Eschatology & Church Planting

Much like the servant who received five talents in the kingdom parable (Matthew 25:16), on numerous occasions I have found God using me far above my pay grade. At one of the early Calvary Church Planting Network conferences I was asked to be part of a panel discussion on church planting. I could see my wife praying at the back of the crowded room because she knows I get very nervous in extemporaneous settings. She knows, I know, and too many others know, I tend to ramble and repeat myself in these types of settings. To rattle me more, I was among five giants; the panel was with pastors and missionaries I highly respect and count as my mentors.

Questions for the panel were submitted digitally for the moderator to field. With each question he gave the panel a moment for one of us to respond. It seemed to work and I could simply work out a response that hopefully edified the audience and those listening online. It was way less stressful than I had predicted, and maybe I even enjoyed it. That changed about 40 minutes into the questions. That is when someone asked if the contemporary church had lost its emphasis on reaching the lost because it had lost its emphasis on eschatology. The question was just sinking in when moderator quickly turned to me for a response. It was the very definition of extemporaneous and my gut turned a bit.

Nerves hit me and I responded by rambling and misquoting Revelation 7:9, “We want to reach every nation, tribe and tongue that will come worship the Lamb that was slain. That’s eschatology, that’s our end game.” I said a few more things, but it was just variations of my first statement. That setting may help explain why I hope to clarify the response to the question because that is immensely important  in considering the completion of the mission of God.

On a few occasions I have had the honor to be with a fellowship of God’s people as they launch into a fully functioning church. I’ve told them Jesus has built them together as His community, His own special people to worship Him. I’m confident to tell the fledgling congregation that though there is great conflict among principalities and powers in the founding of a church, Jesus promises the gates of hell will not prevail against His church. Finally I tell them because of the protection Jesus offers, some version of that church should be meeting until Jesus returns for them. When I share these things it is everything I can do to not be overwhelmed with emotion. It’s emotional to me because as God gathers His people to build His church it touches eternity, and in return He allows us to touch eternity.

…as God gathers His people to build His church it touches eternity, and in return He allows us to touch eternity.

God is an excellent mission leader and we know He will excellently complete His mission. We read of the last moments of His mission in the judgments of Revelation 20. There, only a few pages before the concordance in your Bible, the whole storyline from when the Lord cried out across the separation, “Where are you?” is almost complete. All history is converging and the end is a page away. But there is one last thing.

In Revelation 21 a loud voice from haven proclaims the end of the mission of God by saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev 21:3). That’s it, the story and mission are complete, His people are gathered.

I should have responded to the question about eschatology to the panel by saying; “The questions of eschatology being the driving force in outreach is backwards. It is the mission of God that drives eschatology and will bring about the worship of the Lamb that was slain by people from every nation, tribe, peoples, and tongues.” Of course that answer came to me later that night, just before catching our flight back to Kenya, but I’m writing the book and get to say it here.

It is the mission of God that drives eschatology and will bring about the worship of the Lamb that was slain by people from every nation, tribe, peoples, and tongues.

Ed Compean is a church planting coach based in Nairobi with his wife Kelli, but soon to transition back to the States to serve as director with SSMF. You can read their blog or follow him on Twitter @Ed_Compean.

From Multi-site to Church Launch Site

It all started with a vision to reach our community for God’s Glory. It was during the first CCPN Church Planting Conference at Twin Peaks when we knew God wanted us to start a work in Santa Paula, CA with the solid Bible-teaching Calvary Chapels are known for.

Two moments figure as central in establishing the work:

The first was birthed in prayer. The elders of CC Oxnard gathered at a home in Santa Paula for a time of counsel and prayer. The home has a beautiful view of a good part of the city. I was moved to invite the elders to step outside, look over and pray God’s blessing down onto the people. At that moment the seed of a vision was dropped into my heart.

The second moment critical in launching the work was at a men’s fellowship at CC Oxnard. A man recently relocated from Oregon offered his home in Santa Paula as a place for a home Bible study. We’d recently attended the Church-Planting conference at Twin Peaks and were praying for a door to open in the city where we could begin meeting. It was clear God was cultivating the little seed He’d planted in our hearts. The vision began to grow and more people came alongside to assist in the work.

