INDIANAPOLIS — A veteran leader of new church efforts will assume the full-time leadership role for New Church Ministry after serving a year in a transitional role, according to an announcement by Disciples Church Extension Fund (DCEF). DCEF oversees New Church Ministry (NCM) on behalf of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
Rev. Dr. Jose Martinez, who joined the NCM Team in 2019 as Associate Minister of New Church Strategies and served as its transitional leader from January 2022 through March 2023, begins April 1 in his new role as Minister for New Church Strategies.
“Jose used his time in the transitional position to ensure that the next Minister of New Church Strategies had a strong foundation to help Disciples live more fully into our identity as a ‘movement for wholeness in a fragmented world,'” said Belinda R. King, DCEF president. “But he was not just a placeholder. His vision for the next iteration of our movement made his selection for the position obvious.”
Martinez began in the transitional position shortly after NCM celebrated achieving the “2020 Vision” goal of starting 1,000 churches. As the social and economic turmoil of the last few years continued to reshape the ministry landscape, Martinez, members of the College of Regional Ministers, and the Office of General Minister and President began to imagine a new movement-oriented framework that Martinez calls “DisciplesNEXT.”
“It’s not a new concept. It’s a fresh take, this side of the social and economic challenges of the last few years,” Martinez said. “We don’t dare go ‘back to normal’ after all we have experienced. The good news is our self-understanding as a movement offers the kind of framing that can help us avoid the church’s historic tendency to colonize communities as a means of growth.”
“DisciplesNEXT trains leaders as movement initiators who foster faithful communities,” he said. “These communities exhibit the marks of the faithful church: true community, deep Christian spirituality, and a passion for justice.”
Before joining NCM, Martinez started churches and launched innovative ministries – like Story Wagen, a non-profit digital story-telling booth that partners with National Benevolent Association to bring awareness to moral injury, grief, and resilience to communities. He also served in hospital and military chaplaincy.
Martinez, who lives in Kansas City, Mo., co-planted Multi Nation Christian Church, the Midwest’s largest and only Haitian Ministry for the Disciples of Christ. He founded MissioKC, a micro-church based in Kansas City, Mo., focused on “helping make the world around us a spiritually healthier place.”
“Disciples Church Extension Fund is the catalyst for change for the renewal and rebirth of our congregations.”