An apostolic movement
An International Apostolic Council was formed to give spiritual oversight to this new apostolic movement of DOVE, and Larry Kreider was asked to serve as the international director. Unlike an association of churches, which gives ordination and general accountability to church leaders, an apostolic movement is a family of churches with a common focus—a mandate from God to plant and establish churches throughout the world. We have found that apostolic ministry provides a safe environment for each partnering congregation and ministry to grow and reproduce. This model emphasizes leading by relationship and influence rather than by hands-on management. While a lead elder and team equip believers to do the work of ministry in the congregation, the Apostolic Council provides training, oversight, and mentoring to local church leadership. The Apostolic Council is also called to give clear vision and direction to the entire movement. Our transition from one church to eight enabled us to become a network of small group-based churches and house churches partnering together.
Since that time, we have had the joy of seeing hundreds of churches planted and others join the DOVE International family. Currently, over 1,000 small group-based congregations and house churches serve together with the DOVE family from many nations of the world, including the United States, Barbados, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda, Scotland, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia. We continue to trust God for many more new churches to be started for a new generation of believers in Christ in the nations.
Spiritual parenting is key
We are ordinary people who have made many mistakes. Not all of our stories are success stories. But one key we have seen is the need to embrace spiritual parenting. Every believer needs practical input from loving, seasoned fathers and mothers who help that individual reach his or her full potential in Christ. Parents expect to see their children grow. Over these forty years, it has been a privilege to watch many who were once “children” become spiritual parents and grandparents as new believers, small groups, and churches are added to our DOVE family.
The vision continues
The Bible tells us that without a vision the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). As we continue to grow as an international church movement, we are called by God to fulfill the vision He has given us to build the church with an “underground” focus in the nations of the world. We are called to love Jesus, love His people, and love the broken world in which we live. Our desire is to experience the daily reality of living the Kingdom—transforming our world from house to house, city to city, and nation to nation.
For the past six years Larry has been in a succession process preparing to pass the DOVE International director role on to a younger leader. This is planned to culminate during the first half of 2024. More about this here.