Who Should Plant a Calvary Chapel?

Who Should Plant a Calvary Chapel?

Christ-Confident

I Peter 2.9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

 

When speaking of any kind of leadership, you don’t have to dig very deep into secular reading to find that CONFIDENCE in oneself is viewed as a MUST. Take a look at what a few authors have said on the subject matter:

 

“There is one particular component of leadership that is so important, so necessary, that without it, leadership cannot exist. That component is confidence. Self-confidence is the fundamental basis from which leadership grows.”

 

“Trying to teach leadership without first building confidence is like building a house on a foundation of sand. It may have a nice coat of paint, but it is ultimately shaky at best.”

 

“While the leadership community has focused on passion, communication, and empowerment, they’ve ignored this most basic element and in the process they have planted these other components of leadership in a bed of quicksand.”

 

Yet, we know through our own EXPERIENCE and the WORD of God that confidence in oneself is nothing but a foundation of quicksand.

 

Jeremiah 17.5-6: Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land.

 

Phil 3.3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh—

 

Confidence is truly a MUST in church planting, but not a confidence in you, your system, or your training; but a confidence in the PERSON and MISSION of Jesus Christ. We must be Christ-Confident. That’s why I love this passage in 1 Pet 2, take this passage in again, and see the truth of who we are in Christ: a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

 

When you know who you are it changes everything. We are confident because we are confident in WHO we are IN Christ.

 

Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20  “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

 

This passage is over-familiar to us all as those interested in planting and pastoring a church, but, what I don’t want you to miss is what Jesus says in verse eighteen. Jesus says, ALL authority in heaven & earth is MINE. Jesus, the one who has called us, this is HIS mission and He’s our backer. We can be confident not because we have it ALL together, but because HE does, and He’s called us to care for and lead His people.

 

If that doesn’t give you confidence, I don’t know what will. I see a picture of this confidence best displayed in my daughters. I can remember when my oldest was learning to swim, and she would jump into the pool from diving board… she would ask the question, “Are you gonna catch me?” When she jumped and I caught her… we were jumping and catching ALL day. When my youngest daughter was just an infant and would cry, I would cradle her in my arms and she would fit nestled between my hand and my elbow, as I would speak to hear and sway her in my arms, she calmed down.

 

As planters, we have been given a heavenly calling & mission from Jesus, the one whose calmed storms and conquered death. He’s gonna catch us, He’s gonna calm us; let’s be confident in who Christ is and who He has made us to be… may we be confident in Him!

 


This article is adapted from some of the content from our Planter’s Manual. Download the full manual from our site to find out more about planting a Calvary Chapel church.

 

CCPN Roundtable, Githurai, Kenya

To facilitate as many bi-vocational mentors, pastors and planters, Calvary Church Planting Network Roundtables in the United States are a few hours in length. It’s not that way here in East Africa.

The recent CCPN Roundtable hosted at Calvary Chapel Githruai in Kenya took the tone of a retreat as several pastors came early from around the country and Tanzania to spend the night together in prayer and fellowship at the church building. By morning there were groups of church planters, mentors and lead pastors gathered around chai in prayer and fellowship long before the official first session. Old friendships were rekindled, new ones were made.

The first session was Who Should Plant a Church and I was honored to teach it. I wanted people to realize where they fit on the church planting team. My points were the Good Shepherd is building His church, His Spirit is calling out workers to join in, and all people in all churches have a place on the team.

My points were the Good Shepherd is building His church, His Spirit is calling out workers to join in, and all people in all churches have a place on the team.

Pastor Stephen Otieno Nyadenge from Calvary Chapel Lakeside represented the Calvary Chapel Association board of East Africa in the second session by giving an informational message on the affiliation process. Being a mentor of multiple church planters, Pastor Stephen was able to relate the practical side of being sent out and the steps someone goes through to become an affiliated pastor.

The third session was by the roundtable’s Githurai host, Pastor Murigi Kariuki. He titled the message, Nurturing a Church Planting Culture and addressed established churches as well as the new churches represented in the roundtable. His points were based on purposing to plant churches, training to plant churches and equipping those called to plant churches. Pastor Murigi suggested one benefit of the community of Calvary Chapel churches gathered together was to discuss the advantages exchanging interns so potential planters could spend time with other churches with specific agenda points to aid in their calling.

