by Gene Vinzant
A REFERENCE GUIDE TO THE DISCIPLING MOVEMENT AMONG CHURCHES OF CHRIST
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gene Vinzant was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, while his parents, Don and Carol
Vinzant, were serving as missionaries. He graduated from Oklahoma Christian
College in 1984 with highest honors. While attending ACU, Gene met and married
Becky Yeakley, daughter of Flavil and Maydell Yeakley.
Gene graduated from Abilene Christian University in August of 1987 with
a Master of Divinity degree. While at ACU, Gene worked with Flavil Yeakley
in the Church Growth Institute as a research assistant. Gene works as an
involvement Minister with the Austin Street Church of Christ in Garland,
Texas, and hopes to return to Brazil some day as a missionary.
A GUIDE TO THE DISCIPLING
A Chronology of the Church Plantings of the
A great deal of the fascination with the "Boston Movement" is
based on their rapid numerical growth. While Boston's growth alone is impressive,
the growth achieved through Boston's church plantings is even more impressive.
That growth has come mainly from direct plantings by Boston or Boston daughter
churches. Additional growth has come as a result of Boston's takeover of
churches which were under the influence of the Crossroads Church of Christ
in Gainesville, Florida. The story of the Boston Movement's growth begins
in June of 1979 and continues today. The following chronology is based primarily
on information contained in the August 30, 1987, bulletin of the Boston
Church of Christ.
June 1979: Boston Church of Christ
Kip McKean, and his wife Elena, moved with a small group of young people
to work with the Lexington, Massachusetts, Church of Christ. The beginning
of membership of the group in June was 30. The church grew rapidly, baptizing
over 4,000 by the fall of 1987.
June 1982: Chicago Church of Christ
Boston planted its first daughter church in Chicago. Under the leadership
of evangelist Marty Fuqua, the
church baptized almost 900 people by the fall of 1987. Chicago planted a
church in Minneapolis-St. Paul and "replanted" a church in St.
July 1982: Central London Church of Christ
Boston calls this church "the largest and fastest growing congregation
outside the borders of the United States." By the fall of 1987, this
church had baptized over 800 people. The London church planted a church
in Sydney, Australia, in 1987.
June 1983: New York City Church of Christ
Under the leadership of "lead evangelist" Steve Johnson, the New
York church baptized well over 1,000 by August 1987. Boston calls this "the
second fastest growing church in all the world." A church planting
was sent to Sao Paulo, Brazil, in the summer of 1987.
June 1985: Providence Church of Christ
Formerly a house church within the Boston congregation, Providence became
a separate congregation. In their first two years they baptized 135 individuals.
According to the Boston newsletter, Providence is "the prototype of
how the gospel will spread from the large cities to surrounding small cities."
August 1985: Central Toronto Church of Christ
The Toronto church was planted by evangelists Mark Mancini and Henry Kriete.
Having baptized 250 in the first two years and with an attendance of 320,
this is "the largest and fastest growing church in all of Canada."
June 1986: Johannesburg Church of Christ
This multi-racial South African church baptized close to 100 in its first
year, making it "one of the fastest growing churches in Africa."
August 1986: Central Paris Church of Christ
Under the direction of evangelist Tom Turnbull, the
Paris church baptized 42 in its first year, becoming "the largest and
fastest-growing church in French-speaking Europe." This was the first
non-English speaking church planted by Boston.
October 1986: Stockholm Church of Christ
The Stockholm church baptized 40 people by August of 1987. They are "the
largest and fastest-growing church in all of Scandinavia."
January 1987: Bombay Church of Christ
The Boston newsletter claims that this church is "the largest church
of Christ in all India with an attendance of 100, with over 40 baptisms
January 1987: Kingston Church of Christ
This Jamaican church was Boston's first "replanting." A "replanting"
is Boston's term for taking over the control and supervision of an existing
church. The Kingston Church baptized 80 between the replanting and August
January 1987: Twin Cities Church of Christ
This is the first "granddaughter" of the Boston church. The Chicago
church planted and directs this work in Minneapolis-St. Paul. There have
been 60 baptisms as of August, 1987.
