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Support the TVP's Church Planting Network

Updated: Jan 10

Because of faithful donors like you, our presbytery is able to support and equip our pastors for long-term health in ministry. Through these pastors and the churches they lead, the body of Christ is reaching the lost and renewing communities. Join us in supporting the ongoing work of Tennessee Valley Presbytery church plants and our Church Planting Network.

Family, Marriage, and Spouse Care

Women in the Tennessee Valley Presbytery at the May 2023 Church Planting Network gathering.

One way the Tennessee Valley Presbytery Church Planting Network is working to build healthy churches is through family, marriage, and spouse care. Currently, we offer three resources focused on this:

  • We offer planters and their families help from counselors connected to our network and presbytery.

  • We plan to launch an annual marriage retreat in 2024 for our planters and their wives. For those unable to attend the retreat, we hope to provide resources for planters and wives to help strengthen their marriage.

  • We partner with Parakaleo to support and value the role of women in church planting. Heading up the ministry locally, Mary Lu Strawbridge leads two groups of pastors’ wives. She says, “We meet monthly, connecting, caring for each other, celebrating, and coaching. When I became a church-planting spouse at 31, I would have loved to have some of these tools, teaching, and support. It’s really just about turning more quickly to the Gospel and applying it to our hearts. Parakaleo groups combat the loneliness that can come from being a ministry wife.”

Fundraising Coaching for Church Planters

In order to equip our pastors for some of the organizational work that comes along with ministry, the Tennessee Valley Presbytery offers our church planting pastors the opportunity to work with Canaan Group & Associates, a fundraising consulting firm. CG&A helps churches, schools, and other nonprofits with their fundraising plans and organizational effectiveness.

Greg Baney, planting pastor of Woodlands Gathering, says, “By working with CG&A, my approach to fundraising shifted to not only target individual donors, but also tell people the “why” of what we do–not just the “how.” As church planters, it is easy to gravitate towards discussing “what” we are doing and “how” we are doing it. We take for granted that people already know the “why.” As a result of the encouragement and mentoring from CG&A, we have been able to raise more than $22,000 and have recruited several new private donors.”

CG&A is also working with Mosaic Fellowship as they build church structure and implement a communications plan. Pastor Corby Shields says, “I’ve greatly benefitted from the high-level philosophy and theology of fundraising that CG&A has offered. Just as much, I have appreciated their practical and immediate help. They helped us formulate a communication plan.”

Testimonial from Holly Pelton, A Church Planting Wife

Corey and Holly Pelton

“Many, many thanks for your investment in the Tennessee Valley Presbytery Church Planting Network. With it, we are so much more equipped to minister in this place. The network has been a huge support and accountability to me and Corey as we moved to a rural area to begin a new work. Suddenly, we had no people looking for us, no like-minded or easily identifiable group with which to begin relationships or worship, no obvious structure of an established church ministry. At the same time, we became empty nesters. The role changes within our family and ministry, as well as a new and very different community, were a bit disorienting for me.

“The network has played an important role in this unfamiliar season. I so appreciate the care, support, and encouragement from the committee and Travis and Robin Vaughn. Travis and Robin have continually used their gifts to create gatherings with helpful content and connection for planters and wives who may feel isolated and/or ill equipped, especially in the early days of church planting.

“Wives have many unofficial roles in the planting process. Our quarterly network meetings and other connecting times have provided a place and structure for education, encouragement, and connection with other women in similar roles. We have been able to express and pray through personal, relational, or ministry issues that affect our ability to care for our communities.

“Knowing that Corey receives similar encouragement and accountability is a comfort to me. These supportive efforts have a huge impact in not only starting new churches and ministries, but also sustaining planters and wives in the ongoing work of taking the hope of the gospel to places that need it! Thank you again for your investment in this valuable resource for church planters and planting.”

“There’s Power in Corporate Prayer”

At the beginning of each quarterly Tennessee Valley Presbytery Church Planting Network gathering, we spend 50 minutes in prayer together. We believe that asking the Lord to guide us is essential to our work in the presbytery.

Hutch Garmany, pastor of Grace Community Trenton, says, “I really love that we start with prayer and that it's an extended time, rather than just opening in prayer. So often, when believers come together for events, we open with a short prayer. At the quarterly gatherings, prayer is a priority. We pray for each other, for all the churches in our presbytery, for the lost, and for our cities, towns, and counties. We call on the Lord to come and be at work in our presbytery. There’s power in corporate prayer. God is pleased with our unity when we’re united in prayer. That’s a part of what He’s up to in corporate prayer – uniting us together.”

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