The Value of Partnership

May 29, 2020

After over 15 years of ministry and never preaching, a friend asked me to speak to his church outside Richmond, VA about church planting. So I did.

And I bombed.

And it really bummed me out. I am OBSESSED with church planting because I have seen first-hand how church planting is effective at bringing hope to communities. I was so excited to tell my story and challenge this church to be a part of stories like it by supporting church planting.

I expected people to be excited, but they weren’t. A dozen people didn’t come up to me after my message to ask how they can be a part of church planting. They came up to me to invite me to the post-church potluck or to ask me about how I met their lead pastor.

I committed to getting better and I sought out my friend Bert Crabbe, who coaches preachers from all over the world.

Ten years ago, I was on the launch team for a new church in Annapolis, MD. My best friend, Josh Burnett, had been in ministry for several years, but this was his first go as a lead pastor. He knew, and we knew that this church could change hundreds, perhaps thousands of lives by being the hands and feet of Jesus.

Every day, we were hopeful and excited, and if I’m honest, we DID NOT want to bomb.

Enter Stadia Church Planting.

Our church, Revolution Annapolis, partnered with Stadia Church Planting and other church planting organizations along with several local churches. Josh worked with our project manager from Stadia all the time, while I was getting connected to worship pastors. We “planted pregnant” with a church planter in residence, Scott Ancarrow, who Josh met at Church Planter Assessment Center. Josh’s wife, Sarah, became heavily involved with Bloom Church Planting Women, where I know she found community, encouragement, and training. Stadia’s leaders, especially Tom Jones and John Wasem, were frequently reaching out to Josh to encourage him and ask how they could pray for him.

Every day, Stadia was hopeful and excited, and if I’m honest, they DID NOT want Revolution Annapolis to bomb.

I eventually became the executive pastor at Revolution, and I remember the first time I connected with the bookkeeper that Stadia provided for us. I wanted to get a clear sense of our finances as we planned an event where we expected to spend $20,000+ in a local grocery store to help stock food pantries around our county. Peggy’s response was short, simple, and perfect. She said, “You got this. What you are doing for your community is worth it. Go do it.” Since then, I have gotten to know Peggy a lot better, and I’m confident she was praying for our church.

I’m happy to report that Revolution Annapolis did not bomb. We are about to turn 10 years old. We have helped pay of millions of dollars of medical debt. We have provided nearly a million meals for people in need. We have seen marriages healed. We have seen addictions abandoned. We have seen dozens and dozens of baptisms.

Also, we have invested in many church plants in our region and beyond, and every day, we are hopeful and excited, and if I’m honest, we DO NOT want these churches to bomb.

The work is too important, it’s too exciting, and we are so hopeful! PLUS CHURCH PLANTING IS FUN!! Bombing isn’t.

You know what, there are going to be bombs from time to time. With Bert’s help, and with the help of others, I’m getting better at preaching, but I still have rough Sundays. Revolution still has big struggles (like where are we going to meet after this quarantine ends? Our old elementary school seems unlikely). Still, we know that partnering with people who believe in you and in your vision and mission will help you avoid major potholes and help you get back up quickly when you do stumble.

If you want to plant a church, we want to celebrate that with you; Stadia and Revolution.

If you want to see churches grow and multiple, we want to celebrate with you; Stadia and Revolution.

If you’ve bombed, but you want to get back up, we want to celebrate with you; Stadia and Revolution.

Since 2003, Matt has been involved as a volunteer leader and/or staff member in the early stages of four church plants. Two of these churches benefited from Stadia, so he has experienced first-hand how partnering with Stadia benefits churches. Matt has his MBA and has worked in project management in the medical research and development field. Previously Matt has served Stadia as the Director of Global Church Planting and Operations Executive. His passion is to maximize church planting through leadership and bringing clarity to the leaders he serves.

Matt Murphy

VP of Operations, Stadia