Jeffery Portman's Story
This month I’d like to share with you that the Church is alive and well. It’s hard to believe that just a few short years ago we were learning how to do church differently, remotely. We were not gathering in the way we’ve always done; we weren’t gathering in the biblical mandate (Hebrews 10:25).
That season of remote or online Church was fruitful, and many people who would not have physically visited a church were able to hear the Word of God and be ministered through the internet. That was both a challenging, and growing time for the people of God.
We now find ourselves having taken a 180-degree turn! While information abounds about church decline and high numbers leaving the Church, I want to share a different picture. We are seeing record numbers in several of our churches and not just in attendance but also in people dedicating their lives to Christ.
We are seeing exponential growth among our body of believers. That presence is not just found inside of the church, but outside of the walls, in the community.
The Church Multiplication Network’s goal is to launch 500 churches each year. While we have not reached that milestone yet, we are well on the way! I would like to share some numbers that reflect how your giving is making tremendous impact for the kingdom. Allow me to highlight some of the return on your investment.
The CMN team is helping move the mission forward. Since 2008 over 4,600 churches have been added to our Fellowship. 2022 marked a record year for launching trainings among the CMN community, in part, because we added multi-site training. About six percent of our portfolio of churches have multiple campuses. Those sites (6%) account for approximately 62% of the new churches! It is for that reason that we decided it would be wise to add a multi-site training to CMN. The CMN team is now training for multisite at launch of each new church.
Pastor Jeffery Portmann who leads the movement, shared that “CMN is growing in diversity, so that there is no ethnic majority. We will have broad representation, that looks just like the kingdom of God.” To support that, the CMN content is translated into Spanish, but the training is now available in Spanish too. In 2023 we will host one Spanish training and two more next year.
CMN has matching funds and post-launch funding available to local churches to support the work they are doing.
There are two specific ministries who have partnered with CMN and are having great success and momentum in their local community.
Pastor Benito and Jennifer Fresquez are in the middle of a building project at Freedom Church of Round Rock, Texas – just outside of Austin. He acknowledges that the relationship with CMN has been a catalyst to their unprecedented growth. What do I mean by unprecedented? Well, pre-2020 their attendance was right around 300. Today, they are building a 600-seat sanctuary to accommodate their growing church family, including seeing conversions from other religions into the body of Christ. Praise the Lord!
And it’s not just the people but the giving has also doubled! Their budget went from $500,000 to now operating with $1,000,000 per year! God is good and faithful.
What I am most excited about is the way the local community is reaching out to Pastor Benito. Their impact is immeasurable, and only heaven knows how wide their net has reached because of the way they step outside of the church. Freedom Church has a reputation that precedes it and because of that, whenever there is a need, Mayor Craig Morgan knows he can count on Pastor Benito. Whether that need is to support the elderly, cleaning up after storms or serving Thanksgiving meals at the Juvenile Detention Center, the city of Round Rock knows that this Assemblies of God Church, birthed out of CMN is ready with hands to the plow. Not only is the church growing in numbers and budget, but also in influence. What better way to expand the kingdom of God than right outside of our doors? We celebrate that Pastor Benito, his family, and the staff at Freedom Church were commended by winning the City of Round Rock Community Partner of the year!
The second ministry I want to share with you is Christian Faith Center with Pastors Jordan and Amanda Hodges at the helm. In partnership with CMN, they have launched three locations!
Pastor Hodges shares that the practical training from CMN has catapulted their growth. He serves as a trainer and is invested in the strategic partnerships formed within the CMN community. Coming alongside a tribe that believes in what you are doing – because they are doing it too – has been encouraging. The Pastors are able to garner new ideas and glean from one another as they learn and grow. Pastor Hodges shares that the training provided has served them well because of the cultural context. If you’re in a rural community, there is practical training for that. If you’re in a big city, there is practical training for that. And everything in between.
CMN has provided financial support and matching funds for each satellite of Christian Faith Center. And now, three of their four sites have launched extensions. What does that mean? There are three ethnic churches that are using their locations, one in Slavic and the other two in Spanish.
What a joy to know that the growing diversity is becoming intertwined within the Assemblies of God. There has been such a strategic outreach component within Christian Faith Center and it’s extensions. The Spanish extension hosts an event called “Love Idaho” where the church is giving away food, clothing and providing mobile healthcare. The most important number Pastor Hodges wants you to be aware of is this: 1,050 – the number of public declarations and first-time decisions for Christ – hallelujah!
In addition to their multisite church, Pastors Jordan and Amanda launched a church that is now independent! This church is in northern California. Situated in a location with some of the highest welfare, crime, and addiction rates in California they too are focused on being the Church to the community through outreach such as worship nights in the park, partnering with Tiny Pine Foundation building tiny homes for the displaced whether because of wildfires or homelessness and many other initiatives.
There are creative and momentous things happening across the Assemblies of God and the Church Multiplication Network, to God be the glory! We believe we are going to reach the 15,000 churches and will have more churches, more pastors, more diversity and ultimately, more disciples of Christ. CMN is leading the world for funding church plants on a broadscale, and that is in no small part thanks to your commitment in giving. The kingdom of God is alive and well – and growing. And that health is coming from within the local church.
General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God