregations in the U.S. birthed 40 years ago with a dream to follow Jesus, embrace his kingdom, and reproduce healthy local churches that engage our communities with hope and healing. 

Multiply Vineyard welcomes a variety of diverse and creative methods of reproducing healthy churches to join with what God is doing in every town and with all kinds of people. They are all about equipping and supporting the women and men who are called to lead these churches. Through the process of church planting or sending out a church plant, Multiply Vineyard acts as a guide to come alongside Vineyard pastors and planters as they discern, training them for success and coaching them through each step along the way. 

The Partnership 

Multiply Vineyard’s discerning church planters are those who are going through the process to see where and how God is calling them into church planting. Stadia is able to come alongside and get to know those planters and help them through their discerning process with Stadia’s Church Planting Assessment Center – a process that assesses and affirms a potential planter’s readiness and aptitude to start a new church. 

‘We want to align with Multiply Vineyard to really serve your planters along that discernment process,’ Chivo further explained, So, if someone comes to you and they’re discerning, we want to help that process, we want to affirm that calling. Our discovery process is designed to be a mutual discernment process. You introduce us to a leader, we get to know that leader, that leader gets to decide what role Stadia and Multiply Vineyard plays. We’ll help with that process – which includes our Church Planting Assessment, a 4-day process that we’ll all do together collaboratively.’ 

After this assessment, there’s another ‘Define the Relationship’ conversation to see what support Stadia can provide – such as bookkeeping, project management, coaching, networks, learning communities, etc. It’s about the relationship and being able to offer what the church planter needs.  

Chivo sums it up, ‘There are lots of different models and expressions [of church] and we want to serve them all.’ 

Unity in Mission  

‘…I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you an in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you send me and have loved them even as you have loved me.’ John 17:20-23 

Multiply Vineyard and Stadia are partnering not to defer some of the work to one another – but to collaboratively work together and walk alongside one another in the process. Corey frames the partnership as this: We walk together hand in hand. Stadia is partnering with us; we are walking down those tracks together.” 

Corey reflects on the evolving Stadia and Vineyard partnership, ‘I saw the other day, there’s 50 some potential Vineyard planters connected to Stadia at some point, so things are moving quickly!’ He then asks Chivo, ‘What are you excited about in this partnership? 

‘It sounds cliché – it’s all about the relationships,’ Chivo explained, ‘We take Jesus’ prayer in John 17 to heart. Jesus prayed that we would be one, so that the world would know. There’s a purpose for the unity Jesus prayed for. That purpose is mission. When we can align on mission, I think that is one of the most powerful testimonies that we as a Big C church have. 

Corey shares the Vineyard side of the fence,  

We love the relationship like you said – just knowing we are like-minded. One our first meetings with your team, someone said, Let’s think about building a structure to plant 100 churches together in a year. I knew then that we’re like-minded; these are our people right here. As a movement, we’re looking for people who have been there and done that. You are the experts as it relates to assessment and project management, etc.’ 

This partnership is exciting because it’s designed to truly serve church planters and their sending churches by providing robust services and support.  

Chivo added, ‘Something I look forward to from Multiply Vineyard is that you guys are really spirit led. We’re going to learn more about what does it mean to lean into the spirits guidance, and how can we celebrate all the different expressions of the church. I think that something we’re going to learn together. 

Stadia and Multiply Vineyard are looking forward to the Kingdom collaboration to come as we learn together how to start thriving, healthy churches of all expressions and models.