North American Mission Board Partnership in Pennsylvania and South Jersey Aims for ‘Multiplication Movement’

Joseph Velarde, lead pastor of Riverbend Community Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Send Network Pennsylvania/South Jersey missionary, prays for North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell during a church planter orientation in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Nov. 7, 2019.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (BP) — Faced with more 14 million lost people across its region, the Baptist Resource Network (BRN) of Pennsylvania/South Jersey has partnered with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) for the past several years to plant churches in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Now, the Send Network partnership is extending to the entire Pennsylvania/South Jersey region, supporting church planting across its sprawling rural farmlands, mountains, coastland, urban centers and small towns.

“This new initiative is going to assist us in strengthening our strategy in seeing more new churches started within our two-state area that we ultimately expect will become healthy multiplying churches,” said Barry Whitworth, BRN executive director and former lead church-planting catalyst for Pennsylvania/South Jersey and BRN/NAMB Send City missionary for Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, two of NAMB’s 32 Send Cities.

Whitworth’s long-time vision has been to see every church “become a healthy, multiplying church,” focused on the healthy behaviors of missional engagement, intentional discipleship and leadership development.

“We’ve already been partnered with NAMB as it relates to the Church Planting Pathway in our two Send Cities,” he said. “It just makes sense now to initiate this partnership all across our 16 million population.”

Joe Velarde, lead pastor of Riverbend Community Church in Allentown, Penn., is leading the Send Network Pennsylvania/South Jersey efforts, which began March 1, 2020, under the direction of Whitworth and Cliff Jenkins, BRN’s director of multiplying churches.

Velarde started Riverbend in 2009. Along with his team, he has helped start and walked alongside six new churches in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York City, and Denmark through the Riverbend Church multiplying church center that was established in 2011.

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Source: Baptist Press