In 1997, the Dallas-based Park Cities Presbyterian Church (PCA) set a lofty goal: to plant 100 churches in the U.S. and overseas by 2020. They called the project “2020 Vision,” never expecting to reach their goal a full decade ahead of schedule.
In fact, Park Cities Presbyterian Church (PCPC) and their affiliated partners have planted 103 churches and started 12 RUF chapters in the 13 years since the project’s inception.
A Strategy for Growing the Kingdom
Missions and evangelism have always been focus areas for PCPC, a 20-year-old church outside of Dallas, Texas. “We wanted to find the best ways to grow the kingdom,” says Curt Dobbs, missions pastor at Park Cities, “and the best way to evangelize is to plant churches.” With their mission in place, church leaders laid out a vision and strategies to plant 50 churches in the U.S. and 50 churches overseas.
“We identified areas in the 10/40 window and unreached people groups,” explains Dobbs. The church met with MTW and other agencies to identify 10 core projects in countries like Peru, Ukraine, and the Philippines. “Most of our church plants are where the populace is less than one percent evangelical,” says Dobbs.
Of PCPC’s 10 initial international projects, most have multiplied and several are now self-sustaining. For example, in one Southeast Asian country, eight house churches are meeting in various communities. And in Senegal, where PCPC partners with MTW, one church has multiplied into 14 congregations.
Fostering Growth in North America
With its North American church-planting efforts, Park Cities initially focused on underserved communities in Texas. Knowing it couldn’t plant 50 churches without help, PCPC sought out other missions-minded PCA leaders in the area to form the Southwest Church Planting Network. “We now have 65 churches taking part in that partnership,” says Dobbs. And as a testament to their investments of time, prayer, and finances, there are 50 new churches throughout Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arizona.
Dobbs attributes the success of 2020 Vision to several factors. “All of our church planters are indigenous leaders,” he explains. “We’d rather find local leaders, even if they require training.” In addition, PCPC makes long-term commitments to projects, usually around 10 years. “The churches know our commitment, so that gives them security on the ground,” says Dobbs. And PCPC commits to following up with each church plant either through short-term missions team visits or site visits by Dobbs or other leaders.
Given the tremendous success of 2020 Vision, it’s natural to wonder what is next for PCPC and its church-planting efforts. “There’s no new flashy goal,” says Dobbs. “But if we keep doing what we’re doing both in the U.S. and globally, we think by 2020 we’ll be at 200 churches planted.”
To learn more about 2020 Vision and PCPC’s local and global projects, visit www.pcpcmissions.org.