Like many new churches, we’ve faced the challenge of facilities but God has now settled us in the heart of Santa Paula in a permanent home. We are currently a video campus for CC Oxnard with a dedicated ministry team. I teach once a month but as the fellowship here has taken root, we will be phasing the video out and becoming a church plant.

Pastor Fabian Moreno is the campus pastor at Calvary Chapel Santa Paula in California, a satellite site of Calvary Chapel Oxnard. The campus will launch into a church plant in the near future.

Financial Gift Resource for Church Planters

We had a great time at Re:Engage 2014 just a few months ago! What a blessing it was to join with so many pastors from around the country and beyond. Through the conference we were able to get the word out about HaloPays’ partnership with CCPN.

First and foremost, we are here to assist church plants in getting set up with online giving. For new church plants who started meeting within the last 6 months, we are covering ALL of your processing fees for the the first year. That means you keep 100% of your online donations and your website is up and running with online giving.

For churches who aren’t new church plants, we offer our flat rate pricing starting at 3% for credit and debit and 1% for ACH (electronic funds transfer). Let us do an assessment of your current processing and see how we can help you keep more of your donations.

You also receive the benefit of event registration within our BlueFire software for free! This allows your church to take registrations and payments completely on your website, post a QR on your event flier that links to the registration page on your website, and even take sign ups and payments on an iPad or iPhone with our mobile swiper. The possibilities are endless. This month we also launched text giving to make giving even more simple.

We hope you partner with us so we can provide the best online, kiosk, text and swipe giving solutions to your church. Our mission is and always has been to keep giving simple and help you keep more of your funds. Give us a chance to do that for you. Visit us at GoBlueFire or sign up

here today!

Julianne Gavin wears many hats. She is the wife of church planter, Pastor Trevor Gavin, the mother of an infant and representative of BlueFire. You can check out Nexus Portland on the web and follow the Gavins in their journey on their blog.

ReEngage Conference Video Content

The video content from our recent ReEngage Church Planting Conference in Costa Mesa is now available! We’ll be releasing a few videos each day until they’re all available.

As you’ll see, the videos contain powerful and informative information for pastor, church planters, mentors, and so much more. We would encourage you to take some time to watch the videos as they become available, and make sure to pass them on to people in your social circles.

The video content can be accessed at reengage.ccpnetwork.org.

We hope you’re blessed by these videos and that you launch out in faith to what God is calling you to!

The Need to Re:Engage in Church Planting

Why you should go to “ReEngage14

There are countless reasons why you should invest your resources and time to attend this church planting conference at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa September 29-30, 2014. Let’s focus on three critical aspects of church planting in our movement.

Realization

Church planting benefits the sending church. There is a myth that church planting will harm the sending church, but to the contrary, church planting actually enhances the sending church. Churches that plant churches are generally attractive places to grow in Christ in their communities. There is a sense in those local churches of excitement, mission, and advancing the Kingdom of God. The myths that it is too costly, time-consuming or complicated will be quickly dispelled as we share the vision for renewed church planting in our movement. Church planting benefits the Kingdom. Church planting is recognized as the most efficient and effective way to reach the lost and advance the Kingdom. There are countless communities in the United States and around the globe that are in need of healthy, Bible-teaching churches that have a balanced view of the present work of the Holy Spirit. Church planting benefits the Calvary Chapel movement. If we don’t plant churches and expand our movement, it shall plateau and decline. The realization of these benefits and the personal responsibility for church planting should compel us to engage in this initiative.

Relationship

Relationships require cultivation. We are a relational network of churches that share a common philosophy of ministry and theology. Carving out two days to spend time with like-minded pastors and prospective planters yields a lifetime of relational dividends. While we rejoice in the ability to glean content online, we must also recognize that it doesn’t replace personal interaction. The face-to-face time with leaders and peers provides encouragement, equipping and empathy as we share our common experiences of challenges and celebrations. Existing relationships will be strengthened and new relationships shall be formed. If you are a pastor who is seeking to train and empower church planters, you will benefit from enhancing relationships with like-minded leaders. But you must also realize that you need to encourage and support the development of relationships on the part of prospective planters. The church planters need the opportunity to cultivate relationships with a band of brothers who are embarking on the epic quest of church planting. This conference provides those opportunities. During the last two years of the Calvary Church Planting Network (CCPN) I’ve been blessed to attend numerous gatherings around the globe where I have met men in various stages of church planting that I hope will be lifetime friends. The experience of gathering with familiar friends and making new friends who are passionate about church planting, the CC movement, and the greater Kingdom of God – people from all over the globe – is inspiring.

