Upcoming Plant 616 Conference Aims to Raise Temperature on Urban Church Planting in Greater Grand Rapids

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Cutline No. 11111111Pastor Chris Hall: “We’re trying to see a movement of new church plants in the urban footprint of Greater Grand Rapids.” Pastor Chris Hall sees the Greater Grand Rapids area bursting with potential when people see themselves as missionaries immersed in the very neighborhoods they lives in.

Hall is among a handful of other local ministers who have locked arms to help birth a movement of planting new churches among the poor in urban Grand Rapids, Wyoming, Kentwood and beyond. That's a key reason why they're hosting their inaugural ecumenical Plant 616 conference slated for May 26. (See end of story for details.) The seminar is for church leaders who believe God is nudging them to establish new church plants.

A movement of church plants

"We're trying to see a movement of new church plants in the urban footprint of Greater Grand Rapids," says Hall whose church, Elevation Wyoming, and the CrossWinds consortium of churches, have launched Plant 616 as a catalyst to a church planting movement. The "616" refers to the local telephone area code and thus emphasizes the conference's community focus.

But don't look for new churches to sprout overnight. It takes time to establish relationships in urban neighborhoods, as the conference's speakers will cover.

Love their neighbors

"This is for leaders who to love their neighbors but don't just know how," says Hall. "Folks are good about sending resources overseas and that's great. But we want to raise the temperature to raise church planting in the city, in the neighborhoods, that don't show up in the Pure Michigan commercials. This conference is for any church leader interested in seeing the Gospel multiplied in the city, and indigenous leaders who want to be equipped in church based planting.

"We want to equip you help you form a team and commission you to form a church in the city."

Six speakers on deck

There are six speakers for the May 26 conference: Rudy Rubio, pastor of Reformed Church Of Los Angeles; Doug Logan, Jr., president and dean of Grimke School of Urban Ministry; Tyler S. Clair, pastor of Cornerstone Church in Detroit; Bob Engel, national director of the Urban Ministry Institute and head dean of Evangel School of Urban Church Planting in Newark, New Jersey; and Clarence Stamps II, pastoral resident at Calvary Church.


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Because in the end, there's more to life than climbing your way to a job promotion and beating the rush hour traffic.

"I think it's the long-term way we can see the gospel multiplied in the neighborhoods when God's people say, 'I'm not going anywhere,'" says Hall. "It's not going to happen overnight. I see a movement away from that larger, regional mega church. Younger people seem to have an appetite for a neighborhood church. I happen to see that's the best way to see our neighborhoods transformed: People acting as missionaries locally and just being really good neighbors over a long period of time."

What: Plant 616 Conference
Where: CrossWinds Church, 3815 S. Division, Wyoming MI 49548
When: May 26, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., lunch provided
Cost: $25 per person, $10 for students
More information: https://www.plant616.org/

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Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
Author: Paul R. KopenkoskeyWebsite:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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