Wanted: Church Planters. Reward: $50,000.

Q&A with Acts 29 president Matt Chandler on assessing narcissists, the challenge of COVID-19, and new opportunities for vibrant churches.

Acts 29 announced a new funding initiative today to encourage more church planting in 2022. The network, which includes more than 700 churches in 44 countries, will give newly affiliated planters two gifts of $25,000 to help them get started. Currently, there are more than 500 men going through the Acts 29 assessment and affiliation process.

CT talked to Acts 29 president Matt Chandler about the challenges of church planting in 2022, how the assessment process has changed in response to reports of abuse and narcissism, and what he’s learned in 10 years at the helm of Acts 29.

How has the pandemic impacted church planting?

By and large, the network did very well through COVID-19. If you were in week two of gathering and you were at a school, all of that stopped immediately and it was hard to get back into the schools, because they basically shut down for the rest of the year. If you were a more established church, you tended to do a lot better.

We didn’t have a ton of churches die—not as many as you might think—and then we got to serve the communities that we were in.

What other challenges are you facing? What is Acts 29 wrestling with in 2022?

Like everyone else, it seems, there is a lot of polarization and division right now, a lot of ideological tribes. Where churches have been healthy, they’ve navigated that well, and when maybe they haven’t been healthy, they’ve had some difficulty.

I hope and pray because A29 is deeply theologically driven, we had some of the foundations laid to be ready for this moment. A lot of churches have done a lot of work on what it means to be made in the image of God, a lot of teaching on the imago Dei, and then the imago Dei really becomes the foundation …

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