St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church is growing.
Richard Kannwishcer, Lead Pastor of St. Andrew’s, recently announced plans to add a new campus in South Orange County by February 2017.
“God is on the move in the world and we seek to join Him,” he said. “Discipleship is inherently an active and externally focused pursuit. When we follow Jesus Christ in His mission, we are pushed beyond meeting our own needs and sent into new communities to reveal God’s goodness.”
Richard explained that planting churches is part of St. Andrew’s history and part of their 2020 Vision to create new ECO (Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians) churches from an existing church. The mission of ECO is: “To build flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ.”
“There are lots of great churches in Southern California and in that area, but it takes different kinds of churches to be able to respond and meet the needs of different communities,” Richard said. “Many times churches, especially established ones, are only adept and good at meeting certain needs.”
“It’s really important for the expression of Christianity in America to have lots of different kinds of churches,” he continued. “Churches are like fingerprints; no two are alike. When a local community of people gets together to dream and pray about how to bless their area, then beautiful things happen with the expression of the gospel there. “
Richard noted that a church growth strategy of the late 1970s through the 1990s was to not be associated with a particular neighborhood, but to be on a highway or somewhere highly visible. People then came from many different neighborhoods to the church, no matter what their community. He said that St. Andrew’s had the chance to do that by moving out of their neighborhood many years ago, but fortunately chose to stay.
He said that the pendulum is swinging back to churches being more closely tied to distinct neighborhoods. He also said churches have not kept up with the growth in South County.
“People are surprised by how quickly we’ve gotten to this point,” Richard said. “A community of people started incubating in our church, and they were ready to take the next step. These are people who love St. Andrew’s, but not the long commute they have from down south. There’s only so much involvement you can have with a long drive. The hopes of the church converged with the needs of a community that has grown. We want to come alongside them.”
Richard explained that over the past six months, a group of families and individuals joined with staff and lay leaders from St. Andrew’s to form a core team to pray, seek God’s will and formulate plans for the new church campus. Options under consideration for a potential location include existing church sites as well as commercial locations.
“We see this as the beginning of a journey of being one church in multiple locations and starting new communities,” Richard added. “But we will hold onto them lightly,
not control them. We want to resource and help them as they bless their neighborhoods. John Ortberg talks about our tendency as Christians to be ‘staytheists,’ meaning we tend to stay and get stuck in our patterns. But when we are able to take steps to go beyond our comfort zone, that’s when we experience God in a whole new way.”
For further information, visit sapres.org.
Contact Cindy at [email protected]