Resources

Starting a new church is often the most difficult challenge that a church planter will experience in his life. This reality is a catalyst to ensure that we are responsible to provide resources in order that they are equipped for the task. Mentors need to be better equipped to train planters, and planters need to receive training and resources that are consistent with our movement. We need to ensure the accurate and effective transmission of the “Calvary Chapel DNA” (our philosophy of ministry and theology), so that healthy CC churches are established. This year’s conference line-up of main session speakers and workshop leaders are well-known, gifted, leaders in our movement. Most importantly they will address practical and critical aspects of the equipping process. Furthermore, these leaders will be available to talk with you and encourage you. You simply won’t get that experience by seeking resources on-line.

ReEngage

Our movement has been at the forefront of church planting since our early days. The work of God’s Spirit is available for a new generation of church planters. Faithful CC leaders who pioneered the church planting effort in our movement desperately want to see the next generation of leaders continue and expand this good work. At CCPN we believe that we are just getting started. Join us as we continue to apply and impart 50 years of church planting experience to a new generation of up-and-coming CC church planting pastors as they engage a lost world with the truth of the Gospel.

Why ReEngage 14 Is For You!

Pastor Bruce Zachary (CCPN Director) & Senior Pastor of Calvary Nexus in Camarillo, CA.


There are several reasons why you should invest your resources and time to attend this year’s conference at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa 9.29-30.14. To Equip — To Encourage — To Engage

To Equip: Starting a new churchis often the most difficult challenge that a church planter will experience in his life. This reality is a catalyst to ensure that we are responsible to invest resources to ensure that they are equipped for the task. Mentors need to be better equipped to train planters and planters need to receive training and resources that are consistent with our movement. We need to ensure the accurate and effective transmission of the Calvary Chapel DNA [our philosophy of ministry and theology] so that healthy CC churches are established. This year’s conference line-up of main session speakers and workshop leaders are well known, gifted, and leaders in our movement. Most importantly they will address practical and critical aspects of the equipping process. Furthermore, they will be available to those that attend to talk, equip, and encourage you in the process. You simply won’t get that experience by seeking resources on-line.

“We need to ensure the accurate and effective transmission of the Calvary Chapel DNA [our philosophy of ministry and theology] so that healthy CC churches are established.”

To Encourage: Gathering with other like-minded pastors, aspiring planters, and other leaders in various stages of the process of planting strengthens each participant. The opportunity to hear from others beyond our generally limited areas provides strength and comfort for the task at hand. The experience of gathering with familiar friends and making new friends who are passionate about church planting, the CC movement, and the greater Kingdom of God – people from all over the globe – is inspiring. You will discover that many of the concerns and fears: it is too complicated, too time consuming, too costly, or it will hurt the sending church were simply lies from the enemy of men’s souls. Until you hear it face to face from peers, and others in the trenches you are unlikely to take the necessary steps of faith to move forward in the process. You will be encouraged to be strong and of good courage and to cross the Jordan River and experience the Promised Land of church planting.

To Engage: There are potential mentors and prospective planters who have thought about the idea of church planting and been attracted to the concept. They have taken a peek at some resources or heard some exciting news and wondered, “God is this something that you are calling me (us) to?” They’ve been curious but have not engaged. Although they keep sensing, “Some day we are going to do that” they haven’t for months or even years. Committing resources for church planting is a catalyst to engage. By carving out time in your schedule and encouraging others to attend you begin to engage in the process and then it is only natural supernaturally to find yourself advancing God’s kingdom through church planting.

“By carving out time in your schedule and encouraging others to attend you begin to engage in the process and then it is only natural supernaturally to find yourself advancing God’s kingdom through church planting.”

So register, bring a team, invite prospective planters, mentors, and their wives, and be equipped, be encouraged and engage in church planting!


 Register for ReEngage 14 here!

ReEngage Nairobi 2013 Pt. 2

a vision to reach Africa for Christ through the expansion of the Calvary Chapel movement by bruce zachary

During the recent Re:Engage intensive in Nairobi, Kenya I had the opportunity to meet with several leaders in the CC movement in Africa to discuss a vision for reaching the continent of Africa for Christ through the expansion of the CC movement. There is a great need to establish more healthy Bible teaching, Spirit-filled churches throughout Africa.

