Letter from Brent Storms
As we celebrated Orchard Group’s 75th Anniversary in 2023, we talked a lot about history. But I’d like to do something different in this year’s report: look to what’s ahead. To me, it feels like the start of a new era – the beginning of our next 25 years as a church planting ministry.
Last year marked my 20th year serving on staff with this wonderful organization. From my zoomed-out perspective, there have now been four distinct “eras” of Orchard Group. There was the era of the Go Ye Chapel street evangelism in and around NYC. Then the era of modest church planting on Long Island and in New Jersey. Followed by an era of more aggressive church planting strategies throughout the northeastern US. And since 2009, we’ve been focused on multiplying churches in and around global cities.
The Bible references the men of Issachar who “understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” In the book of Acts, Paul says that David “served the purpose of God in his own generation.” If anyone were to produce a book, documentary, or podcast about Orchard Group today, I would like to think it would be fair for the journalist to say, “The leaders of Orchard Group understood the times and knew what they should do. They served the purposes of God in their own generation.”
Our generation is global, mobile, and virtual, and these trends only continue to accelerate. The growth of cities continues to outpace that of rural areas and small towns. Cities are less churched than their surrounding areas. Church attendance continues to decline throughout the US and in many other countries. Yet, we still believe that starting new churches in and around major cities is the best way to share the good news of Jesus with people who need him desperately.
Last year we celebrated the launch of four new churches. And I’m excited to announce that in 2024, we will see new churches launch in six cities: four in the US and two in Europe. In this report, we’ll “fly over” these 10 new Orchard Group churches. Along the route, you’ll encounter QR codes which tell you that there is a video component that shares more of the story. You won’t want to skip them! Let’s go...
—Brent Storms, Orchard Group President