Below is a list of questions and answers from the elders to clarify our plan to plant a church in North Charleston in the immediate future.  
The Response Form is for anyone interested in being part of the team (initial group going) or supporting the church plant. It is also available if you have additional questions or comments. 


Vision Sunday

Why Now?

For a more detailed understanding of why and why now, listen to the first 20 minutes of the Vision Sunday message.

We use Acts 13:1-3 as a guide for what it means to be a sending church.  We can say wholeheartedly that just like the “Holy Spirit said” to the church in Antioch, we have heard God speak and confirm what he is speaking through multiple sources.  We are moving forward out of obedience and in confidence in Him.

What about the areas of the church that need to still be strengthened and improved?

We recognize the grace of God all over our church in lives that have been transformed by Him and relationships that have been developed and nurtured.  And at the same time, we know that there are areas where we still need to grow and be strengthened as a church.  

We believe that part of the timing of this church plant is that the Lord wants to strengthen us as we are moving.  It is in the obedience of taking this step of faith that he wants to teach us, equip us, and place people in new positions of leadership and responsibility.  We believe that as we work to establish this new church on a good foundation, the Lord will use that process to strengthen the foundations of JICC.


What is the end goal? 

Our vision is to be a family of churches in the Lowcountry that are connected through shared values, theology, and mission and that remain connected relationally through annual gatherings like the Church Retreat, Pentecost, Man Retreat and Women’s Retreat -- as well as equipping workshops in areas like marriage, missions, parenting, leadership, etc.

How many churches will this be?

We don’t know.  But we do have a sense from the Lord that the initial push to plant will involve planting 3 churches.  What this means is that one of the church plants will still be in-process when we begin planting the next one.  This also means that everyone who feels called to church planting doesn’t necessarily have to be a part of this first one.

Will this be a campus of JICC?

No -- although it might seem that way in the beginning.  Our vision is to plant churches that are governmentally autonomous but relationally interdependent.  What that means is that they will be governed by elders in that local church.  But those elders will still be relationally connected to other leaders within the family of churches for continued equipping and collaboration.  And those church members will still be connected to the family of churches through annual gatherings and workshops.  (Much like a healthy extended family is still connected together through annual gatherings.)

We will be using the term “church plant” rather than “campus” to refer to it so that it is clear that the goal is to plant an autonomous church while still identifying it as “in process”.  It will shift from being a “church plant” to a “church” when elders are set in.  We anticipate that this will be an 18-24 month process.

Will there be live teaching? 

Yes.  All of the teaching will be live.  For the majority of the first year of the church plant, we will be shifting between two sermon series at both the JICC campus and the North Charleston church plant:
1. A Foundations Series.  This will be a more extensive version of the membership class that we did four years ago (called “We are”).  Russ and Jon will be teaching these messages and they will be duplicated Sunday morning and evening at both locations.
2. A Series in the book of Colossians.  In those weeks, the sermon will be taught by someone at the specific location and it will likely not be the same person in the morning and evening.  This will allow us space to raise more leaders.


When will the church meet? 

For the first 6-12 months, the church plant will meet on Sunday afternoons at 5 p.m.  This will allow leaders to be present during both mornings at JICC and evenings at the church plant.  A Sunday morning meeting time will likely be dictated by having a location to do so.  Regardless, at least the first six months will be on Sunday afternoons in order for there to be leadership overlap.

When will we be starting the church plant?

We have set two initial start dates and will allow the Lord’s provision to direct which one is best.  We will either begin the first week in October 2023 or the first week in January 2024.

If we identify both a location and a strong church planting team by mid-July, then we will start in October.  If we do not, then we will push to the beginning of 2024.


Why North Charleston?

The choice of North Charleston was definitely one of those “seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us” (Acts 15:28) kind of decisions.  As we prayed about locations, our sense was that the first church plant of JICC needed to have a strong faith component to it and not simply be relocating a large group of people who are already together to a different location.  It needed to feel like a seed that had some space for God to bring growth.  With that in mind, locations like Johns Island and West Ashley (places that we hope to plant in the future) did not seem like the best choices for the first plant.  The other reason is that Jon Lewis lives in Goose Creek and the North Charleston area is directly between where he lives and the JICC campus.  It pushes us further away from our current location while being close enough for people who live near JICC to still be a part of the church planting team.


Who should be a part of the church planting team?

The bottom line is: who the Holy Spirit leads (Acts 13:2).  But we would encourage anyone who lives in the North Charleston/Hanahan/Goose Creek area to especially consider being a part of this team.  We have many families in West Ashley who will also live closer to the church plant than to the JICC campus.  

Anyone is able to participate -- regardless of where you live. There may be some people who would like to assist short-term in seeing the church established, but then come back to JICC or help with a future church plant.   For anyone who signs up to be a part of the initial church planting team, we ask that you commit for at least the first full year.

Once we identify how God has directed people individually, the elders may ask specific leaders to consider going or staying in order to fill in necessary gaps.

I don't feel called to go but I still want to help, what can I do?

You can sign up to be a part of the prayer team and the support team.  We will have a group from JICC regularly praying for the church plant’s gathering times.  We will also have a support team that will be able to help with areas like childcare and hospitality.

For those who are staying at JICC, the other way to support the church plant is to step up and serve at JICC.  There will be gaps that need to be filled as people are sent.

Who will be a part of the leadership team?

Russ Miller and Jon Lewis will both lead the church planting team together -- with Russ focusing on teaching foundations and establishing culture and Jon focusing on week-to-week oversight of the gathering times.  Even though other JICC elders will be assisting in various ways, Jon and Russ will be the two representing the elders in the church plant.  The goal will be for Jon to eventually be set in as an elder along with at least two other qualified elders to lead the new church.  Russ will continue serving at JICC.


How is the church plant going to be funded financially?

Financially, the church plant and JICC will remain linked for the first 18 months.  So, we will have more information on specific financial needs and resources long before the church becomes autonomous.  Part of the establishing of the church will be looking for it to be able to sustain itself before it is released to operate on its own.

For right now, we have budgeted money towards rent and towards additional part-time staff for children's ministry and AV/ production/facilities set up.  We have room in our current personnel budget to cover these additional salaries.  Overall, we will be looking for God to multiply in both people and finances in order to cover the additional staff needed for the churches to be fully autonomous.

What about the church name?

First, we won’t be changing the church’s name.  But a name with “James Island” in it is not exactly conducive to a church that is not on James Island.  So, we can’t take the name James Island Christian Church and easily adapt it to another context.  We do not know what the name of the new Church plant in North Charleston will be.  We are prayerfully considering what to call the family of churches, and we will invite the rest of the church into that process.  Our hope is that the name will reflect who we are and what God has spoken over us as a people over the decades.

What about those making real estate decisions now?

One of the blessings that we believe will come from spreading out in the city is people being able to have more options when it comes to real estate decisions.  James Island is such an expensive place to live.  And many in our church feel constrained because they want to live close to their church community but find it cost prohibitive to do so.  If you are making decisions about where to buy or rent, prayerfully consider how real estate decisions for your family could coincide with church planting.

Prayer requests

- Location.  We are looking for a church or school building that we could use for at least the first year of the church plant.  (If anyone has a lead or connection, please put in the response form.)

- Church plant core team.  We want to pray that God establishes the right group of people to be a part of this team.

- Staffing.  We are already making plans and creating space in the budget for new church staff to support this process.  Please pray for wisdom in this process.


- church plant team
- prayer team
- support team