The Church at Brook Hills announces Payne as pastor of church multiplication

Communications Staff — May 9, 2012

The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., voted to receive J.D. Payne as its pastor of church multiplication, May 6, 2012. This comes after the church’s elders recommended Payne to the congregation during April.

“I’m grateful to God for his grace in leading J.D. to Brook Hills,” said David Platt, senior pastor of the Church at Brook Hills. “As we are training pastors and church planters in the local church to serve throughout North America and the nations, I can’t think of a better person to lead this way in the local church. I look forward to seeing how the Lord uses him in the days ahead to lead the Church at Brook Hills and other local churches to passionately make disciples and intentionally multiply churches.”

Since 2002, Payne has served with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and Southern Seminary as associate professor of church planting and evangelism and director of the Center for North American Missions and Church Planting, as well as being a national missionary with NAMB.

“We’re going to miss J.D. Payne incredibly. Our loss is Brook Hills’ gain,” said Zane Pratt, dean of the Billy Graham School, noting that Payne would continue with Southern Seminary in an adjunct role.

Payne spoke fondly of his time at Southern: “The past 10 years have been an incredible blessing. The men and women who make up the faculty at Southern are wonderful – and dear friends. I will most definitely miss them.

“I loved being able to be a part of an environment where students have been hungry to get out of the classroom and into the field sharing the gospel and planting churches. I’m very humbled to have been here the past 10 years.”

Payne will officially start his position with Brook Hills July 1. As pastor of church multiplication, he will oversee Brook Hills’ church planting efforts in North America, which includes working closely with the church’s pastor of global disciple-making in matters related to cross-cultural church planting. Payne’s responsibilities will include developing an equipping center that will seek to mobilize the church’s 4,200 members for evangelism and discipleship, helping people from all stages of life and leadership to become more faithful and effective disciple-makers. The center will also provide opportunities for the church to raise up future leaders in these areas.

During the course of last 14 months, Payne said he conversed with Platt about helping them find someone who fit the role of church multiplication pastor. Platt contacted Payne after reading Payne’s work. For some time prior to this, Payne and his wife, Sarah, sensed a new direction in terms of God’s call on their lives. Payne thought he would continue in academia in some form. However, as he continued to give counsel to Platt and the leaders at Brook Hills, he began to consider the position of pastor of church multiplication for himself.

“The more I thought and prayed after David and I first spoke the more I felt like the Lord was probably leading me in this direction,” he said.

Soon after this, Platt asked Payne if he thought about taking on the role himself, and after several trips from Louisville to Birmingham, along with times of fasting and praying, Payne decided to pursue the position. After Payne interacted with the elders and leaders at Brook Hills to determine that he was on the same page with them theologically, missiologically and philosophically, the church moved forward with making him its pastor of church multiplication.

Interestingly enough, Payne said, noting that it is to his embarrassment, he knew little about Platt and the Church at Brook Hills other than what he read, heard and saw in the media.

“Up until about 14 months ago, I knew practically nothing about the Church at Brook Hills. I knew practically nothing about David Platt. I never read his books. I only heard him preach three times in chapel at Southern,” he said.

“Other than that, I knew nothing.”

Payne explained that Platt’s deep theological commitments wed with a robust yet simple understanding of missiology appealed to him since becoming familiar with Platt. Now, he will join Platt on a more direct level in reaching the ends of the earth with the gospel.

Payne and Sarah, who have been married since 1995, have three children: Hannah (10), Rachel (7) and Joel (5). For the last nine years, Sarah worked as a part-time physician in internal medicine and pediatrics, serving the uninsured at a Louisville clinic. She will continue similar work serving at a clinic in Birmingham.

More information related to Payne’s new role as pastor of church multiplication at the Church at Brook Hills, including video, is available at the church’s Web site,

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