Planting and Strengthening Churches Together
Foundation Church Belfast is part of a wider partnership of local churches called the Advance movement. We link arms together and share our resources to plant and strengthen churches across the globe. Partnership enables us to achieve more together than we could alone.
A Rich Relationship of Churches
We began cultivating a relationship with Advance churches and leaders way back in 2017. As time progressed we quickly realised that there was a strong connection and shared vision between Foundation Church and the other the Advance churches in the UK.
Throughout this period of developing relationship we enjoyed several weekends hosting Advance leaders in Belfast. These leaders came and served, encouraged, and stirred us. They helped us see more of what God can do among us in Belfast and across Ireland.
In addition, David along with other FCB people attended various Advance conferences and gatherings. These helped us to deepen our connections even further as our church started to see the power of future partnership with Advance.
At the UK conference in November 2019 Foundation Church Belfast was formally recognised as an Advance partner church – the first on the island of Ireland. However we dream of seeing many more as we partner together to re-evangelise our land.
What does partnership look like?
During the covid-19 pandemic we have drawn on our friendships within the Advance movement for encouragement and sharing of resources. We have been galvanised as we learn together how to walk through these challenging times. Zoom chats, Whatsapp groups, phone calls, emails and blogs have been flowing thick and fast. They’ve been super encouraging during a time when a sense of isolation has been heavy.
For example, friends like Grant Van Schalkwyk (Redeemer Church Plymouth) and Mike Duff (Cornerstone Church Newcastle) have generously helped out our summer online teaching programme by supplying us with some excellent video sermons.
Advance Church Planting Course
Despite the numerous restrictions on ordinary church activities it is great to see the development of the Advance Church Planting Course (ACPC) over the summer. This is a two-year programme for anyone looking seriously at planting churches in the UK and Ireland – either new planters or as existing churches wishing to plant out new churches.
The Advance Church Planting Course focuses on the practical aspects of preparing to plant a church. During the two-year programme candidates will cover twelve areas of critical formation. Topics include raising leaders, marriage and family, discipleship, preaching, and soul care.
Significantly, ACPC offers an integrated approach that combines assessment and coaching (through the ACPC team) with ministry and training opportunities at a local church level. For more information email course leader Pete Cornford (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Churches Helping Churches
Advance is a global partnership of churches. There are currently over 115 churches working together across five continents. Advance consists of a wonderful diversity of churches in terms of context and ministry philosophy. However all are united around the four aspects of Advance partnership:
- Doctrine and Values
- Shared Mission
- Genuine Relationship
- Suitably Gifted Leadership
To find out what each of these aspects entails have a look at the Advance partnership booklet here.
Even though Foundation Church Belfast is in its infancy we have been able to support other churches financially during the pandemic. Partner churches in India, Nepal and Africa have felt the economic impact of covid-19 most severely. Therefore we have contributed to the Advance global relief fund to send financial help to support pastors and their families in these regions. Check out this message to hear more about our approach to churches helping churches.
For more information on how you could partner with Advance check out their website or email email@example.com. Better still, come and visit us one Sunday at Foundation Church Belfast.