More Like Jesus: Pastors Team Up to Launch New Model for Church Planting

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Southeast

By Ashley Tinstman

It started with an ordinary conversation between two pastors back in 2017. Pastor Cody Bracy, who was part of a new church plant in Arizona at the time, was visiting his family in Tampa, Florida, when he met up with Pastor Terry Rolen, lead pastor of Bayside Community Church, where Cody attended growing up. The two had gotten together simply to catch up after years of not seeing each other—but as they chatted about life and ministry over lunch, they both began to share a similar vision and passion for raising up leaders, making disciples, and multiplying churches. Little did Terry and Cody know this casual conversation would be the genesis of a fruitful ministry partnership and a disciple-making movement.

“After I left that lunch meeting with Terry, I thought, ‘This is going to be a forever connection,’” shared Cody. “But at the time, I thought I’d just be supporting Terry from a distance and praying for him as he explored the idea of multiplying at Bayside. But within about ten months, my wife and I really felt God say, ‘No, the vision I’ve given you is going to be done there in Florida, with Terry.’”

So, with that, Cody and his family made plans to relocate to Florida after receiving support and encouragement from their church. But once Cody arrived in Florida, neither he nor Terry had a clear picture of how their now-shared vision would unfold. Cody knew he had a desire to plant churches, and Terry knew he wanted to grow and multiply at Bayside—but, exactly how that would look, neither of them knew.

Cody Bracy teaching at NewSpring.

“At Bayside, we were really starting to stir about multiplication—but our goal wasn’t to build an empire. Our heart was simply to see more people become more like Jesus,” explained Terry. “So, we wanted to reproduce what we were doing, but there are so many models of church-planting and multiplication that we didn’t yet have clarity on the best way forward. God hadn’t revealed it to us yet—but the heart for it was there.”

In the meantime, as Terry and Cody continued to pray and cast vision for the future, Cody joined the staff at Bayside as a worship pastor—but the intent was that it would only be temporary. Though Cody was filling an immediate need at Bayside, Terry’s plan was to use that position to also launch the vision for multiplying. As Terry put it, it was part of “preparing to launch Cody out for what was next.”

And what was next was far different than anything Cody or Terry could have anticipated. As they studied other disciple-making movements and models for church multiplication, God led them to start something entirely new and different—a church-planting ministry called Community Church Multipliers (CCM). Rather than expanding Bayside’s impact through traditional models, like multi-site or satellite campuses that share the Bayside name, Cody and Terry opted to start a church-planting network that would operate under one unified mission—to see more people become more like Jesus.

“As we kept talking through things, we realized the best way to do this was to create something that didn’t exist, which is a network of churches that will all hold the same mission of seeing more people become more like Jesus,” recalled Terry. “So we agreed—let’s hold tight to that shared mission and a shared strategy. But outside of that, let’s give the individual leaders within our network the flexibility and autonomy to run—and what will keep us together as a family is that shared DNA and shared values.”

The idea for CCM—though certainly out-of-the-box—immediately gained the support and approval of the elders at Bayside. So, in 2021, CCM officially launched as an extension of Bayside Community Church with the goal of raising up leaders, sharing resources, and planting churches that each have different names but all carry the same mission and “DNA” as Bayside.

Kristin and Cody Bracy at NewSpring.

Now, just over a year later, CCM has already planted its first church—NewSpring Church, which is led and pastored by Cody. The church is located in Tarpon Springs, a suburb just outside of Tampa, and it’s already close to launching a second service just a few weeks in. Cody estimates the church’s weekly attendance is already about 70 people—but for him, attendance numbers are the last thing on his mind.

“In the last two weeks since we’ve launched, no one has counted attendance, and I’ve loved it,” shared Cody. “I’ll be honest—none of that matters to me. If our job is to run an organization rather than a disciple-making movement, then the organization does deserve metrics being met. But somewhere along the way, we forgot that we’re disciple-making movements that should be focused on building people, not a service or programs.”

As NewSpring continues to reach the Tarpon Springs community and CCM continues to plant churches, both Terry and Cody are excited to see how God will continue to move.

“My prayer is that, in ten years’ time, we can say it was the move of God that made this happen. And the only thing we can take pride in is saying yes to him,” said Cody. “So that’s my hope—that people will see that it was all God doing this, and it’s immeasurably more than anything we could ask or imagine.”

Ashley Tinstman serves as connections pastor of White Chapel Church in South Daytona, Florida. In her role, she oversees the church’s social media and communications, community groups, and special events. Originally from Pittsburgh, she is a diehard Steelers fan and enjoys playing golf and tennis in her free time.

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Feature (top) photo: NewSpring congregation gathered outside their community meeting location.

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