Church Plant Partners
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:14-15
The Planting Opportunity
The proposal before you explains your opportunity by God's grace to make an eternal impact throughout Knoxville, East Tennessee, and the world. We are praying our Triune-God will use your initial partnering investment for the salvation and gathering of the elect for His glory and their discipleship in Knoxville. The church plant is named Christ Church Presbyterian. As Christ Church particularizes, our prayer and humble plan are to continue planting ordinary means of grace churches in partnership with like-minded PCA congregations throughout East Tennessee while supporting similar church planting efforts worldwide.
Sadly like many areas of our nation East Tennessee is losing a faithful gospel witness. A 2016 study detailed later in this proposal determined less than twenty percent of residents throughout the greater Knoxville area in Knox County attend any church, and only about seventeen percent attend an evangelical church. Our Knoxville neighbors need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, receive the Spirit's gift of faith, grow through discipleship, and need churches that obey God's Word in every area! It is heartbreaking that eight out of ten Knox county residents have no relationship with a local church and most likely no relationship with Jesus Christ Himself. Help us by God's grace to seek to change this using the means God gives His Church.
We are confident God builds His Church. Our daily prayer begs the Lord to establish Christ Church Presbyterian by gathering and making disciples of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit to the glory of God the Father, who love, worship, and live as God commands in His Word. We seek to accomplish this mission by God's grace and to His glory through the means of prayer, Word, and sacrament.
Your partnership in the church plant by God's grace will ripple across Knoxville, East Tennessee, and the world with continued great commission efforts of the church plant and the churches she plants for years to come.
Who Will Plant Christ Church Presbyterian?
God willing, He will establish and build the Christ Church Presbyterian through the means He has given. In the Summer of 2020, the Tennessee Valley Presbytery of the PCA approved Covenant Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge to pursue planting a new church in Knoxville in partnership with other PCA churches. Covenant's current Associate Pastor John Blevins will lead the planting effort. John Blevins grew up in a northern suburb of Atlanta. Twenty years ago, John experienced life in East Tennessee for the first time while playing football at Tusculum College in Greenville, TN. He then transferred to Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, where the Lord changed his life forever in two significant ways. First, our loving
Heavenly Father forgave John's sins through the death of His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit indwelling John gave him eternal life and adoption into God's family. Second, the Lord began putting together John's earthly family as He introduced him to his now-wife of seventeen years, Taylor. The Lord has blessed John and Taylor with three sons J.C. (15), Benton (13), and Walker (7). It was almost ten years before John answered God's call to ministry while an outside salesman for the nation's largest water and sewer supply company. After coming under the care of the Georgia Foothills Presbytery of the PCA, John graduated from Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. During seminary, John served Fellowship PCA in Greer SC as their pastoral intern. In 2015 John was ordained and installed as the Associate Pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge, TN. Whereby God's grace, he labors at the ministry of Word, prayer, and sacrament. John is committed to ordinary means of grace ministry, the regulative principle, historic presbyterianism, the Reformed faith, evangelism of the lost, and making disciples of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit to the glory of the Father.
During the summer of 2020, John joined three other ordinary means of grace PCA teaching elders who are serving as church planters in a Gospel Reformation Network "company of pastors." This company of pastors is GRN's first all church planters company. The four members of the company John is part of serve across the United States. TE John St. Martin serves a plant in Fargo, North Dakota. TE Porter Harlow serves a plant in Burke, Virginia, outside of Washington DC. And, TE Dan Naulty serves a plant in Jenison, Michigan. This pastor's company is a blessing and encouragement as all four church planters are like-minded and committed to ordinary means of grace church planting. Along with the mission churches each of these men serve, they discuss ways they may serve the broader church in encouraging others to get involved in ordinary means of grace church planting.
Pastor John and his wife Taylor believe the Lord has called their family to serve Him by partnering with local PCA churches to establish a new church in the Knoxville area. During the last five years, the great need for faithful gospel ministry in the greater Knoxville area has become apparent to the Blevins and weighed heavy on their hearts. John's greatest desire is to glorify God and be used by the Lord to make disciples of Jesus Christ. While not native to East Tennessee, the Blevins like to consider themselves locals. John has enjoyed meeting and serving his neighbors through Bible studies, mercy ministry, coaching youth sports, and volunteering. In the Summer of 2020, Taylor began her career as a registered nurse at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in downtown Knoxville.
