Since 2014, PJ Smyth has devoted himself to establishing Advance, a family of churches committed to planting and strengthening churches, currently working on five continents.
Yesterday several interesting comments were made in regards to last Friday’s post entitled Is Covenant Life Church Changing Its Name and Asking Congregants to Reaffirm Their Membership? (see screen shots below)
The discussion peaked my interested, so I decided to do some digging regarding the Advance Movement. I first heard of it last year when the organization held its leadership week at Covenant Life Church. (see screen shots below)
The 2018 Advance North America Conference will be held later this year in California. Speakers will be P.J. Smyth, Alan Frow, and Donnie Griggs. You can read their bios here.
P.J. Smyth’s more detailed bio can be found on the Covenant Life Church website. The following portion was especially interesting.
As you can see, P.J. Smyth is the founder of the Advance Movement – a family of churches committed to planting and strengthening churches on five continents!
He also remains part of Newfrontiers, which is led by Terry Virgo, who happened to speak at CLC just yesterday. His sermon was entltled Identity in Christ, and in his message Virgo focused on grace.
According to the website, only 15 congregations have partnered with Advance here in North America, and 11 more are looking. Obviously, Covenant Life Church is one of them. Clearly, if CLC’s lead pastor is the founder of the movement, those CLC members who recommit have no real say in whether they will join Advance. (see screen shot below)One of the congregations that is partnering with the Advance Movement is located here in North Carolina. It’s called One Harbor Church in Morehead City. I remember when this congregation was first established because our family has a beach condo in the vicinity. Funny thing, it used by be affiliated with Acts 29 (see screen shot below).Years ago when we would go to dinner at the Morehead City waterfront, we would see the church in its old location (a store front). I used to joke with my daughters about attending this church incognito to see how much influence Mark Driscoll had on the pastors.
In the last few years, so much has changed with Driscoll and the church planting organization he founded (Acts 29). One Harbor Church is now part of Advance, and its lead pastor, Donnie Griggs, is one of the leaders of the movement. Griggs’ church now has a bigger facility in Morehead City and is planting other congregations in nearby towns – Beaufort, Swansboro, and Havelock. The Beaufort congregation meets in a small historic church, and the Swansboro group is just getting started in a small building, which we happened past when we visited the quaint town last fall. Cherry Point (near Havelock) is home to the largest Marine Corps Air Station in the world, so it will be interesting to see what happens with the church plant there.
In our upcoming post, we will explore the Advance website and discuss what is expected of a congregation when it decides to partner with this church planting organization. In the meantime, check out the Two-Minute Version. Here are a few highlights (see screen shots below).