For the last two decades, new church planters launching in Arizona have largely come from out of state. With the goal of raising up more local leaders, North American Mission Board church planting catalyst Kyle Rosas and Ray Meadows, pastor of CrossLife Church in Anthem, have a heart to change that.
Together with the Arizona Campus of Gateway Seminary, they have created Kingdom Residency, a program designed to ignite people’s hearts and train them to be part of planting churches in Arizona.
“Our goal is to create a culture where 50% of church planters are raised up within the state of Arizona,” said Rosas, who has served as church planting catalyst in northern Arizona for a year. “We still plan to recruit out of state, but we know it’s important to raise up our own.”
Rosas and Meadows hope to accomplish this through the newly established Kingdom Residency.
CrossLife and the Arizona Campus of Gateway Seminary have a goal to create a residency that’s reproducible anywhere. Not just for planters, this leadership residency is viable for college students, college ministry leaders, future pastors, youth ministers and children’s leaders.
“With so many obstacles to derail ministry longevity, our focus is sustainability, long-term growth and ministry health,” said Meadows, who established CrossLife Church in Anthem and has been there eight years.
Meadows and Rosas have a relationship that goes back more than 10 years when Meadows taught Rosas at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Cordova, Tennessee, and they have stayed connected. Before coming to Arizona, Rosas spent six years at a church he planted in rural Montana.
“Every participant is going to get three key elements [through the Kingdom Residency],” Rosas said. “They will receive training, coaching and practical experience. What energizes me is that anybody can do this. It’s not complicated. People who are searching for their calling and willing to work with us, our passion is to develop and position them to be fruitful.”
Kingdom Residency provides three unique pathways.
The first pathway is for the intern and is geared for college students. This two-month summer experience allows students to get practical experience in community engagement and for spiritual growth — developing a healthy, growing Christian lifestyle.
The second pathway, called a multiplier, is a longer-term track focusing on developing the healthy missional leader to be able to make disciples. This pathway opens the door to access academic studies at Gateway Seminary. The objective is to build up children’s, youth, outreach and mission-minded leaders, which would include members of a church planting team.
The third pathway of residency leadership focuses on the more experienced missional leader, such as the church planter, or domestic or international missionary. The goal is to prepare the leader for application and assessment with NAMB or with the International Mission Board.
“For years, church planting in Arizona has been largely dependent on the ‘parachute planter’ who is expected to have some level of overnight success,” Meadows said. “What is unique about this model is that it provides a long-term pathway for sustainable maturing leaders and disciples. We know it takes time for leaders to mature.”
Another critical component of this new residency is coaching. Coaches are vital to developing leaders and missional workers because they have experience.
“The coach brings into the relationship raw transparency on the lessons learned through failure and success,” Rosas said. “This is the opportunity for one-on-one mentoring where there is evaluation leading to personal development. The coach listens, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, provides the right wisdom, guidance and encouragement.”
As leaders work together in cohorts to provide mutual encouragement and support, they learn as a group.
One of the best aspects of this residency track is the ability to get hands-on experience during the training. CrossLife and Gateway Seminary are connected to multiple churches and outreach organizations, including those who reach out to the tens of thousands of internationals who have moved to metro Phoenix.
There are international mission fields at our doorstep where ministry experience can be gained.
“We’ve been told by leaders in local ministries to refugees there are as many as 30,000 Somalis who live in the Phoenix area, with no apparent believers,” Meadows said.
Financial need should not be a deterrent to those interested in the Kingdom Residency. Gateway Seminary offers financial support to students with a need.
“We are thankful for the strong partnership with Gateway Seminary,” Meadows said. “Because of this relationship, we can provide scholarships and academic support.”
- Start praying for the leaders in your circle of influence to multiply.
- Study your community and prayerfully consider where you need mission engagement the most.
- Pastor, what leaders in your church are experiencing a call to missions and ministry? What’s your plan to develop them? Reach out to Kyle Rosas at firstname.lastname@example.org, Ray Meadows at email@example.com or Monty Patton at firstname.lastname@example.org and have a conversation about the development of potential leaders.