Church Planting in the Center of Google Earth

Chanute, Kansas, is the center of Google Earth. That’s because Google Earth’s software developer is from Chanute. A giant mural painted on the city’s two main cross streets features a blue outline of North America and the title Center of Google Earth. Maybe the town's leaders will paint a second street-mural titled Center of Grace Community Church. Nah, that won't happen.

Even so, Grace Community Church is coming to Chanute via Steve Galt in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and via FiveStone Churches. Steve has been in pastoral ministry in Poughkeepsie since 2010. He reached out to me last fall to talk about planting a church in Chanute. I’ve known Steve for about 10 years. After Steve and I visited Chanute to explore the possibilities, we agreed to work together on the church plant. Steve and his wife, Stacy, were born and raised in Chanute. They’re planning to move in August to Chanute, which is about 120 miles south of Kansas City.

My wife and I care a lot about the people of Chanute, Steve said. The vision for the new church starts with the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. We’ll focus on teaching the Scriptures so that the main point of the biblical text is the main point of the sermon. We’ll build fellowship with one another and try to ensure that the people of the church are serving one another and serving others outside the congregation. There’s always need for another church that lives that way. That's what we want to be in Chanute.

To those who say there is no need for another church in Chanute or anywhere else, Steve argues that new churches can lead many people into relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Citing research that looks at the context of fruitful evangelism and conversions to Christ, Steve said that church plants have an opportunity to share Christ most effectively. Just about everyone involved in a church plant spends more energy focusing outward than they do in a long-established church, he said.

But Steve doesn’t want to do the work of church planting alone. That’s why he investigated several church planting networks before linking with FiveStone Churches and before leaping into church planting.

I’ve never planted a church before, he said. I don’t want to be out there by myself and left to my own judgments without any accountability. I really resonate with FiveStone Churches. We’re like-minded theologically, methodologically and in philosophy of ministry. I’m a really good fit with FiveStone. Besides that, I appreciate FiveStone’s commitment to building relationships among church shepherds. That's already happening. All these things resonated with me. That’s why I’m planting with FiveStone Churches.

For a news article about Steve and Grace Community Church, click here.