By Stan Friedman
TORRANCE, CA (June 19, 2013) – Life Covenant Church is planting its tenth church as it celebrates its own tenth anniversary this year.
“It’s always been part of our DNA,” says Pastor Tim Morey, who also assists the denomination’s Church Growth and Evangelism in planning new churches and training future planters.
Ten years ago, Life Covenant consisted of several dozen people sitting in plastic garden chairs in the Moreys’ living room. Already their focus was on other churches.
“People tell me the church was formally about 10 minutes old when I started talking about planting the next one,” Morey quips.
Morey said the congregation agreed that they would rather have 10 churches of 200 than one church of 2,000. They believed people grow stronger as disciples when they have the opportunity to know who they are worshiping with, and that growth will lead to greater impact in making other disciples.
Collectively, the churches have a weekly attendance between 800 and 1,000 people, Morey says.
Life Covenant was three years old when they started their first church plant.
Six of the churches are in Mozambique, and the other five, including Life Covenant, are in the greater Los Angeles area.
The congregation contributes an amount equal to 20 percent of their budget to church planting even though that funding is not included in the budget, Morey says.
Their commitment to starting new congregations means they run a lean operation. “I’ve got to hand it to our people,” Morey says. “They’ve really stepped up.”
Each new church is expected to operate with the same intent, Morey says. Life Covenant recruits planters who share the vision, but that plays out in different ways. Each congregation has its own unique outreach that reflects its community.
“Catalyst in Culver City is an exceptionally diverse church,” Morey says. That congregation already supports a missionary in Thailand who works with women who are rescued from sex trafficking.
Restoration Covenant Church meets on the University of Redlands campus and has a large population of students. “Their average age makes us look old,” Morey quips. Its outreaches have included ministering to people who have a family member with HIV/AIDS or who have lost a family member to the disease.
Crave Life Covenant Church recently moved to the middle of downtown Downey. “They are doing phenomenal work seeing first- and second-generation Latinos come to faith, and are garnering favor with city officials and the community at large,” Morey says.
The newest plant is Kehila Covenant Church. Kehila is the Hebrew word for “community,” says Morey, and the church planter Scott Nassau has Jewish roots. The church is being started in an area with a sizable Jewish community although there are no plans for the congregation to be a Messianic Jewish church.
Life Covenant is partnering with its daughter congregations to start the new church, and they are contributing $20,000 to the startup. Partnering with the younger congregations is exciting, Morey says, because it provides an opportunity to mentor those churches as well as for them all to work together.
In addition to the congregations nearby, Life Covenant has planted six churches in Mozambique. They are committed to minister at least 20 years in the impoverished African nation. “Mozambique is southern Africa’s most unchurched nation,” Morey says.
The congregations planted by Life Covenant are led by Mozambicans and intentionally serve the poor and hurting, which Morey says is a rarity among churches in that country.
Life Covenant also constructed Melanie Center, which serves both as an orphanage and as a community outside of Beira, Mozambique’s second-largest city. The orphanage has taken in children who are trying to escape physical and sexual abuse.
The Mozambicans named the center after a woman in Life Covenant’s congregation whose baby had died. In lieu of flowers she asked that the church give toward this orphanage. “We did, and the Melanie Center was born,” Morey says. The church is now constructing a second Melanie Center.
The ten church plants and additional ministries are just the beginning of Morey’s vision. He dreams of planting 1,000 congregations.