Relocate to Little Rock, Arkansas
The Smith family will relocate to Little Rock in August 2017 to begin this new adventure. We will quickly get settled into short-term housing provided by ACPN and begin the process of getting acclimated to Arkansas life again. Our three children will begin school. Sarah will work full-time to support our family and Ryan will work part-time, allowing him to complete a 10-month internship program.
Internship & Preparation
Two organizations, Arkansas Church Planting Network (ACPN) and Mission Alive (MA) will partner together to provide a comprehensive internship program designed to fully prepare and equip Ryan and Sarah for church planting. Through an assessment process, the program will be tailored to the specific training and experience needed. Although Ryan will be the main student in the internship program, Sarah will be an active learner as well, as time permits.
ACPN has committed to providing the majority of the funding for the internship program, as well as a Church Planting Coach who will guide us along our journey towards becoming strong church planters. Other educational opportunities will include training in fund raising, evangelism, and marriage enrichment. The most vital resource they will provide is a connection to seven other church plants and church planters in the state of Arkansas. This network will become an invaluable tool for the success and longevity of our mission in Little Rock.
Mission Alive will be responsible for the majority of our training pertaining to the nuts and bolts of church planting. They will provide ten half-day intensive sessions in Dallas, Texas that will cover twelve competencies of church planting. Those competences are:
- Sense of Calling
- Missional Engagement
- Vision casting
- Bold Faith
- Integrated Values
- Fundraising & Management
- Systems & Structures
Empowering a Team
MA will also provide practical training experiences that Ryan and Sarah will then put into practice in existing ACPN church plants. Finally, MA will provide an opportunity for Ryan to co-lead a Discipleship Cohort for Christian leaders and for Sarah to participate in another Discipleship Cohort.
During this ten-month internship, Ryan and Sarah will also be active in preparing for a Little Rock church launch in September, 2018. They will actively visit other church plants in Arkansas and build relationships with the church planters at those locations. One of those couples will also become mentors and guides as they move to the launch date. Ryan and Sarah will also be intensely researching and praying over the demographics and geography of Little Rock, seeking God’s direction for the best location of the church plant. As with any new venture, financial resources will be needed. ACPN and MA will help provide a portion of the startup funds, but Ryan and Sarah will also be actively fundraising during the internship phase.
Create Small Groups
One of the most important endeavors during the preparation phase is the launch of one to two small groups. These groups will serve two purposes. The first purpose will be to build a launch team for our new community. This team will be people who have been led by God to join in our mission to reintroduce people of Little Rock to Jesus. The second purpose will be to actually begin conversations with the “Dones" and the unchurched that God brings into our lives. It is our goal to have these groups going by January, 2018.
Launch Church Plant
The internship will be completed in June, 2018. Ryan and Sarah will then begin the final preparations for our Sunday launch in September, 2018. After launching the church plant, they will be actively seeking to become a self-sufficient church by September, 2020. It will also be our goal to then begin the process of launching another church plant in Little Rock in 2021.
These are human plans and goals. From the very beginning, we have been dedicated to listening for God’s leading and direction. We believe deeply that God has led us down this crazy and exciting journey, but we also want to be humble, recognizing that our plans may not be His plans. So, while we have a trajectory, we will strive to be willing and flexible enough to follow wherever God leads over the next years of our lives and ministry.