Pastor Steve Kaburia from Evangelical Community Church in Naivasha and in Mataara gave a heart felt and passioned plea in the fourth message and titled it, Following God’s Leading. His message was partially based on the testimony of how God had his team labor in the urban community of Naivasha, but was at the same time tilling soil in a nearby rural tea farming community. While the urban church was in its fledgling stages, it was used to plant the new church in Mataara. He laughed while explaining the first church plant did not seem mature enough to launch a plant, but God found it good to grow the second church to double the size of the first church plant. Appropriately, his object for mentors and planters was not to be locked into preconceived systems or patterns, but to be sensitive to God’s leading.

Pastor Evanson Gitu from Calvary Chapel Rongai is received as a mzee (honored elder) among the Calvary Chapel pastors for his years of service and gave the final teaching. After spending considerable time dealing with the Kenya Revenue Authority (similar to the I.R.S.) to understand the obligations of churches to the government, he gave an informative teaching titled, Give Unto Cesar. Many were surprised to learn of the taxes a church must pay and the penalties for ignoring the law. His exhortation was to protect the churches by honoring the words of Jesus.

His exhortation was to protect the churches by honoring the words of Jesus.

As the day ended, pastors, planters, mentors, visitors and missionaries continued to talk and pray. More worship songs were sung, more chai was drank and then more talk and more prayer. Pastor Stephen Otieno Nyadenge from Calvary Chapel Lakeside invited as many that would come to spend a couple days for the 2016 CCPN Roundtable beginning Monday, August 1.

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.

The Fruit of Creating a Church Planting Culture

In February Calvary Chapel Rosarito began studying verse by verse through the book of Acts during our weekend services! As the book of Acts opens in Acts 1:8, Jesus’ final words to the church (before His ascension) were… “And you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth!”

As we read through the book of Acts, the primary way that we see the early church fulfilling the Great commission is through missions and church planting. And as you support our family as your missionaries, you are contributing to the fulfillment of this great commission. On our end, our job on the mission field is to continue to raise up and train up church planters. Now I am well aware that I have been writing a lot of updates about church planting recently, but God has truly been working in amazing ways, and I am excited to continue to update you on our new works.

…the primary way that we see the early church fulfilling the Great commission is through missions and church planting.

In February, we were happy to send out our 10th church planting family in the past 7 years! And in this update, I wanted to tell you a little bit about this family and their new church plant. David and Karen Wilson (and their four children) joined our church staff two years ago after founding two orphanages here in Northern Baja. Throughout that time, David had continuously felt a tug in his heart to plant a church, so their family moved to Rosarito where David enrolled in our church planting program and his family joined our church as missionary staff.

Over the past two years, David has not only completed our church planting program but  he also assisted in teaching the course with me last year! Over that time, I also ordained David and he has served faithfully as one of my Assistant Pastors over the past two years. Even though David was a great assistant, he began to feel God’s call and a burden for the city of Playas de Tijuana (“Tijuana Beach”)  This is a border beach city of 30,000+   located 12 miles to the North of us. As David prayed for this city, he realized it is severely under-churched and in desperate need of a Bible teaching church.

After hearing God’s call,  about a year ago David and Karen began preparations for this church plant and building up a planting team. Over time, God provided the finances along with the perfectly located building.  In January, our church held a “Sending Sunday” and we were happy to send out the Wilsons  along with 20 folks from our church to this new bilingual church plant.

The launch service (Sunday February 1st) was a smashing success with well over 100 people in attendance. Many visited from our church in Rosarito, but there was also a large local contingent from Playas as well. The serviced flowed with anointed worship, passionate prayer, and solid Bible teaching. The highlight of the service was the 6 first time professions of faith after the Gospel was presented. We celebrated God’s faithfulness Mexican style with a free all you can eat Carne Asada BBQ after the service.

As a missionary and Pastor, part of my calling is to build-up and send out church planters to reach the nations and fulfill the Great Commission.  And even though every time we plant a church we have to say goodbye to some of our greatest servants and Assistant Pastors, we are happy to do it because we know that God has great plans for them.

