Acts 29 Network
||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (October 2014)|
|Associated people||Matt Chandler|
The Acts 29 Network is a network of church planting churches. It derives its name from the Book of Acts in the New Testament, which has 28 chapters, making Acts 29 the "next chapter" in the history of the church. A number of other Christian organizations also use the phrase "Acts 29" in their name.
The Acts 29 Network was founded in 1998 by Mark Driscoll and David Nicholas. Beginning September 17, 2007 with the Raleigh Boot Camp, Acts 29 began using Great Commission Ministries as its mission agency for fundraising and leadership training. Matt Chandler was appointed as the president of Acts 29 Network in 2012. Chandler announced plans to keep the network's objectives intact while reorganizing to address the global scope of the organization. He also, at the time, intended to keep Driscoll on the Board of Directors. The offices and leadership of Acts 29 moved from Mars Hill Church in Seattle to The Village Church in Texas in March 2012.
Other figures active in the early days of the Acts 29 Network included Dr. David Nicholas of Spanish River Church, Boca Raton, Florida; Rick McKinley of Imago Dei Community; and several other non-denominational and Presbyterian church planters.
On August 2014, Acts 29 removed Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church from its membership. According to the Acts 29 Board, this was due to "the nature of the accusations against Mark, most of which have been confirmed by him."
As of August 19, 2014, the network's board consisted of these members: 
- Matt Chandler | Board Member and President | Lead Pastor at The Village Church in Dallas, TX
- Steve Timmis | Board Member & Executive Director | Lead Pastor at The Crowded House in Sheffield, England
- Darrin Patrick | Board Member and Vice President | Lead Pastor at The Journey in St. Louis, MO
- Eric Mason | Board Member | Lead Pastor at Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia, PA
- Bruce Wesley | Board Member | Lead Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in League City, TX
- John Bryson | Board Member | Lead Pastor at Fellowship Memphis in Memphis, TN
- Leonce Crump | Board Member | Lead Pastor at Renovation Church in Atlanta, GA
|This section may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. (October 2014)|
Acts 29 is a diverse, global network of church planting churches that originated in North America and now has representation in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Latin and South America, Africa, and Asia.
The network has been described as part of the emerging church. However Darrin Patrick, Vice President of Acts 29 has pointed out "bad things" in the emerging church such as "the fascination with deconstructing almost everything while building almost nothing," and "ugly things" such as "conversing about God's Word [the Bible] to the neglect of obeying it, deviating from historical orthodoxy and the lack of clarity regarding issues of theology and sexuality."
Four Values of Acts 29
In 2012, Matt Chandler became the President of Acts 29 and outlined four values for the future of the network. As he states, "these aren’t complex and seem to me to be no-brainers, even though it might take years before some of them are a reality. I will be and am currently putting my efforts and influence to work in these directions."
- Plant Churches that Plant Churches
- Be Known for Holiness and Humility
- Become a Radically Diverse Crowd
- Be Serious about Evangelism and Conversions
The full brief on "The Four Values For Acts 29" can be found on their website.
The Mission of Acts 29
In July 2014, the network included 503 churches on six continents The stated mission of Acts 29 is to band together churches, which, for the sake of Jesus and the gospel, plant new churches and replant dead and dying churches around the world. Acts 29 makes no claim to be a model or a style, stating "[W]e have churches with live preaching and others with video-delivered sermons. We have independent church plants, replants, and existing churches that want to focus on planting new churches out of their existing congregations. Simply, we seek to be a movement of church-planting churches." A number of Acts 29 churches belong to a denomination as well. For example, Christ the King Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, North Carolina is a member of the Presbyterian Church in America, while The Village Church is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The Doctrine of Acts 29
Acts 29 claims to stand in the tradition of historic evangelical confessionalism, stating, "while we believe it is vital that the Elders of each of our churches determine where they stand on doctrines of second importance, we do wish to make known our convictions on the following five theologically-driven core values."
- Gospel centrality in all of life.
- The sovereignty of God in saving sinners.
- The empowering presence of the Holy Spirit for all of life and ministry.
- The fundamental moral and spiritual equality of male and female and to men as responsible servant-leaders in the home and church.
- The local church as the primary means by which God chooses to establish his kingdom on earth.
The full definition of the distinctives can be found here.
In early 2014, Acts 29 network member Sam Storms gave a lecture on the network's Distinctives in which he explains why they are important. In it he states [timestamp (3:32)], "We have no desire to be different for being different sake. That's not the purpose of these distinctives. We don't want to just stand out in a crowd and take a position that is contrary to others. We have no impulse or instinct to do that in Acts 29. We really do believe that these distinctives make a difference in how we live and how we minister... I'm not suggesting for a moment that in calling them 'distinctives' that other Christians don't believe them. I hope and pray that most do. We're not unique in our emphasis on these points, but we do emphasize them — that's the point! We unite around them, we strive for them... If you're wondering, 'Who are these people? What do they stand for? What matters to them?' The answer is found in these distinctives."
