We still have a few more considerations before we can move forward with ARC. First, ARC requires us to secure a "sponsor" church to come alongside us. We've asked Hannaford to be our "sponsor" church through ARC. In this case, a sponsor church is expected to believe in our vision enough to vouch for us both spiritually AND financially.
The sponsor church must really be sensitive to where God is moving and trust that He will complete what He begins. Although ARC will match all the funds we raise dollar-for-dollar (up to $30,000), if the church plant fails,the "sponsor" church will commit to repay the funds that have been provided through ARC. Even if the church plant is successful, these fund must be reimbursed from the new ministry.
With that said, we submitted a proposal to Hannaford in September - and then I had an opportunity in early November to meet once with the elders to explain our passion and how Hannaford can be a part of reaching this un-reached group. Their response was cautious, but we are still waiting to hear more.
Hananford is a great church home for many, but like many churches in Helena it has been largely ineffective at reaching the unchurched and dechurched of this generation. For Hannaford itself to be effective in reaching this generation, there is a good chance it would need to abandon it's core. A specific, targeted approach is required to reach this generation and it would be difficult and possibly unwise for Hannaford to make the required changes.
This is why I have asked Hananford's leadership to partner with us so that we can work together to expand God's kingdom in this way. We are currently preparing a list of specific ways Hannaford can help launch this new ministry of Encounter and are praying they will see the benefit of sponsoring us through ARC.