This post is taken from the missionary newsletter from Pastor Mike Vincent, the founding pastor at Calvary Chapel Rosarito

Three Common Misconceptions About Church Planters

It is said that the greatest distance between two people is misunderstanding. And church planters, of all people in ministry, may be the easiest to misunderstand. In listening to many podcasts and conversations on the “church planting discussion,” I have discovered these three common misunderstandings. So here’s an honest attempt to clear things up and shorten the “distance”.

1. All church planters need to be entrepreneurs.

First, let me clarify that church planting is not for the faint of heart. At any given moment, you are pastoring people but also wearing about twenty-five other various hats. Church planting may require you to have a bit of marketing prowess, an understanding of processes/procedures, business savvy, website and graphic design knowledge along with a broader set of social skills, just to name a few. The actual ministry work may be preaching/teaching and prayer, but the organization of the church still needs organizing!

While it’s certainly true that having an “entrepreneurial spirit” is important, God is calling those who are obedient, not just those who are entrepreneurial! It’s more important that you obey Jesus than forsake your calling. Robert Murray M’Cheyne says “It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.” God can grow you in your leadership and abilities, but are you willing to trust Him and take a step of faith?

So if I’m not a gifted entrepreneur, what do I do? The church leaders in Acts 6 solved this quandary by raising up capable people to oversee practical ministry. Rather than bussing tables they focused on what they alone could not delegate. We don’t use titles at Shoreline but I delegate almost every practical task to capable people after I’ve invested the time to communicate our philosophy of ministry to them and outline the purpose for why we do what we do. This allows me to focus on the three “P’s”: prayer, preaching, and people.

2. All church planters start churches because they aren’t willing to submit to their senior pastors.

While some men have impure and selfish motives to plant churches, most church planters are aware of the needs in their city and experience a “holy discontent” before God calls them to plant out from the ministry they are associated with. Church planters understand that we can’t be everyone’s pastor. Some ministries will never reach a particular people group, and this is why we need more churches.

Peter Wagner reminds us that “The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches.” Audrey Malphurs points out that “It is easier to have a baby than to raise the dead.” We must put new wine into new wineskins and sometimes that means stepping out by faith to start a new work.

If more churches would work together, we could fight the war on a united front. Every week at Shoreline we pray in the service for another local church in town and seek to build up the kingdom by working together for the Gospel. It isn’t “my” church, it is Jesus’s! And He promised to build it, to be with us in our scattering abroad to make disciples.

3. All church planters are pastors of the church they plant for life.

When God called us out of Reality Church Tampa, the church we had planted four years prior, I felt incredibly guilty. I knew God had called me to plant, so why was He calling me to leave? If you plant a church, doesn’t that mean you die in the pulpit there? The truth is, not everyone has the same calling!

Speaking of the Apostle Paul, Acts 18:23 says “After he had spent some time there, he departed and went over the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.” Paul didn’t plant a church and remain, but raised up qualified men to continue the work, then moved on to plant more churches. It is important to know our calling and to fulfill it. Some are called to plant, others to water, but it is God who makes the ministry grow. And when God is speaking to us to step out and keep planting, we must be obedient. May we heed Ephesians 4:1,

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called…”

God may have you pastor at your church in a stationary position until you die, like Peter in Jerusalem. Or, like Paul, God may call you to be a serial church planter. So whether stationary or serial, you must fulfill the ministry He’s called you to!

It’s easy to misunderstand church planters. One of my favorite commercials was an Apple commercial called “The Crazy Ones.” It reads this way, and always reminds me of church planters when I hear it:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Pastor Pilgrim Benham is the lead pastor of a brand-new church called Shoreline Calvary Chapel, in southwest Florida. He is currently building a church planter residency/internship for potential Calvary Chapel church planters. For more information, visit thisisshoreline.com.

We’ve Launched Our Second Church Plant!

When my wife and I moved away from our hometown 5 years ago, we planted a new Calvary Chapel in a downtown urban area with about 500,000 people under the age of 40. We knew no one, brought limited resources, and scrambled to find work to supply our needs and people to reach with the Gospel. After much hardship and intense toiling, the church grew and leadership was raised up to continue the work.

Sensing God calling us to step out in faith and plant our second church, we sought the Lord and He opened doors back in our hometown. A Calvary Chapel had dropped their affiliation and the county of 350,000 people now had a tremendous need. The school we wanted our kids to attend since birth offered my wife and I both a job as an administrator and middle school teacher (respectively) at the same pay my job was paying me in our previous city!