February 1987: Sydney Church of Christ
The Central London church "replanted" this church in Sydney, Australia.
A total of 85 were baptized in the first seven months of this work.
June 1987: Sao Paulo Church of Christ
The New York City church planted this work in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the largest
city in South America. Twenty one people were baptized in the first two
August 1987: St. Louis Church of Christ
The Chicago church "replanted" this church which was originally
planted by the Shandon Church of Christ in Columbia, South Carolina. With
a beginning membership of 75, 14 were baptized in the first month after
August 1987: Atlanta Church of Christ
The July 26, 1987, bulletin of the Boston church describes the creation
of this church from a "Christian remnant." This church was planted
after the Atlanta Highlands Church of Christ resisted "such biblical
principles as the authority of the evangelist, one-on-one discipleship and
the calling of every member to evangelism." A team consisting of Andy
Lindo, other evangelists, and 15 full-time interns will direct the church
for one year, while Sam Laing is trained in Boston to become the "lead
September 1987: San Francisco Church of Christ
This congregation was originally the Berkeley Church of Christ. The August
16, 1987, Boston bulletin describes the decision of the Boston church to
"rebuild" and "officially direct" this church. The Boston
elders and Kip McKean decided to call this operation a "reconstruction"
rather than a "replanting." The reconstruction involved the church
relocating and renaming itself the "San Francisco Church of Christ."
The church's evangelists and women's counselors were stripped of their titles
and demoted to interns so that "when they are appointed in the future,
they will be recognized in Boston as well as in our church plantings, such
as in Bombay or New York."
Other Boston-Affiliated Churches
A number of churches which were started through the influence of the Crossroads
Church of Christ have since become a part of the Boston organization. In
the August 30, 1987, Boston bulletin Kip McKean states that "San Diego
and Denver must also be considered pillar churches and we praise God for
the close discipling relationship that the leadership in Boston has been
asked to have with the leaderships of these congregations."
Statements in the July 26, 1987, bulletin revealed the association of eight
Southeastern "Crossroads" churches with Boston. Interviews with
numerous churches and statements in the bulletin of the Chicago Church of
Christ have revealed that many other churches also consider themselves part
of the Boston Movement. It is unclear whether Boston exerts direct control
over all of these churches. Yet these churches indicate a desire to be identified
with the Boston discipling movement.
The following churches were not planted, "replanted," or "reconstructed"
by Boston, yet are under Boston's influence:
Mission Church of Christ in San Diego
The Mission church was heavily influenced by the coming of Andy and Rita
Lindo in 1979. Many of their staff members were trained in the Boulder Church
of Christ. The Mission church baptized close to 800 people from 1982 through
1986. The church is being discipled by Boston and is discipling the churches
in Phoenix and Albuquerque.
Mt. Vista Church of Christ in Albuquerque
The Mt. Vista church began in 1984 without outside support. The church had
a total of 70 baptisms and 50 members as of the end of 1986.
East Valley Church of Christ in Phoenix
The East Valley Church began in December 1984. The church experienced close
to 200 baptisms in 1985 and 1986. Its membership at the end of 1986 stood
Denver Church of Christ
The Denver church was planted by the Crossroads Church of Christ (Gainesville,
Florida) in May of 1986. By the end of 1986, 41 had been baptized.
Central Church of Christ in Huntsville, Alabama*
University Church of Christ in Tallahassee, Florida
Crossroads Church of Christ in Gainesville, Florida*
University Boulevard Church of Christ in Orlando, Florida
Westside Church of Christ in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Shandon Church of Christ in Columbia, South Carolina
Northview Church of Christ in Charlotte, North Carolina
Cornerstone Church of Christ in Champaign, Illinois
Gateway Church of Christ in Cincinnati
Lakeview Church of Christ in Milwaukee
Landmark Church of Christ in Indianapolis
*See Editor's Update on page 206
End of Chapter 11