What is Acts 29?
Acts 29 is a trans-denominational peer to peer network of missional church planting churches.
What does Acts 29 do?
Acts 29 churches assist called and qualified pastors as they pursue their church planting dreams through assessment, coaching, training, funding, and friendship by connecting them with like minded people.
What are the distinctives of Acts 29?
Our men: We believe local churches should be governed by godly husbands and fathers who are biblically qualified elders serving under the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Head of the church.
Our mission: We believe Lord Jesus desires the planting of church planting churches.
Our message: We believe the reformed gospel about Jesus Christ is the central message of the Bible.
Where does the name Acts 29 come from?
There are 28 chapters in the book of Acts and it is our belief that God is at work today continuing the building of His church and expansion of His kingdom through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are simply seeking to follow in the pattern of Spirit-led and Scripture-directed church planting and evangelistic ministry that began in the book of Acts and has continued in every age since through God’s faithful servants.
Philosophy of Ministry
Does Acts 29 have a philosophy of ministry?
We are a peer to peer network, so there is no mandated philosophy of ministry. However, our missional perspective flows out of a very high view of scripture on the one hand, and a total commitment to engage contemporary culture with the gospel on the other hand, using every effective means of communication.
Therefore, most Acts 29 planters/pastors are biblically and theologically well-read. We study hard in the Bible because we believe a clear and orthodox understanding of the Gospel is critical. When it comes to the Gospel we do not innovate. When it comes to culture, however, we seek continually to be innovative in our means of communication.
Understanding this distinction is key to understanding our missional perspective. It shapes the specific philosophy of ministry which any individual church plant will adopt. For this reason most Acts 29 pastors preach hard-hitting expository sermons through entire books of the Bible, speaking the unchanging Gospel directly into the ever-shifting winds of contemporary culture. For examples of the preaching, worship styles, and expressed values of Acts 29 churches, please visit the websites of the churches we have listed in our directory: http://www.acts29network.org/churches/
What kind of churches does Acts 29 plant?
We are aligning under the gospel and not under a specific model or style of church. We have classic church plants (preacher gathers a core, launches a church), Missional Community models (that seek to replicate), multi-site video preaching, multi-site teaching team, replants and existing church plants that want to join to help plant churches.
Who leads Acts 29?
In Acts 29 there are three categories of involvement: Acts 29 churches, Acts 29 board, and Acts 29 leadership teams.
#1 – Acts 29 Local Church Elders
Churches planted from within the Acts 29 network are expected to agree to the doctrine and mission of our network. Additionally, they give 10% of their general tithes and offerings toward church planting as their primary means of mission. This money is not sent into Acts 29, but rather distributed by the elders in a local church directly to the church planter(s) that they decide to assist, whether the church planter is an Acts 29 church planter or not. Acts 29 does assess church planting candidates and provide recommendations to the local church elders but it is ultimately the decision of the Acts 29 local church elders to approve funding a church planter.
#2 - The Acts 29 Board
The Acts 29 board is comprised of experienced church planters whose passion is the mission of the gospel in the culture as the church for the glory of God. Acts 29 board members volunteer their time and resources to serve church planters out of a love for them. The Acts 29 board oversees the general direction of our movement in an effort to assist the local churches in planting church planting churches. The board sets policy, boundaries, general structures and direction for Acts 29.
#3 - The Leadership Teams
The Acts 29 Leadership Teams are comprised of some of the finest church planters in Acts 29 who volunteer time to build the various systems in our network such as regional networks, assessments, and coaching.
What does Acts 29 believe?
The short answer is that we are first Christians, second Evangelicals, third Missional, and fourth Reformed. The more lengthy answer is included under "Doctrine" on our website which intentionally omits some finer points of doctrine and secondary issues as we allow the elders in our local churches to operate according to their convictions on these matters.
What does Acts 29 not believe?
Because Acts 29 is often associated with other movements we frequently get questions about emerging theological controversies. To help clarify our beliefs we believe it may also be helpful to declare what we do not believe. In stating what we are not, we do not seek to attack those who disagree with us, but rather distinguish ourselves so that pastors considering joining our network are aware of who we are, as well as who we are not. Please see the What does Acts 29 not believe here.
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What kind of man is Acts 29 looking for as a lead church planter?
This is a key question because it hits the issue of the quality of man we believe God calls to lead a church plant. Mark Driscoll has written an article to answer this question, which you can read via the following link: "The Ox-Qualifications of an Acts 29 Church Planter".
