We are the Kannard family and we were sent to Rome, Italy from Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Clay serves as co-pastor of the church, Breccia di Roma. We are primarily partnered with Italian evangelical leaders for the advancement of the Gospel in the city of Rome through the training of new pastors, the planting of new churches in Italy, and the equipping of evangelical leaders around the world to gain a better understanding of Roman Catholic theology and practice.
Questions people ask us: * “Why Rome?” * “Is it not one of the most religious cities in the world?” * “Is it not already Christian?” * “Is that not the heart of Roman Catholicism and the home of the Pope?”
Rome is full of religion. However, it is almost void of the Gospel. If what we find at the heart of Roman Catholicism is a false gospel, and that is exactly what we find, then can it be called Christian? If not, then this makes Rome one of the darkest places in the world because over a billion people worldwide being led astray in the name of Jesus Christ by the theology and practice of the Roman Catholic Church. Rome is our home and the city where God has called us to work alongside our Italian partners for discipleship, church planting and leadership formation in the city of Rome, Italy, and the world.
The Lord Jesus’ promise that He will build his Church (Matthew 16:18) continues to make us praise His name and encourages us to fully give ourselves to this noble task. The fact that Jesus Christ is building His church in Rome too, with all its complexities and challenges, fills us with joy and expectation. Our church Breccia di Roma (meaning, the Breach of Rome) was planted in 2010 with a vision to become a community of believers who would serve the city of Rome in a prophetic, priestly and royal way thus “breaching” the spiritual strongholds of Rome with the gospel and laboring towards a time of biblical reformation in the city and the nation. Our desire was and still is to see a church planting movement that impacts the city and is an encouragement to other Italian churches to engage in church planting throughout the country.
Glory to God, in September of 2018 the first church planting work from Breccia was launched in the San Paolo area. Our desire over the next 10 years is to see 3 more church planted out of ours alone. We know how difficult it is to see progress in Italy but we are confident that God is moving and will move to make it happen. For this big dream to become reality we are involved in providing training opportunities for Italian leaders through IFED and Union School of Theology so that the best training available is made accessible to a significant number of Italians. The 2016 purchase of a building in the historic city center was also motivated by the need to have adequate facilities to support theological and leadership training (e.g. lecture rooms, library, office).
The way our church envisages promoting church planting is through bi-vocational Italian leaders who are matched with missionaries who have a long-term commitment to work in Italy and who are willing to work in the context of core groups made-up of Italian believers. Why bi-vocational? Because we want to help these Italian leaders stay connected with their professions, cultivating a self-supporting missionary culture, while providing them with opportunities to be trained and mentored in their spiritual growth. We are a confessional church, in that we subscribe to the 1689 London Confession of Faith. In the Italian context we are part of the association of Reformed Baptist churches CERBI and in a wider circle, we are involved with the Italian Evangelical Alliance.
Being in the heart of Rome also allows us to serve the global church with the ministry of the Reformanda Initiative (RI). The RI exists to identify, unite, equip and resource evangelical leaders to understand Roman Catholic theology and practice, to educate the evangelical Church and to communicate the Gospel. Given the present-day superficiality of much Evangelicalism when it comes to discerning the reality of Roman Catholicism, the RI is strategic for the future of gospel witness around the world. The flagship activity of RI is the Rome Scholars Network, a week-long seminar for global evangelical leaders to help them become more solid and competent in their dealings with Roman Catholic theology and practice.
All of this is to say that the work God has prepared for us in Rome is a local, national and global work. Locally, we are living missionally in the community, opening our home to those who live in this global city and sharing the Gospel of Christ with the lost. As a family, we are encouraging Roman believers to live out their faith daily in the pressures that come along with being a religious minority and follower of Christ in a corrupt city. We serve the local church by being fully committed members. Clay serves as co-pastor of the church, Lauren helps lead various activities centered on the arts and hospitality, Josh helps lead worship, and our girls serve the little ones of the church. All of our children attend the Italian public schools.
Clay also serves as the GDip field mentor for Union School of Theology in Rome and is a leader in the pastoral residency program. Nationally, Clay is the Worldventure Field Leader for Italy. He is the administrator for the Rome Church Planters Network which exists to encourage Italian church planters through prayer and training resources. He also serves as a leader and editor for the Italian evangelical magazine, Loci Communes. Globally, Clay is the communications director for the Reformanda Initiative.
Find out more online: Reformanda Initiative
The Institute for Evangelical Culture & Documentation
The Institute for Evangelical Formation & Documentation
Union School of Theology (Rome)
Loci Communes, an Italian evangelical online magazine