Presently, there are about fifty-five (55) countries in Africa, and there are Calvary Chapels in ten to fifteen (10-15) of the countries. Some countries are friendly to the gospel (essentially Christian), some are essentially neutral to the gospel, and unfortunately some are clearly hostile to the gospel (fundamental Islamic states). Another relevant dynamic on the continent is the displaced resident aliens. Essentially, people are displaced from their ancestral homeland as a result of famine, economic hardship, military turmoil, political tension, and religious persecution. The situation is reminiscent of the persecution of the church and the edict expelling Christians from Rome. God used the circumstances to draw people to Ephesus as a hub in Asia Minor where Paul could mentor them at the School of Tyrannus [Ac.19:9], and then send them out to support the churches of Asia Minor and ultimately return many to Rome once circumstances allowed [Rom.16].

Presently, there are about fifty-five (55) countries in Africa, and there are Calvary Chapels in ten to fifteen (10-15) of the countries.

In light of the present circumstances, how can we effectively expand the gospel and CC presence on the continent? Here is one proposed part of the solution:

1) Utilize the several existing healthy “larger” CC churches in Africa as training centers. These churches provide a model for “catching” the core values (philosophy of ministry and theology) of CC plus provide a location where prospective church planters can serve in internship program.

2) Establish intentional training through Schools of Ministry [SoM] and Church Planter Training classes, as well as Bible Colleges where feasible.

3) Share the vision to reach the nations of Africa [nation states, and people groups] through the African CC churches, the CCPN site, and calvarychapelafrica.com.

4) Send called men: those with a burden for areas without a CC presence including, but not limited to, men seeking to return to their ancestral homeland to plant. Encourage planting in cities of influence [e.g. Ephesus] while not limiting or discouraging those called to rural or remote areas.

5) Establish church plants with the DNA to establish their own SoM and church planting training classes as they mature. In essence, the church plants have the core value [DNA] to replicate. It would be most be beneficial to encourage missionaries who are mature in their faith, and very familiar with Calvary Chapel core values to support the church plants. Missionaries with these skills would be a great benefit to the core team and would likely be capable of assisting in leadership development including teaching curriculum such as SoM or church planting classes.

6) The new healthy church plants will thus become hubs in previously unreached countries and areas to expand the gospel and the influence of the CC movement throughout the continent of Africa. Keep the training biblical, relational, and Calvary-centric.

7) Therefore, leverage healthy CC churches in Africa as training and sending churches to expand the CC influence in Africa and help reach the continent for Christ.

ReEngage Nairobi 2013 Pt. 1

Re:Engage church planting conference Nairobi, Kenya October 18, 2013 by bruce zachary 

I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the the intensive in Nairobi, Kenya along with our host and East Africa core leader Ed Compean pastor of CC Githurai in Nairobi, and Demitri Nkiforos pastor of CC Cape Town and core leader for South Africa.

It was exactly one year since our first conference at Twin Peaks, California [Re:Engage 2012] when CCPN was birthed in earnest. In the last year, God has generated significant interest in church planting in the CC movement in the Untied States and globally. In the last year, over 450 CC Pastors and potential planters have registered with the CCPN, and many are presently being mentored as planters, and some have already have gone out to plant.

Pastors and prospective planters gathered from various areas in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Barundi, and some nomadic Masai people. The sessions focused on: who should plant a Calvary Chapel, what Calvary is (our unique philosophy of ministry and core values), and how to: mentoring – Jesus’ method of preparing church planters.

One of the pastors in attendance was Matt Pottenger. Matt, his wife Peggy and their two young daughters, came to Kenya as missionaries more than five-years ago. They are presently supporting pastor Stephen Otieno of CC Lakeside, a church at Lake Victoria in Kenya that was planted out of CC Githurai in Nairobi. Pastor Stephen read the Calvary Church Planting Manual [CP manual] as part of his post launch preparation and caught the vision for replicating CC churches on the continent of Africa. Matt is now training a group of 10 men at CC Lakeside using the CP manual.

Dave Zavala, the pastor of CC Nairobi, the director of the CC Bible college in Nairobi, and a CCA leader in East Africa, was also in attendance at the conference. Dave shared how he caught the vision to utilize the CP manual to implement a church planting component at the Bible college.