What does Acts 29 consider a church plant?
A new church that is started with the intent of being an autonomous local congregation is considered a church plant by Acts 29.
What does Acts 29 not consider a church plant?
- We do not consider a “church within a church” a church plant.
- We do not consider an on-site video venue congregation that is part of an existing church a church plant.
- We do not consider a new service as part of an existing congregation a church plant.
- We do not consider a life-stage service such as a college, high school, or singles service a church plant.
What does Acts 29 consider a successful church plant?
- A successful church plant is self-governed by biblical elders.
- A successful church plant is self-funded without need of outside assistance.
- A successful church plant reproduces itself by giving resources to plant other churches.
Who is Acts 29 seeking to partner with?
- We are always seeking qualified men called of God to plant a church.
- We are always seeking to partner with like minded churches, denominations, and organizations who may want us to surface qualified church planters for them.
- We are always seeking partnerships with like-minded local churches that could use our assistance in helping them to be an effective church-planting church.
- We are always seeking to assist dead and dying churches that need to be replanted.
What distinguishes Acts 29 from other similar groups?
- We are not a denomination but do work with like minded people from various denominations.
- We do not require dues to receive or retain membership in our network.
- We do not divide over issues not addressed in our doctrinal statement (e.g. mode of baptism, charismatic gifts, eschatology), but rather allow the elders in our various local churches to define their doctrinal distinctives.
- We are not solely a regional network and assist church planters across the globe.
- We are not solely a national movement and do partner with national movement leaders outside of the United States to assist their church planters.
- We are not bound by a common church style and believe that each local church should have a style best suited for them to be simultaneously faithful to both the content of Scripture and context of their ministry.
- We do not license or ordain pastors or planters but leave that to their sponsoring church or denomination.
- We do not send planters out to locations of our choosing to fulfill our ideas or agenda; rather we seek to serve planters as they obey what God has uniquely called them to do.
What Covenant do Acts 29 planters agree to follow?
Acts 29 church planters and their elders covenant together according to the following essentials:
- In order to sustain the growth of the Network, 1% of our general income will be given consideration to contribute to the Acts 29 Foundation Fund. We recognize that this is a voluntary amount that can be decided at any point whether we will contribute or not. We understand that the monies given to the Foundation Fund will help fund Acts 29 International church planting, Boot Camp expenses and the annual Lead Pastors and Wives Retreat.
- We will give primary funding consideration (of our remaining 9-10%) to Acts 29 approved church planters at the discretion of our local elders and take into consideration any denominational agreements and affiliations.
- Furthermore, we agree to honor any agreement with a funding or sending Acts 29 church.
- We acknowledge that we will be participating in the spirit and not the letter of this principle and that our elders will determine what will be the healthiest course of action for us to remain a multiplying church on mission in our context.
- If we leave Acts 29 either of our own choice or for disciplinary reasons or we dissolve our church, we acknowledge that we will work with all of our funding donors, supporting churches and sending church to remain above reproach.
When is the appropriate time to apply to Acts 29?
If you are a lead planter, called by God, appropriately gifted, certain of the task which lies before you 12 months out from starting your church, it is time to apply. Please note that clarity of call is more important than a precise timeline (i.e. the 12 month figure is approximate, though the clarity of call is essential).
If you are unsure whether you are a lead guy, do not have a clear call, lack giftedness, are uncertain of what you are to do, and/or do not have a timeline in place, it would be better to patiently wait and seek the Lord for clarity and not submit an application with Acts 29 at this time. A helpful option may be to attend an upcoming Boot Camp to assist in exploring your call. Also, be sure to review "The Ox-Qualifications of an Acts 29 Church Planter" and prayerfully ask yourself if you are the man described therein.
If you have already planted your church or your the Lead Pastor of an established church, you can apply at any time.
Once I have submitted an online application, what then?
You begin to move through our application process, which essentially is the process of us getting to know you, and you us. The process has multiple steps moving through three stages: Applicant, Assessment, Candidate.
Initially, as an applicant, we will ask you to submit your resume, highlight your ministry background, and provide references pertinent to your ministry experience. We will ask you to tell us about your calling, your marriage, your theology, and your plans. We will also collect from you personality exams and a preaching sample. If all of that material is sufficient accordinging to Acts 29, we will then have a phone interview.
