Church Planting Initiative

Why Church Planting
With a population of approximately 1.2 million people, Erie and Niagara County make up the largest region in Western New York. Of that population, only about 10%, at best, attend an evangelical church of some sort. That’s a staggering 120,000 people out of more than one million that are connected to a local fellowship of believers. As the Church, those numbers should be troubling to us, as it represents a large number of souls living in this region who do not know Jesus as Savior. However, we strongly believe God is not done in our beautiful region! He is still on mission redeeming a people back to Himself through His Son. His desire is to see every man, woman, and child have an opportunity to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

What would it look like if all of Western New York were saturated with the gospel? And how would that be accomplished? There are many different factors that help answer those questions, but a good place to begin is planting more churches especially in areas where they are lacking. This will give people more opportunities to hear, see, and respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

About the Church Planting Initiative
The Church Planting Initiative (CPI) was formed through the Church of WNY’s desire to work together to saturate our area with the gospel. Church planting is nothing new in Western New York, but those that were doing it, were doing so independently. With the failure rate of this model being dismal at best, the question was asked, “What would it look like to bring these groups together and partner towards seeing saturation happen?” The answer provided a much more intentional focus toward building relationships with each other and working together on the common goal of gospel saturation in Western New York. 

CPI fully believes in the idea that church planting can only be done through kingdom partnership and much more can be accomplished together than could ever be accomplished separately. This mindset not only helped leaders work through strategies for church plants but also helped in being able to resource new expressions effectively.

The goal and hope for the Church Planting Initiative is to see all of Western New York saturated with the gospel. This means every community located in this area would have a flourishing gospel presence and that ultimately, lives would be transformed through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

CPI Residency Program
The process for church planting is not as simple as choosing a location and starting. There is a copious amount of time that goes into prayerfully considering the individual proposing a church plant, what other expressions exist in that area, and what it ultimately means for saturating all of WNY.

CPI began as a grant program that provided a level of funding, coaching, community, and strategy to approved local church planters over the course of a year. Although this approach brought about some desired outcomes, a need for something more became evident. That something more was the development of a church planting residency program.

The purpose of the CPI Residency Program is to train, equip and build community for pastors who desire to plant churches so that gospel saturation will be realized in the Western New York area during our lifetime. CPI’s approach for gospel saturation gives new church planters the advantage of having an experienced church planter come alongside and walk with them on the journey to launch and fruitfully grow a local expression of the Church. 

Through a comprehensive application process, the CPI team prayerfully evaluates each opportunity and identifies eligible candidates interested in planting churches or are in the beginning phases of planting. During this process, CPI helps planters with strategy and input in relation to the larger picture of church expressions in our region. 
The application period is typically open during the first quarter of the year and applications are made available online for a limited time. Church planters desiring to apply outside of the open application period are welcome to provide the CPI Directional Team with a proposal for their church plant. This assists the Directional Team with planning; however, it does not secure participation for a church planter in an upcoming CPI cohort.

Residency Scholarship Support
There is no cost to apply for CPI’s Residency Program and applicants accepted into the program receive a full scholarship from the Church of WNY. This is our investment into the future of the Church in WNY. In light of the significant investment of “time, talent, and treasure” into each Resident, those participating in the program must come with a recommendation from a Church of WNY pastor and commit to the two-year course.  

CPI Support Team
CPI needs you on their support team to help make church planting a reality for current and future residents. The generosity of this program is funded by local churches and individuals with a heart and vision to see gospel saturation in our region for the glory of God. Churches and individuals within Western New York are invited to support CPI in several ways. 1) Pray for the CPI Directional team, and for the Residents and their congregations. 2) Church planters with established congregations are invited to invest time, wisdom, and share experiences with residents to help to grow a healthy church planting culture in our area. 3) Give financially to support the CPI Residency Program. 4) Become a Sponsoring Church for a Resident. 5) Host and/or lead a training module during the program. To learn more about CPI and these opportunities, please contact us.

CPI Residency Program