Along with the great need for the gospel and faithful churches in Northwest Knoxville, providentially, John Blevins currently lives five to fifteen minutes from the Northwest Knoxville area. This distance is close enough for the Blevins to use their home for hospitality in the church plant's growth. Along with early-stage prayer meetings and Bible studies.
What is the Vision for Christ Church Presbyterian?
If the Lord wills, He will establish and build the church plant. Regardless of how large an interest group gathers, how much money pours into the plant, or how perfect our plans are, it is Christ alone who builds His church! For this is what we read in Matthew 16:18, where Jesus proclaims, "I will build My church." Keeping the truth that God builds churches in mind, we are pursuing committed, unceasing, faithful, Spirit-empowered prayer, asking the Lord to establish and maintain the work. Lord willing, interested families and individuals from Covenant and partnering churches will continue to join our efforts to plant the new church. By God's grace, the church plant's growth will come primarily through faithful evangelistic outreach in the Northwest Knoxville area by TE John Blevins and the interested group. This need for evangelistic growth is good because church planting means bringing the gospel to the area. Because the Bible tells us in Romans 10:14-15 that God saves sinners primarily through the preaching of His Word, we will begin weekly worship services as soon as possible. At the same time, we may pursue outreach through Bible studies, prayer meetings, and hospitality, but it is looking towards gathering people for Lord's Day corporate worship. We want to be clear to everyone that we are laboring by God's grace to establish a new church, in which the Spirit will gather the elect for corporate worship, discipleship, and the continued proclamation of the gospel. The church plant will bear the church's marks of the preaching of God's Word, the administration of the sacraments, and church discipline.
Christ Church Presbyterian, Lord willing, will particularize in three years. The rough goals for the growth of the work focus on size and not time. For example, the plan to grow the work from zero members to particularization may potentially look like the following. From zero to twenty adults, the focus of gatherings will be a meal and a guided prayer meeting by TE John Blevins. Moving from twenty to forty adults, TE John Blevins may lead one or several Bible Studies along with outreach, community-building activities, and guided prayer meetings. TE John Blevins may begin Lord's Day services for Christ Church from forty adults on, under the temporary session's oversight. When the work continues to grow consistently past seventy-five adults, potential officers trained, Christ Church is self-funding, and all requirements complete per the BCO, we will pursue particularization. These numbers may be less or more depending on how the Lord chooses to work, but this is the basic plan. The temporary session and TE John Blevins will guide the plant through the various stages of development and approval from Tennessee Valley Presbytery outlined in BCO 5 regarding The Organization of a Particular Church. After particularization, the church will focus on continuing to disciple the saints and multiplying new congregations through church planting in the surrounding areas of East Tennessee until Jesus returns. God willing, the new church will continue to grow through evangelism to about three hundred members and then send off an interest group to begin a new mission church in partnership with other ordinary means of grace PCA churches. Lord willing, an Associate Pastor of the Christ Church called to lead a new mission church, will serve the group branching off to establish a new mission church. We are praying the Spirit will use Christ Church to prepare men through pastoral internships for gospel ministry and specifically prepare men as Associate Pastors to lead mission churches into particularization. When one group leaves, Christ Church will repeat the multiplication process of growing, equipping, and sending.
Christ Church seeks to glorify God by obeying His commands regarding the mission, worship, organization, discipleship, and ministry of Christ's Church. We believe historic Reformed Westminstarian Presbyterianism is the most biblically accurate expression of Christianity. Christ Church will bear the church's historic reformational marks while ministering through the ordinary means of grace the Lord has given to His Church.
Christ Church believes in the Bible, Westminstarian Calvinism, a Reformed Worldview, the Lord's Day, Regulated biblical worship, morning and evening worship, expository Bible preaching, prayer, hymnody, inclusive psalmody, household baptism, Lord's Supper, church discipline, church planting, evangelism, equipping the saints, ministerial piety, diaconal led care for the poor, generosity, sanctification, church membership, Presbyterian church government, the fellowship of the saints, hospitality, and family worship, all for the glory of our Triune-God.