The River Church multiplies church planting
    February 9 2015 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

    Todd Brady was experiencing what he called “a season of disillusionment with the church” when he attended the State Evangelism Conference in February 2004. His spiritual frustrations were not about the church he was serving in Fayetteville, but with the state of the Christian church at large, its effectiveness in reaching the lost and how his calling fits in the equation.
     
    “I went to the State Evangelism Conference at Pleasant Garden Baptist Church in Greensboro that year,” he said. Bob Roberts, pastor of Northwood Church in Keller, Texas, was one of the speakers. “God used [Roberts] to ask me a ‘What are you going to do when you grow up?’ type of question. That’s when I really transitioned to plant churches.”
     
    Brady immediately became a serious student of church planting. “I was reading everything that NAMB had, going to church planting conferences and learning everything I could about church planting. I was convinced this is what the Lord wanted me to do,” he added. He became so preoccupied with church planting that some of the staff at his church asked if he was leaving and going to the mission field. “People were seeing it in my preaching and in my dialogue.”
     
    By the end of the year Brady and his wife, Angela, were ready to follow the vision God put on his heart.
     
    “We began in January 2005 with three families that did not previously know one another. God just brought us together,” he said. The core group met in the fellowship hall of Village Baptist Church in Fayetteville at 9 a.m. each Sunday. They looked like a “breakout Sunday School class,” Brady said, but everyone knew it was going to be a new church.

    river2-9-15-1.jpg

    Contributed photo
    Todd Brady, right, and members of The River Church do not let a little rain deter their baptism service.

     

    The group launched as North Village Community Church on March 27, 2005, but changed the name to The River Church (theriverchurchnc.com) two years later. “This coming March 27 we will celebrate 10 years,” he said. “In that time we have been in five different locations, setting up and breaking down every week.”
     
    Brady said they have received support from Village Baptist Church, the New South River Baptist Association and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
     
    Two years ago the church purchased approximately 10 acres of land. Recently they purchased a 7,500 square-feet modular facility that was used as a special forces barracks at Fort Bragg.
     
    “We found it on Craig’s List,” he exclaimed. “We basically gutted it, remodeled it, and the church members put about $200,000 of ‘sweat equity’ in the building. We contracted out the electrical, plumbing and everything that required licensed contractors.”
     
    River Church leaders paid a visit to the N.C. Baptist Foundation (NCBF) to discuss the financial needs. NCBF looked at the church’s finances and loaned the church money to buy the building, to grade six of the 10 acres of the land, to construct a parking lot, move the building to the land and upfit it – all for $650,000.
     
    “If we had to build that facility it would have cost us around $1.25 million,” Brady said. “Our mortgage payment is now the same amount we were paying to rent our office space and the school we used for worship. We scraped and saved and trusted the Lord. We feel this is good stewardship.”
     
    The congregation moved into their new facility on Nov. 23, 2014. A second service was added the first Sunday in January 2015 due to growth. Brady not only wants to plant churches, he wants to be a multiplying church planter – helping others plant churches.
     
    Some Korean believers have been meeting with them for a year. The services are translated into Korean. That group is scheduled to launch The Ark Church this month with plans for a 2 p.m. Sunday service in the same facility. The group, led by Pastor Jinho “Noah” Kim, meets Friday night at 7 p.m. for prayer services, which is characteristic of Korean churches.
     
    The River has called a church planter. Mike Klapp, a recent graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, will begin in May. He will be planting “Third Shift Church” that will meet on Thursday nights. It will target those who work the third shift or work on Sundays – especially in the food industry, according to Brady.
     
    “We have a large population, probably tens of thousands, that work the third shift at Goodyear and Walmart distribution,” he said. “The new Rooms To Go distribution center in Dunn will be a million-and-a-half square-foot facility. It’s huge, and will be a round-the-clock operation. This [church] plant has been a vision of mine for about five years.
     
    “Our desire is to use our facility very much like the churches in New York or Toronto do, where multiple congregations use the facility multiple days in the week,” Brady said.
     
    New churches struggle to buy land and build buildings. “We believe the use of our facilities should be to perpetuate churches that can perpetuate churches that can perpetuate churches, over and over again.”
     
    Two churches meet in the building now, and a third will be added by the end of the year. “We have plenty of nights and days left, so we’ll see what happens. We might have two or three more by the end of the year,” Brady added.
     
    To date 15 church plants have sprouted from The River Church. Five of those are in the Fayetteville community and 10 are in India. They partnered with two church planters in Bihar, India, who now pastor 10 churches. Brady admits that not all of the plants have survived. A mission to Hispanic migrants in Fayetteville was effective for a season, but dissolved, and the pastor moved away. One new church that has thrived is Fusion Church, in Spring Lake, led by Pastor Barry Lawrence. He now serves on the board of directors of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and has been an active participant in the Coats for Queens project in New York.
     
    Fusion is multi-ethnic. The name comes from the blending of multiple ethnicities together to worship God. Brady beams with excitement as he explains that Fusion is preparing to sponsor City Light Church in Fayetteville, taking the planting vision into another generation of new church starts.
     
    Fayetteville is a highly concentrated military community. “We have people coming and going every 18 months,” Brady explained. “So we would grow to more than 200 people then back down to 150, then back up and down again in continuous cycles. Now that we are in our new facility we have around 225 people in regular attendance.” The church’s actual membership is less than attendance.
     
    On Sunday mornings the church has worship services and children’s ministries. All small groups meet Sunday through Friday in both day and night gatherings – most are in homes.
     
    Chamar Café is a coffee shop in the new building. All proceeds from the coffee go to the Chamar people group in India. They are leather workers in Bihar from one of River Church’s plants.
     
    Brady loves his calling and the people of The River Church. “I told my wife yesterday, ‘the people of our church are so great that I just love to hang out with them, whether I never preach again ... I just love our people and being with them.’ We’re humbled to be associated with so many wonderful folks.”

    2/9/2015 12:31:13 PM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 1 comments
    Filed under: N.C. Baptists, State Evangelism Conference, The River Church




Comments
carolyn herring
PRAISE THE LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2/11/2015 10:26:55 AM

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