I was so blessed to meet pastors and prospective planters at the conference. There were so many that were excited, encouraged, and empowered to reach their continent for Christ and His gospel through the expansion of healthy Calvary Chapel church plants. So many of them expressed the great need for healthy Bible teaching churches in a land where “hyper-Pentecostalism,” prosperity preaching, legalism, and the cults are so entrenched. Nevertheless, what so many men expressed to me was their great joy regarding the relational aspect of the Calvary movement.

So many of them expressed the great need for healthy Bible teaching churches in a land where “hyper-Pentecostalism,” prosperity preaching, legalism, and the cults are so entrenched.

Africans in general are far more relational than their counterparts in the west. Time is often perceived as a river that seems to flow forever – a never ceasing supply. So, time is invested into relationships more than task per se. The Calvary movement has emphasized the relational aspect of our network – it is a distinctive. The men at the conference were encouraged on so many levels, but especially by the enhanced relational nature of the mentoring process that CCPN seeks to develop during training as well as post-launch coaching.

The men at the conference were encouraged on so many levels, but especially by the enhanced relational nature of the mentoring process that CCPN seeks to develop during training as well as post-launch coaching.

So, we praise God for the work that He is doing in our movement, and through CCPN, and look forward to expanding His kingdom together.

ReEngage 2013: Nairobi recap

We’ve had a very successful run of ReEngage intensives so far (and still have 1 left) in 2013! So far, ReEngage intensives have happened in 5 U.S. states, 4 countries, on 4 continents! The whole world needs to see and hear what God is doing through the faithful teaching of God’s Word! Here’s a recap of ReEngage Nairobi from Pastor Ed Compean…

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In God’s sovereignty Calvary Chapel was birthed in one of the most privileged American suburban settings in a time of great cultural change. By the power of God’s Spirit that privilege was leveraged to spread God’s word through the planting of Calvary Chapel churches that then planted healthy Calvary Chapel churches far from those origins. While having the honor to host the Calvary Church Planting Network ReEngage 13 Conference in Nairobi, I considered how God is continuing to spread that influence in diverse places. At this conference I could see great honor and reverence for the early work of the Spirit in the movement, but I could also see the future of Calvary Chapel is beginning to look much different.

At ReEngage Nairobi we were asked questions that were likely never considered in the Southern California settings of our founders. A young Masai church planter working among a group of pastoralists began the question and answer session by asking, “If we follow the shepherds with their cows and only meet under a tree, is that still a Calvary Chapel?” It was not long ago that meeting in school cafeterias, the use of electric guitars in worship, and pastors wearing jeans raised legitimate questions for churches in the suburbs of our origins. The questions being raised for the next generation of churches are just as legitimate and is evidence of God spreading the influence of Jesus through the Calvary Chapel Movement for another generation.

“If we follow the shepherds with their cows and only meet under a tree, is that still a Calvary Chapel?”

As God continues to use our movement among some of the least reached and hardest to reach peoples, these and others will be real questions for church planters and mentors to work through. Some of the questions will be challenging our methodologies like working through our idea of verse by verse Bible teaching among peoples that do not have a Bible translated into their mother tongue. Other situations reveal the depth of sin like when one pastor asked, “What can we do when someone comes into the church with multiple wives?” He continued to ask if baptizing a polygamist is permissible.

A few generations ago God used the Calvary Chapel Movement, and others, to draw drugged and burned out hippies to Himself in what some have called a beautiful and unique work of the Spirit. There is still much work to be done, but it is my belief that God is again doing a grand supernatural move of His Spirit in reaching the final peoples very far from that original work. As I consider the churches and, Lord willing, future churches of our movement here in Africa, I praise Him that He is again using our movement in a mighty way. There was a day when barefooted hippies and surfers forced people back to the Book of Acts to define church. It is exciting to again go to the Bible to consider what the next generation of Calvary Chapel churches will look like among tribal peoples, urban slum dwellers, pastoralists and in dense African cities.

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We wanted to give you a visual of our latest ReEngage intensive that happened in Nairobi, Kenya on October 18. Pastors Ed Compean (Calvary Chapel Githurai) and Bruze Zachary (Calvary Nexus) led the intensive. The turn out was great and God moved in a powerful way as they sought to train up more church planters and equip mentors. Here’s a look at our Kenya intensive…