Steve Lemke of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary cited interactions with Acts 29 instead of local Baptist churches on the part of Pleasant Valley Community Church in Owensboro, Kentucky as a reason they were denied acceptance into the Daviess–McLean Baptist Association, saying, "those who want to be accepted should make themselves acceptable." Roger Moran, a former member of the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee and head of the Missouri Baptist Layman’s Association has criticized Acts 29 on matters of doctrine, vulgarity and drinking. In his view, Acts 29 and other emerging church movements have become a "dangerous and deceptive infiltration of Baptist life". Christian Piatt of the Huffington Post has criticized the network for disguising the traditional evangelical agenda of conformity and conversion behind the veneer of the new missional church movement. He also criticizes the emphasis on male leadership.
- "2014 Annual Report". Acts 29. 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- Evans, Lyndsey. "Acts 29 Network brings micro-churches to Fort Worth neighborhoods". The 109. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- "Acts 29 Ministry". 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- "Acts 29 Missions". 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- "Acts 29 Ministries". 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- Henard, William D.; Greenway, Adam W. (2009). Evangelicals Engaging Emergent: A Discussion of the Emergent Church Movement. B&H Publishing Group. pp. 8, 245. ISBN 0-8054-4739-3. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
- Thomas, Scott. "Happy Birthday and Happy 15th Anniversary, Mark Driscoll". Acts 29 Network. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
- Stetzer, Ed; Bird, Warren (2010). Viral Churches: Helping Church Planters Become Movement Makers. John Wiley & Sons. p. 89. ISBN 0-47055045-7. Retrieved 2013-02-02.
- "Annual Ministry Report". Great Commission Ministries. 2007. Retrieved Jan 12, 2013.
- "Fund Raising – Great Commission Ministries". Acts 29. Retrieved Jan 12, 2013.
- "GCM Partners". Great Commission Ministries. 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- "A Change of Leadership at Acts 29 Network". Outreach Magazine. Mar 28, 2012. Retrieved Jan 16, 2013.
- Murashko, Alex (Apr 11, 2012). "No 'Vision Shift' After Mark Driscoll Leaves Acts 29 Leadership". The Christian Post. Retrieved Jan 12, 2013.
- Driscoll, Mark (March 28, 2012). "A Note on Some Transitions". Retrieved February 2, 2013.
- Challies, Tim. "Meet the Ministries: Acts 29". Challies.com: Informing the Reforming. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
- "Acts 29 Network Removes Co-founder Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church From Membership (UPDATED)". Patheos. 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- "A Message from the Board of Acts 29 concerning Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church". Acts 29. 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- Moon, Ruth (8 August 2014). "Acts 29 Removes Mars Hill, Asks Mark Driscoll To Step Down and Seek Help". Christianity Today. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
- "Leadership - The Acts 29 Board". Acts 29. 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- "2014 Annual Report". Acts 29. 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- Jameson, Norman (21 March 2011). "SBC Pastors’ Conference slate raises ire". Associated Baptist Press. Retrieved 11 November 13. Check date values in:
- Palmeri, Allen (28 January 2008). "Theology committee tackles Emerging Church". The Pathway (Missouri Baptist Convention). Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- Patrick, Darrin. "Emerging Church - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly". Acts 29 Network. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- "Our Values". Acts 29. 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- "Four Values For Acts 29". Acts 29. 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- "2014 Annual Report (Acts 29)". Acts 29. 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- "About Acts 29 - Our Mission". Acts 29. 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- "About Acts 29 - Our Story". Acts 29. 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- "Why We Do It". Christ the King Presbyterian Church. Retrieved 7 April 2011.[dead link]
- "What is Our Denominational Affiliation?". The Village Church. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
- "About Acts 29". Acts 29. 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- "The Doctrinal Distinctives of Acts 29". Acts 29. 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- Storms, Sam (2014). "Why Our Doctrinal Distinctives Are Important". Acts 29. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- "Why Our Doctrinal Distinctives Are Important". Vimeo. 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- Lemke, Steve (Nov 4, 2011). "Thoughts on the Daviess–McLean Baptist Association Decision about Pleasant Valley Community Church Part 2: Reflections on the Significance of What Happened". SBC Today. Southern Baptist Convention. Retrieved Jan 12, 2012.
- Kaylor, Brian (June 24, 2009). "SBC Agencies Asked to Investigate ‘Cussing Pastor’". Ethics Daily. Retrieved Jan 12, 2013.
As messengers to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention walked into the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville, they were handed a copy of Missouri layman Roger Moran’s nearly 50-page Viewpoint document attacking the ‘Emerging Church Movement’ and the church-planting Acts 29 Network.
- Miller, Norm (Mar 20, 2007). "Alcohol, Acts 29 and the SBC". The Baptist Press. Retrieved Jan 12, 2013.
Moran addressed the Executive Committee Feb. 20 regarding his concerns relative to Acts 29, saying in part, ‘One of the most dangerous and deceptive movements to infiltrate the ranks of Southern Baptist life has been the emerging/emergent church movement. Not since the stealth tactics of the CBF (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship) have we seen a movement operate so successfully below the radar of rank and file Southern Baptists.’
- Piatt, Christian (Mar 1, 2012). "Evangelical 2.0: The Deception of Driscoll's Acts 29 Network". The Huffington Post. Retrieved Jan 12, 2013.
I'm all for congregational and denominational change. But when it's the same old white guys preaching largely the same old agenda, it smacks more of a desperate power grab than a genuine longing to better know and connect with the world around us.