Clergy and laity of the Anglican Church in North America represent diverse gifts and approaches to ministry in their local contexts, demonstrating the breadth of Anglicanism at its best. As a church planter, coach, consultant, author and highly successful networker, Winfield Bevins is an example of the strong leadership base that makes up the province. Senior Pastor at Church of the Outer Banks, North Carolina, Winfield is fairly new to the Anglican world but has found a home in the newly formed Diocese of the Carolinas.
Expressing the Great Commandment and Great Commission in an accessible way, Winfield’s vision extends to the congregation whose members commit to “Love God, Love Each Other and Live on Mission.” This commitment is close to Winfield’s heart. He didn’t become a Christian until he was 19 years old and had no church involvement.
“I was a radically unchurched person and God used that to give me DNA to really get out of the box and reach lost people,” Winfield explains. “So I am passionate about mission and keep it at the forefront—everything is secondary to the Great Commission.”
“Gathering and building relationships are the keys to effective church planting,” Winfield says. He has been quite creative in his gathering methods, including hanging out in coffee shops and serving as a designated driver of a 15-passenger van serving a company transporting individuals to professional baseball games. Winfield was intentional about building relationships and within a year, 10 to 15 of the passengers were believers and church members. He understands the power of strategic connections.
Winfield notes that the western Church has not been doing well in making disciples. For him, church planting is a discipleship movement in which people are gathered, led to Christ and trained as disciples. At church of the Outer Banks, members who joined in their early twenties are now having children, changing the needs and ethos of the congregation.
“This represents a great strength, blessing and newness of life for us,” says Winfield. “But it is also a challenge for us to help families raise up children in the way they should go.”
This need became the genesis for Winfield’s book on discipleship entitled, Creed: Connect to the Historic Christian Faith, which ties the needs
of the changing, current culture to the historic faith of the church.
“It began as small group bible study,” Winfield explains. “It’s very simple, readable and written in a way anyone could pick up and understand. It follows the Anglican path of focusing on the Creed, the Ten Commandments and the Lord’s Prayer.”
While in college, Winfield sensed a call to serve overseas as a missionary and to train missionaries in other countries. As his ministry unfolded, however, he realized that he was being led to fulfill the vision from God in North America. As a result, he left Tennessee where he was a pastor and college professor, and he and his wife Kay founded Church of the Outer Banks in 2005. The congregation has served as a launching pad for training and planting dozens of churches in the last four to five years.
Winfield serves as President of Plant NC, an interdenominational church planting network in the state. The organization has planted 40 churches in a little over two years. He also has a proven track record as a coach, and he credits a strong spiritual gift of discernment that enhances his effectiveness.
Winfield’s mission and ministry mirror the Anglican Church in North America’s emphasis on church planting, ecumenical relations and developing disciples through catechesis. But he has found his unique niche and style that fits coastal North Carolina and is influencing a generation of new leaders dedicated to kingdom ministry.