Greg Surratt, Founding Pastor of Seacoast Church in Charleston, South Carolina, believed every community deserves a life-giving church and that God was asking him to be a part of planting 2,000 churches worldwide. But he didn’t know how to make that happen.
In 2000, Greg met Billy Hornsby, who had developed the Cell Church Network with Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Billy was fascinated by Greg’s “life-giving” weekend services that were attracting large numbers of unchurched people. Billy saw this as a model that should be emulated, and with it, he felt he could put “feet” to Greg’s vision of planting 2,000 churches.
On Oct. 27-28, 2000, Billy Hornsby, Greg Surratt, Scott Hornsby, Chris Hodges, Dino Rizzo, and Rick Bezet met at Scott’s church, Fellowship Church in Clinton, Louisiana, to brainstorm how they could work together help plant churches.
Chris and Rick were two pastors from Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, who were getting ready to plant churches. They knew they were called but didn’t have the money or the model for planting a church. Billy’s brother, Scott Hornsby and Dino Rizzo were pastors who had also planted churches. They, too, had a heart to equip church planters and build a healthy church planting model. They had done it the hard way and knew there was a better way.
Together they dreamed of ways to support church planters with relationships, resources, and ways to bring the life-giving message of Jesus to communities around the globe. A few days later, on Nov. 1, 2000, the Association of Related Churches (ARC) was officially formed.
Over the past 20 years, thousands of planters, pastors, churches, and organizations have joined in the vision of ARC to see a thriving church in every community, reaching people with the message of Jesus. ARC has helped to plant more than 900 churches across the U.S. and around the world. These past 20 years have been nothing short of miraculous. We know the story is just unfolding.