Asbury Creating Church Planting Master’s Degree

Reported by: Ellen Bryan
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Updated: 2/07/2013 12:58 am

As studies report a decrease in church attendance, Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore is spearheading a new master’s degree in Church Planting.

Dr. Gregg Okesson, Asbury Theological Seminary Associate Professor of Leadership and Development, said in North America, about 17 percent of the people attend church regularly.

Okesson said it’s not that people don’t want spirituality, but they are searching for something other than the traditional church institutions.

“We're really trying to rethink church,” Okesson said. “Not rethink the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but rethink how the Gospel is in congregations.”

Pastor Rosario Picardo started Embrace Church in 2009 at the Kentucky Movie Theatre in downtown Lexington.

“New churches are willing to take risks,” Picardo said. “And wanting to reach people who are not in the church. And that's the goal and that's always been the goal.”

Okesson said 40 percent of Asbury Seminary Alumni create churches.

“People are beginning to understand that church is not a building. Church is the people.” Okesson said.

Picardo said thousands of churches go under every year, but he thinks the new faith communities will help fill that loss.

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