- 9 and 10:45am, 5pm
Central Presbyterian Church is very excited to be working in partnership with Pastor Eric Stiller to plant a church in the Central West End area of St. Louis. The city has long been a passion of Eric's, and we are thankful God has placed this call upon Eric's heart and blessed Central to participate in this work.
In God’s unfolding providence, he has given Pastor Eric Stiller an unshakeable call to plant a church in the city, and specifically in the Central West End area. After a period of significant prayer, study, and discussion, your elders on the session have affirmed this call.
Planting a church is difficult to do, and some of the risk certainly falls upon the planting or “sending”church, but we feel called to trust in the Lord’s guidance and provision. There is a strong sense of conviction by the Holy Spirit upon the hearts of Central’s leadership that we can and should support Eric at this time. We feel this is one means by which we can fulfill our mission of evangelism to the St. Louis metro area.
Yes, Central will provide financial support for the first three years. Eric will also be seeking support from other churches and the Presbytery. The budget impact of this commitment has been studied at length, and we are confident it will not be an undue burden on any of Central’s other ministries.
Central will also be providing back-office support (accounting, payroll, etc.) and some other services in support of Plant CWE for a period of time.
On May 1st, Eric will begin his transition to church planter, spending roughly 50% of his time on the endeavor. By late summer, it is anticipated he will complete the transition and be fully focused on the church plant. The actual launch of the new church is anticipated to occur in February of 2016.
There are numerous reasons why Eric is focusing on this area. The Central West End is the location of significant development in recent years with businesses such as Cortex, Whole Foods, and IKEA putting down roots there. These businesses bring amenities and jobs that are drawing in new residents. It is where Eric and his wife Jenny live, and they are passionate about bringing the gospel to the neighborhood. Perhaps most importantly, there are very few churches having any significant impact among the young, multi-ethnic professionals who are moving here. An increasing number of these young people would identify themselves as without religious affiliation (popularly known as "the nones"), and church plants are a statistically and historically proven means of reaching such people.
Central is committed to continuing with our Sunday evening service for the foreseeable future. In the short-term, Trio will remain unchanged, with Eric will continuing to preach. As Eric transitions into his role of church planter, Central’s other pastors will step in. Over time, it is anticipated the Sunday evening sermons will be the same as what is heard on Sunday mornings. This creates the opportunity for greater community amongst Central’s congregation regardless of when you worship. As the church plant progresses, we will continue to evaluate our Sunday evening service and make adjustments as necessary.
As many of you know, last November the Session voted to end our site strategy as a church. Since West County Fellowship (WCF) will no longer be a site of Central, we, are studying the feasibility of WCF converting itself to a church plant, the first step towards particularization as its own separate church within the denomination. That decision is completely independent of any decisions made regarding the Central West End. Likewise, the decision to support Eric in his efforts is not affected by whatever decision is ultimately made about WCF.
If you are curious to learn more about the plant, or interested in getting more involved, you are invited to reach out to Eric for more information.
Eric would also invite you to subscribe to the Plant CWE prayer newsletter. This is a wonderful way to support the plant effort and be kept up to date on the latest happenings.