Association of Related Churches

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The Association of Related Churches (ARC) is a Birmingham-based non-profit ministry and network of evangelical Christian churches. It was founded in 2000 by a group of six pastors inspired by the commitment of Greg Surratt, pastor of Seacoast Church in Charleston, South Carolina, to "plant 2000 churches". The association provides financial support toward the "planting" of new churches.

One of those founding pastors, Chris Hodges, was also in the process of launching a new church in Birmingham, which became Church of the Highlands. The Association's president, Billy Hornsby, served as a teaching pastor at Highlands until his death in 2011. He was succeeded as president by Surratt, and Dino Rizzo was named executive director in 2013. The Association dedicated the Billy Hornsby Center for Church Planting at 1201 Lee Branch Lane at the Highlands at Greystone campus in 2015. Between 2016 and 2018 its National Director of Church Planting was Joshua Mauney, who left to found the Newsound Church in Palm Beach County, Florida.

The Association of Related Churches operates around the world, with branches in Canada, Ireland, Australasia, and South Africa. Though the Association maintains that it, "has no legal, governmental or corporate oversight or control" over any affiliated churches, it does appoint "overseers" to its affiliates, and it has provided a "pastoral recovery" process for church leaders who, like Rizzo himself, have left their congregations after being accused of inappropriate sexual relationships.

In 2023 Hodges, Rizzo and the Association of Related Churches were named in a lawsuit brought by Stovall and Kerri Weems, founders of the Celebration Life Church in Jacksonville, Florida. The suit claimed that the ARC leadership conspired to frame the Weemses and force them out of their positions to protect the association's insterests.


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