When we arrived, we took the summer to get settled and then had an interest meeting at a local artisan coffeehouse. About 20 adults came and asked great questions. The excitement was palpable. A friend offered us a free warehouse space for us to meet in, so we began meeting Sunday nights to prepare for the launch of Shoreline Church. We met from 6-7pm and I taught through Colossians, with a good friend offering to come and lead us in a few worship songs. After the Bible study, I invited anyone to stay for an additional hour to talk about the launch of the church. This group heard what the vision, mission, and core values of Shoreline would be. I asked them to make a one-year commitment to the church and began investing relationally in this “Launch Team”.

In search of a space, we were alerted to a special limitation in our city. It turns out that religious organizations are unable to lease any space in the main part of the city. This led us to begin looking around, and eventually brought us east of the interstate to a very young and growing area that is on the cutting edge of expansion and growth. We drove through this area and found a YMCA that was a perfect meeting place for a church plant. After speaking with the director, they were overjoyed to have a church meeting there and made many accommodations for us to meet weekly, at a very affordable price!

We took the Christmas break to get everything prepared including sound equipment and chairs, kids curriculum, room decor/lighting and signage/invite cards. Many other Calvary Chapels in the state of Florida came alongside us to donate needed equipment or make a financial donation. We initially had a $20,000 budget but found it was met simply with churches donating their used equipment to us!

Last month we had our first Sunday morning service! There were 85 adults and children and a buzz that was contagious. The local papers have been doing stories on the church and most of the people have heard about us through the yard signs we have placed around the community. Every month we will have a “NEXT” class sharing our vision/mission/core values and answering questions people have about the church. We are starting three Community Groups next week around the region and have already started Discipleship Collectives where we are going through the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa new believer’s study.

It is exciting to watch God build His kingdom, and to see such a different and fresh work than He had done in our previous church plant. It is vital to know our calling and to pursue what God has for us. We can’t have someone else’s calling, and we can’t make God fulfill our plans. We have to walk by faith and submit to His will and call, and watch Him do the impossible. I can’t wait for what’s next

shoreline01

shoreline02

shoreline03

Pastor Pilgrim Benham is a church planter with Calvary Church Planting Network. He is looking for other potential church planters to participate in a Florida church-planting internship. For more details, email us at info@calvaryshoreline.com.

Looking Back

It’s been a little over fifteen years since my wife Marie and our three kids moved from Southern California to Aurora, Colorado eager to ‘see what the Lord might do’.  Well, the Lord has done, and continues to do great things and to think that we almost didn’t see them due to my lack of faith, fear, and all around humanity.  Mistakes surround our ministry here, yet God has used them to disciple, mature, and display His glory to us in wonderful ways. I’m grateful, as I’m sure many of you are, for our God who, even when we are faithless, remains faithful! Reflecting upon His loving care of us, a few things come to mind that will surely help you in your church planting adventure.

God cares about you more than He cares about you planting a church. While it might be the most important thing on your mind right now, it’s not God’s. He loves you. He sent Jesus for you. He desires a deeper more intimate relationship with you. If planting a church is coming before your relationship with Him, you’ve got it backward and unless you change, a painful readjustment is up ahead.

If planting a church is coming before your relationship with Him, you’ve got it backward and unless you change, a painful readjustment is up ahead.

God loves the people in the city you’re praying about. If you don’t share that love for the people and your identity is bound up in being a pastor and planting a church, don’t do it. Wait. Cultivate that love with God first and foremost so you can genuinely love your neighbor as yourself.

God is worthy of your holy life of obedience.  As the vessel God uses, your dedication to holiness in the life of ministry is of utmost importance. We have witnessed in the past great men, friends, pastors and leaders whom God has used greatly not guard their personal holiness.  Through sin, they disqualified themselves from ministry hurting many along the way. Let’s pray for them and for us! God is worthy of a growing life of obedience from us.

God is gracious and compassionate, full of mercy and truth.  Set the foundation of His church plant not upon methods and techniques or ideas and philosophies, but upon the grace of God, teaching people to not rely on the resources of Adam, but rather to live in the power and presence of God’s Holy Spirit. Grace. Grace. Grace.

