When Onterio and Crystal Green set out to plant a church with the help of ARC (Association of Related Churches), little did they know they would end up doing so in the middle of a pandemic. But, in January of 2021, when they launched Courageous Church in Tampa, Florida, and became ARC church plant #912, that’s exactly what they did.
The couple felt drawn to the Tampa area by God, as the region is 80% unchurched while also being one of the top cities for human trafficking.
At first, the Greens thought they would serve the community by taking over an existing church with an older pastor who wanted to retire. But, after talking to dear friends, they were guided in the direction of launching a new community of their own. With guidance from ARC, churches such as Courageous Church can open in communities where they are needed most.
A Pertinent Conversation
When Onterio told his plan of taking over an existing church to his dear friend Pastor Stephen Chandler, he was surprised by the response he got. Onterio explained that his friend said:
“Why would you do that when you can start your own church?”
That’s when Chandler set up a conversation between Onterio and Dino Rizzo, the executive director of ARC (Association of Related Churches). What Onterio wanted to know was whether the organization would be able to support a charismatic African-American culture like the one that he and his wife Crystal had come from.
He said he was pleased to hear from Dino that the answer was yes. Onterio recalled that conversation:
“He says, ‘Listen, all ARC wants to do is give you the tools necessary for you to build the church that God put in your heart to build in the city that God has called you to.’ I’m going to tell you something; ARC has done just that.”
Learning from Experienced Pastors
The Greens benefited greatly from the resources that ARC (Association of Related Churches) was able to provide them. One of the main things that other ARC church members and the organization as a whole were able to provide to them was simple introductions to other people within the organization who knew the ARC playbook.
ARC put the Greens on a campus for an entire year in 2020 with Pastor Randy and Amy Bezet at Bayside Church. During that time, they were able to learn everything they needed about both setting up and tearing down, boxes, production and staging, children’s ministry equipment, and more.
They were all “things that we couldn’t learn before we had gotten there,” Onterio said. “And, if we hadn’t spent that year learning how to do church this way, I don’t know that we would have been able to build this life-giving church that we built here in Tampa thus far.”
Crystal said that ARC (Association of Related Churches) was very efficient in giving them the resources and tools they needed to launch Courageous Church and do it well.
That’s helping the Greens spread the word of Jesus in the Tampa region, where it is much needed.
About ARC (Association of Related Churches)
ARC (Association of Related Churches) is a cooperative of independent churches from different denominations, networks, and backgrounds who strategically resource church planters and pastors to help them reach people with the message of Jesus. ARC exists to see a thriving church in every community, reaching people with the message of Jesus. Since its beginning in 2000, ARC has grown into a global organization and has helped plant more than 1,000 churches.