ARC Church Planters Billy and Randie Heather on Planting a Church in Small-Town New York

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( — July 7, 2023) — Planting a new ARC church in small-town New York wasn’t a rushed decision for Billy and Randie Heather. In fact, the couple prayed hard for two years before deciding to bring their idea of moving across the country and starting their own church to their pastors.

After years of thought, prayer, and planning, the couple launched Gospel Church in Fredonia, New York, in January 2022 with the help of ARC (Association of Related Churches). In the time since, the Heathers have witnessed spiritual, physical, and financial miracles as they’ve reached their local community with the love of Jesus.

Here is the Heathers’ story of planting an ARC church in small-town New York.

Launching Churches Was Nothing New

Launching a new church is quite an undertaking, but it’s something that Randie had some previous experience with before launching Gospel Church with her husband, Billy. Randie was part of a large family of seven people who started Destiny Church out of a living room in Southern California. 

The church always meant a lot to Randie, but it took on new meaning when she met Billy. One day, he walked through the doors of the church, looking for hope as he was diagnosed with cancer.

At Destiny Church, Billy didn’t just find hope in Jesus; he found a future wife as well.

Together, the couple served as youth pastors for six years and then as campus pastors. They always thought they’d be serving at Destiny Church forever, but then something changed.

Small Town New York Was Calling

Randie explains that she and Billy first traveled to Fredonia for her sister’s wedding. When they were leaving, she said they knew something was different about the place, but something was missing, too. 

“We knew that He was calling us here,” Billy Heather said. “But, the first two trips, it just seemed like it would have been crazy to just get up and move. So, we kind of held onto it probably for a solid year.”

Randie explains that they spent the first year praying and the second year consumed with asking God for direction.

In the third year after their revelation, the Heathers took their idea to their pastors, Obed and Lisette Martinez.

They Wanted to Do It Right

Obed explains that when the Heathers brought their idea to him and his wife, they sat down, thought about it, and decided that they wanted to approach their guidance to the Heathers like they would approach their own children.

One way they did that was by having their church family support the Heathers for a year-and-a-half so they could build their new ARC church and not have to worry about getting jobs, too. 

As the Heathers attended ARC (Association of Related Churches) launch training, they received another huge financial surprise — they won a $20,000 giveaway that helped them launch their church.

When they were announced as the winners of the giveaway, Randie said it was a sign that they should pursue a building they were considering for their new ARC church. At the one-year anniversary of Gospel Church, Billy was happy to report that the building was already paid off and they were debt free.

That financial freedom — fueled in large part by their church family in California and ARC Churches — has helped the Heathers reach more people in the community with the message of Jesus.

About ARC (Association of Related Churches)

ARC (Association of Related Churches) is a cooperative of independent churches from different denominations, networks, and backgrounds who strategically resource church planters and pastors to help them reach people with the message of Jesus. ARC exists to see a thriving church in every community, reaching people with the message of Jesus. Since its beginning in 2000, ARC has grown into a global organization and has helped plant more than 1,000 churches.