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World Impact’s Research on Effective Urban Church Planting

Greetings in the strong name of Jesus!
One of our core competencies is we [World Impact] are champions of the ability of the poor to own and lead Great Commission ministry.  We also believe strongly in the power of the local church. Maybe our most powerful display of these two beliefs come together in our Evangel School of Urban Church planting.

For over two decades we have trained people to plant churches in communities of poverty.

Last year we won a grant from the Pinetops Foundation to conduct research on our efforts in this area over the years. We formed a research team that included myself, several other staff, and Dr. Jonathan Calvillio of Boston University.  The results of the research were put together by Dr. Alvin Sanders and Dr. Calvillo and are culminated in the report, Effective Urban Church Planting.
If you have any questions or would like to talk about ways we could partner in multiplying workers in communities of poverty, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
From the release:

Our mission statement is, “World Impact empowers urban leaders, and partners with local churches to reach their city with the Gospel.”  To truly live into our mission statement, it is important to know who our urban leaders are, and what it means to empower them. To answer these questions, we recently conducted research sponsored by The Pinetops Foundation. We set out to evaluate our efforts regarding training urban church planters and the effect of their congregations on their communities. From these insights, we hope to enhance our training to serve them better.
From this study, we were able to get a clearer picture of the teams we have commissioned through the Evangel School of Urban Church Planting. We can see that to be successful, urban church planters must operate differently than their suburban counterparts. For example, to plant successfully in a community of poverty, bi-vocational ministry must be considered normal rather than exceptional.
Based on feedback of the church planters, Evangel has been a relevant tool for the leaders we serve. From its accessibility to its content, it is tailor-made to fit their needs. We praise God for the work of urban church planters, and the transformative power their churches have in the local community. We pray that God will continue to reveal ways that we can best serve and equip urban leaders with tools that are relevant to their context. Read the full report of our research below.
Download Effective Urban Church Planting.

Bob Engel

Bob Engel graduated in 1982 from Taylor University located in Upland, Indiana. While there, he felt the call to serve among the unchurched urban poor and went directly into ministry with World Impact. His first location of ministry was in Wichita, Kansas. In the summer of 1991, Bob met his lovely wife, Susan deBoer. Susan came on summer staff with World Impact. By the end of the summer, Bob asked Susan to marry him, and on February 16th, 1991, they were married. The Lord called Bob and Susan directly to Fresno to become the Director of Ministries. Several years later Bob became the Director of World Impact Fresno. Four children and several church plants later, the Spirit of the Lord called Bob and Susan to serve in Los Angeles. In February 2005, their family moved to where Bob now serves as Coordinator of Ministries. Bob oversees the Los Angeles area church-planting efforts and various ministry outreaches. As Northwest Regional VP, Bob oversaw World Impact's San Francisco, Oakland and Fresno ministries. Now, as Vice President of our East Coast Region, Bob oversees church planting and ministry efforts in Newark and throughout the East Coast.

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