frequently asked questions

What are the expectations for ARC members?
All ARC members and congregations commit to:
  • Consistent prayer for other ARC leaders, congregations and ministries
  • Be intentional in sowing the ARC mission and values into your own life and the life of your congregation or ministry
  • Participate in ARC gatherings for fellowship and growth
  • Partner together for strategic mission
  • Share ministry resources with other ARC churches
  • Contribute financially in a significant manner to the ARC
  • Communicate consistently regarding what God is doing in your life and ministry
 
Is the ARC a denomination?
Not in the sense that the word is normally understood. The ARC puts more emphasis on local church autonomy and on relationships between churches than on a centralized structure. Many of the responsibilities traditionally belonging to denominational headquarters reside with the local church, such as the training of church leaders, the planting of churches, and the sending of missionaries. The ARC is built on relationships and encourages churches to network together for strategic mission.

How would you describe the ARC’s uniqueness?

It is more like a movement than a denomination. Because the ARC is decentralized, there are only a limited number of projects initiated from the organization. It is relationship-based and function/action-oriented. Most denominations gather around a theological statement. While the ARC has a Statement of Belief, its non-negotiable core values, mission, and identity are its rallying point. People in the ARC are on a journey of discovery to better understand what it means to be a Spirit-empowered church in the 21st century. Networks like the ARC are being developed around the country and around the world. The ARC is not attempting to establish a “perfect church” but a proper wineskin for our day.
 
What does the accountability structure look like?
The ARC contains two levels of accountability. The ARC National Leadership Team gives oversight to the organizational aspect of the ministry. It also serves as a court of last resort for serious issues that may come up in a congregation or among its leaders, such as financial impropriety, moral failure, or theological issues. 

What about pastoral accountability?
Pastoral accountability is a relationship that a pastor voluntarily submits to for the purpose of spiritual health and protection both for the congregation and for the pastor. This kind of oversight is not instituted quickly. Rather, it grows over a period of time as relationships develop with respected people whom the pastor and the congregation learn to trust. Accountability partners are not mandated from the outside but chosen because of the value found in the relationship. Accountability is based on strong personal commitments rather than simply on formal agreements. Accountability assumes that both the pastor and the congregation understand the wisdom of third party involvement in the life of the church and they welcome it as God connects them to valued outside pastoral leaders. All ARC churches should have an accountability structure. It will not be imposed from without but developed from within. These leaders will be given the authority by pastors and congregations to speak into the pastors’ lives, to hold them accountable.

Where do ARC pastors receive their seminary training?
The Master’s Institute Seminary (MI) is closely related to the ARC and trains many pastors for the ARC. However, pastors are not required to graduate from MI, and each leader is be encouraged to seek out the best route to his/her own personal preparation for ministry.

Are congregations encouraged to leave their denominations?
No. This is a question each congregation needs to answer for itself. Some churches have done so, while others have chosen to remain with their denomination. A congregation can be a part of a denomination while also belonging to the ARC.

How will the ARC ensure theological integrity in local congregations?
One of the strengths of the ARC is its accountability structure, to which pastors willingly submit. A network like the ARC has strong potential for the maintenance of theological integrity because the relationships are in place to provide for accountability. The strongest basis for maintaining orthodoxy is relationship, not a statement of faith or constitutional provision for discipline.
 
How important is theological unity?
Theological unity on the essentials of the faith is important. But theology alone does not create a compelling vision. What also brings ARC churches together are mission, values, and authentic relationships. The ARC and its member churches seek to implement the long-standing practice of “adiaphora”: in the essentials, unity; in the non-essentials, freedom; and in all things, love!
 
How do churches join the ARC?
  • Joining the ARC is a commitment to relationship with other leaders and churches in the ARC and a commitment to embracing and integrating the ARC mission, identity, and non-negotiable core values into the life of leaders and churches
  • If churches are not committed to integrating and living out the mission, identity, and core values of the ARC they need not apply for membership; nor should churches apply if joining the ARC is merely to satisfy a small group of their congregation who are charismatic
  • We recommend the church and its leadership take time to get to know the ARC and speak with the ARC Leadership Team until they discern a strong sense of unity with the ARC’s mission, identity, beliefs, and non-negotiable core values
  • The church or the individual interested in joining requests an application from the ARC office
  • If we are not familiar with your congregation or you as an individual, an ARC representative will visit with you
  • The ARC Leadership Team will review the application and make a decision within one month after receiving the application
  • Churches that vote must have a 75% affirmative vote, but a vote is not necessary if the church's leadership makes this decision
Is there a fee to join the ARC?
Yes. There is an initial application fee of $100 for individuals and $250 for congregations.

Can a pastor join the ARC if the congregation does not?
Yes, a pastor can join the ARC even though the congregation may not be ready to join yet. 

What is the expected financial commitment from our congregation to the ARC?
  • In order to carry out our mission we count on each ARC member to financially support the ARC. Our expectation is that churches will place the ARC on their congregational budgets. We trust that individuals who belong to the ARC will support this network out of their personal giving.
  • When asked by congregations for a suggested amount, we recommend placing the ARC on your budget for a minimum of 3% of your annual operating budget. If you are unable to do that, please inform us of the financial commitment you are able to make.
  • Sowing into the ARC is a tangible investment in our mission of “Empowering leaders and congregations to live into their God-given destinies by building kingdom friendships and strategic alliances, advancing leadership development, and providing ministry training for the members of congregations.”
Are there liabilities to joining the ARC?
Yes. The ARC is a new wineskin, a new way of bringing churches together. It takes time to adjust to paradigm shifts. The ARC is committed to helping congregations transition into a structure that is relationship-based rather than organizationally based. Such transformation is costly. Some congregations may be unwilling or unable to make this important transition, and they would not fit in the ARC family at this time. In addition, we encourage churches interested in joining the ARC to be at a place of congregational health in order to both give and receive in the network.
 
Does the ARC provide a pension plan?
The ARC makes a 403 (b) 9 plan available to ARC ministers and ministry employees, who bear sole responsibility for contributions and costs associated with the pension plan. For more details about this plan, please contact the ARC office.
 
Does the ARC provide health insurance?
No.

Is the ARC national in scope?
The ARC is a national rather than a provincial network. We also relate internationally to networks and congregations in Norway, Ethiopia, Brazil, Iceland, and Cuba.