Acts 29 Network
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|Associated people||Matt Chandler|
Acts 29 is a family 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.
Acts 29 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.
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 July 10, 2016, Acts 29'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
- Brian Howard | Board Member and Board Chair
- Doug Logan | Board Member and Board Vice Chair | Lead Pastor at Epiphany Fellowship of Camden in Camden, NJ
- Bruce Wesley | Board Member and Board Secretary | Lead Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in League City, TX
- Brian Walck | Board Member and Board Treasurer
- Dwayne Bond | Board Member | Lead Pastor at Wellspring Church in Charlotte, NC
- Gareth Paul | Board Member
- Ryan Kwon | Board Member | Lead Pastor at Resonate Church in Fremont, CA
On 13 April 2016, Darrin Patrick was removed from his position at The Journey for misconduct and was required to step down from all external leadership positions. He is no longer listed as a member of the Acts 29 Board of Directors.
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Acts 29 is a diverse, global family 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.
Acts 29 has been described as part of the emerging church. However Darrin Patrick, Former 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 Acts 29. 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 August 2016, Acts 29 included 600 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 member Sam Storms gave a lecture on the Acts 29'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.
Acts 29 churches have faced criticism for their handling of church discipline issues. Matt Chandler's church in Dallas offered a general apology after a female member was disciplined for annulling her to marriage to a man who admitted to viewing child pornography. No elders or leaders were removed from their office but the church said in an email the action taken against the woman was "unbefitting" of a church leader.
Mark Driscoll's church in Seattle - the original Acts 29 church, now defunct - faced a federal racketeering lawsuit from former members. That lawsuit was dismissed after the plaintiffs said they did not have the money to continue the suit. The plaintiffs’ online fundraising campaign on GoFundMe had raised $34,660 — about half of its goal. Acts 29 cut ties with Driscoll in 2014.
An Acts 29 church in Columbia, SC, Riverside Community Church, was sued in Richland County circuit court after its leadership ex-communicated a member for not allowing the pastor to talk to the member's professional therapist.
- "2014 Annual Report" (PDF). 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". Archived from the original on June 28, 2014. Retrieved February 2, 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. Archived from the original on 2014-08-10. 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. 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
- Jameson, Norman (21 March 2011). "SBC Pastors' Conference slate raises ire". Associated Baptist Press. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- 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.
- Chandler, Matt. "President". www.acts29.com. Acts 29. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- "Our Values". Acts 29. 2014. Retrieved Aug 19, 2014.
- "Four Values For Acts 29". Acts 29. 2014. Retrieved Aug 3, 2016.
- "Blog: Celebrate our 600th Church (Acts 29)". Acts 29. 2016. Retrieved Aug 3, 2016.
- "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. Archived from the original on October 27, 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2011.
- "What is Our Denominational Affiliation?". The Village Church. Retrieved 1 October 2012.
- "About Acts 29". Acts 29. 2014. Retrieved Aug 3, 2016.
- "The Doctrinal Distinctives of Acts 29". Acts 29. 2016. Retrieved Aug 3, 2016.
- Storms, Sam (2014). "Why Our Doctrinal Distinctives Are Important". Acts 29. Retrieved Aug 3, 2016.
- "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.
- "Former Member Accepts Acts 29 Megachurch Apology in Church Discipline Case". ChristianityToday.com. Retrieved 2016-11-10.
- "Lawsuit against Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill elder dismissed". Religion News Service. Retrieved 2016-11-10.
- "Acts 29 Removes Mars Hill, Asks Mark Driscoll To Step Down and Seek Help". Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com. Retrieved 2016-11-10.
- "Richland County Courts". www5.rcgov.us. Retrieved 2016-11-10.