June 17 2014
By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga. — In what CBF’s Harry Rowland calls a “new season” for the organization’s church-starting efforts, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has selected Andy Hale to oversee its Church Starts Initiative.
Hale, a CBF church starter who serves as pastor of Mosaic of Clayton in Clayton, N.C., will work to broaden the awareness of church starting within the Fellowship and provide a support network to church starters.
Hale is a two-time graduate of Campbell University, where he received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees. With a core leadership group, Hale started Mosaic of Clayton in 2011 and was commissioned as a CBF church starter at the 2012 General Assembly in Fort Worth, Texas.
Prior to becoming a church starter, Hale served as associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Clayton, N.C. He has also served oversees in Sri Lanka with North Carolina Baptist Men. Hale and his wife, Jennifer, have a daughter, Madison (3), and are expecting a second child later this year.
In his role, Hale will work alongside Rowland, CBF Missional Congregations Director, to continue to develop an effective strategy for the Fellowship’s church starting efforts. Through this strategy, Hale and Rowland expect to increase the number of church starters commissioned each year and work with more new churches in the Fellowship who want to be part of the Church Starts Initiative.
Bo Prosser, CBF’s Coordinator of Organizational Relationships, expressed his excitement to have Hale in this position.
“Andy brings a breadth of leadership experience as a church starter and as a CBF Fellow,” Prosser said. “So, we’re very excited to have his energy and expertise.”
Rowland lauded Hale for his creativity and proven track record as a church starter.
“Andy’s love for the church, experience on the staff of an established church and his courageous calling to begin a new church start make him the ideal person to take CBF’s Church Starts Initiative to the next level,” Rowland said. “Andy is an eager learner, listens well, is creative, energetic and has a proven track record of faithfulness in all he has undertaken. I am confident that the Fellowship will be enriched by Andy’s ministry.”
Rowland also emphasized that a proactive church starting strategy is needed to reach the growing unchurched population in the United States.
“This new season for CBF’s Church Starts Initiative seeks to position church starting as a mission movement within the Fellowship,” Rowland said. “To reach the 40 to 60 percent of the U.S. population who are not attending church, either because they do not know Christ or are burned out on church, necessitates a more proactive strategy of working closely with CBF states and regions, CBF partners and seminaries and especially with those churches with a passion for church starting.
“We already see God calling out church starters. Now, as those who are called to journey alongside them in giving, training, equipping and praying step forward, CBF’s Church Starts Initiative will become the mission of God movement we know it can be.”
Hale said he looks forward to working with Rowland and the CBF staff and continuing the work of his predecessor, David King, who served CBF in the area of church starts for 10 years.
“To be asked to join such an excellent group of people is quite humbling,” Hale said. “It is exciting to step into a role with such an excellent foundation from the work of David King and to begin exploring new and innovative ways to grow the kingdom of God.”
The Church Starts Initiative will kick off a new cohort on July 6. During this eight-week cohort, participants will discern their calling into church starting and become better acquainted with the missions and ministries of the Fellowship. Participants who do discern a call to be a church starter will attend an exploratory conference in October. Those that complete this process will be commissioned at the 2015 CBF General Assembly in Dallas, Texas.
“The Church Starts Initiative is not only an effort to facilitate a discernment process for those wrestling with a call to start a church, but it is a drive to provide adequate support for our church starters,” Hale said. “We want to provide excellent coaching and mentor relationships, leadership development, continuing education, financial support and spiritual renewal for our church starters.”
For those who wish to learn more about CBF’s Church Starts Initiative or want to contribute to the initiative to help fund new church starts and coaches for church starters, visit http://www.thefellowship.info/churchstarts/ and contact Andy Hale at firstname.lastname@example.org.