The most important aspect of our assessment process, though, is for you to come to one of our boot camps because it is here, in many cases, that we are able to meet face-to-face for the first time. This event is very worthwhile for the training alone, but for those applicants going through assessment it is critical. Here, we will sit down for an interview/coaching time with you and your wife (required). We will look at your strengths, your weaknesses, and your unique situation. We will help you consider your next steps as you pursue your dream to plant. This will finalize our formal assessment process, and provide you with our recommendations.
If approved through the assessmetn interview, the final application phase is the candidate phase. As a candidate you can begin to connect relationally within our various regions, and perhaps begin a coaching relationship with an experienced planter. You are also given access to the Acts 29 members only website so you can interact with all members of the network, learn from them, and access in-network resources. In this phase you gather your core group, develop your strategy, assemble your budget and project your needs. When your core group is growing and viable, your Acts 29 assessment team and leaders will officially approve your membership.
How does Acts 29 funding work, and when does it kick in?
Acts 29 is not a centralized organization with a big pot of money somewhere earmarked for funding. We are a relational, peer-to-peer network of churches that plant churches. We believe strongly that mission belongs in the hands of local churches, therefore it is Acts 29 churches that fund planters out of their own mission budgets. For that reason we cannot, as an organization, promise someone applying to Acts 29 that we will give them a specific amount of funds at a specific point.
Instead, what we do is assess, train, encourage, coach, and resource qualified men who have been clearly called by God to plant a church. As we get to know those men, and they build relationships with guys in our network, funding opportunities open up. Such opportunities typically open up for three reasons. First, every Acts 29 church planter knows exactly what it’s like to be starting out and desperately in need of funds. Second, every established Acts 29 church is committed to giving funds and supporting new church plants. Third, the Acts 29 network serves as an advocate for qualified planters and will help to match them up with established funding churches.
So, what does this mean to you, the planter who is applying to Acts 29?
It means that church planting must not be a "good idea" or a "fallback plan" because you don’t have to punch a clock nor do any heavy lifting. Your motivation to plant needs to be the clear call and command of God. You need to be willing to take a risk, step out in faith, and test that call. You need to draw on every personal resource you've got to raise preliminary funds and begin gathering your core group.
Applicants often ask us why we don't fund right from day one. Partly it's this issue of testing God's call. We want to give planters enough resource and help so that if they are indeed called by God, they will make it, but not so much resource that if they are not called by God they can make it anyway.
Additionally, it is also a very practical issue. An Acts 29 local church is not going to commit funds to someone they do not know, and who cannot show some fruit from their planting efforts and ministry. So, without apology, we believe that potential church planters should not be afraid to test their call, begin gathering their core group, and let the fruit of their ministry be seen.
There is also a very practical issue of timing. In the beginning stages of core gathering the financial need and time commitment is not so intense that a planter cannot be bi-vocational if necessary. Often times, being bi-vocational is an advantage as it allows the lead guy to connect with the community and build relationships with lost people (though we are not saying that everyone "should" be bi-vocational).
Acts 29 does like to see a viable, growing core group of 30-50 adults before funds are committed. It is often at this point that funding becomes most critical as a larger facility is needed as well as sound equipment, music equipment, video projection, marketing etc. It is an advantage for the lead guy to go full time if possible. It could be critical to keep the momentum going, to launch publicly, get some office space and move through to where you can begin to become self-supporting. Our goal is to see planters reach that point, and then be able to turn around and help another guy get up and get going in the same way.
What authors do Acts 29 pastors tend to appreciate?
One way to better understand our beliefs is to also consider some of the authors which many of our pastors appreciate. Among the older authors are such men as Augustine, John Calvin, Martin Luther, the Puritans, Charles Haddon Spurgeon and Jonathan Edwards. Contemporary authors include such men as John Piper, Wayne Grudem, Tim Keller, Lesslie Newbigin, and David Bosch. In addition, some of our men are now publishing such as Mark Driscoll and Darrin Patrick and their works are obviously also widely read by the pastors in Acts 29.
March 29, 2012
Event: 2012 Dallas Boot Camp
Author: Panel Discussion
March 29, 2012
Event: 2012 Dallas Boot Camp
Author: Matt Chandler
March 29, 2012
Event: 2012 Dallas Boot Camp
Author: Steve Timmis
Next Boot Camps
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - Thursday, May 23, 2013
Clear Creek Community Church
League City, Texas
Thursday, September 19, 2013 - Friday, September 20, 2013
Crossline Community Church
Laguna Hills, California
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - Thursday, November 07, 2013
Raleigh, North Carolina
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - Thursday, February 20, 2014
Christ Fellowship Church