Set the foundation of His church plant not upon methods and techniques or ideas and philosophies, but upon the grace of God…

I’m a church planter at heart. God has wired me that way. Even with fifteen years of ministry passing so quickly, we still see ourselves cooperating with God in the planting of His fruitful church. I love the thrill, the challenges, and the results of seeing God do great and glorious things through the life of the local church. I especially love encouraging, serving, and equipping church planters of every generation to go forward in their calling, walking by faith. If you need or want help, reach out. We’re here to serve you.

I shared a Bible study here at Calvary Aurora not too long ago entitled, “Biblical Truths That Have Helped Me in Servanthood”. Of course I’m learning all the time, but I believe it will encourage and edify you.  It can be found here.

Ed Taylor is the founding and Senior Pastor at Calvary Chapel Aurora. You can also follow the church’s Pastor Ed’s Twitter feed.

If I Did It Again…

“If you planted another church, what would you do differently?”

That’s a question I’ve been asked since year one. I charged into church planting with a very positive, optimistic, if-you-build-it-they-will-come mindset, which I’m thankful for. I know other church planters who went out burdened with church plant failure statistics, wondering they would become another statistic. I didn’t know the stats, or the struggle, and I certainly couldn’t have predicted the events of the first year (deployment, flood, 3 jobs…).

However, through all of the challenges that the first few years held, I have no regrets. Even the things I’d change became valuable lessons for me.

If I were to plant another church, here are two things I’d do differently…

I would not over-commit.

I’m all about raising up a team, preparing, strategizing, and the like, but don’t wait too long. Hit it! You’ll have time to learn, grow, and re-strategize as you go. On the other hand though, it’s easy to over-commit, stretch yourself thin, and run the risk of burnout at church or at home (neither of which are options).

The main way I over-committed was by launching with a weekend and a mid-week service. Mid-week services are nice, and I’ve always gone to one in every church I was in. A mid-week study was never part of our launch plan, but when enough people requested, it seemed harmless enough. Then by the time we were ready to launch, it felt too scary to cancel something that was working so well. So, in addition to our planned weekend service, we launched with a Wednesday night service as well.

I don’t regret Wednesdays. People grew with each other and in the knowledge of the Word. However, it was way too much commitment early on. I was working 3 jobs in addition to the church, and studying for 2 unique message every week was a huge task. By God’s grace, I survived, my wife and kids still love me, and the church is still growing…but I would do it differently!

I would not try to reproduce.

Coming from a 15,000-member megachurch, our natural tendency early on was to try to replicate what they did so well.

Good Friday? A Good Friday service happens at noon on Good Friday…or so we thought.

Although thousands turn out every Good Friday at our church in New Mexico, when we tried to replicate it at noon in an Army town, a few unemployed people and some moms showed up. Good Friday at noon fit them – not us.

 

Easter is coming? We should probably rent an outdoor venue and do a sunrise service. That is how Easter services are run, after all…or so we thought.

We had seen it done that way so successfully for so many years in New Mexico that we didn’t even stop to consider any other way of doing Easter. Without considering context, culture, or the unique people we were reaching, we attempted to reproduce their success. Our first Easter was one to remember, but we don’t plan to do it that way again!

God Will Finish The Work

If you grew up in the 80’s or 90’s I’m sure you’ve heard of Indiana Jones and his “Temple of Doom”, but chances are you probably haven’t heard of the ‘Hotel of Doom’. In North Korea in 1987, construction started on the Ryugyong Hotel, a 105-floor pyramid-shaped hotel that reminds you of a spaceship rising out of Communist North Korean soil. In 1992 the funds ran out for construction, and the hotel stayed unfinished until 2008, when construction began again. It remains incomplete even today, with most floors still at their concrete stage of the process, and stands as a huge reminder of what Jesus said in Luke 14:28: For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

As a church planter and pastor, this is one of my greatest concerns for the church: That what God began in us and in our ministry won’t be completed. 

When I moved in 2010 to plant Reality Church Tampa, I had no idea what God would do. I stepped out from my hometown to a big city with no job, no home, minimal support, not knowing a single person in the city, and simply faith that Jesus would begin a work. And He did. The Lord opened up a home for my family, I was blessed with an incredible job at a global retailer, God provided a space to meet and a team of people to plant the church with, and people got saved and discipled as ministry happened. And after 4 years we have raised up leadership and God has called us to move to the next city and begin again, learning from the lessons we gained from the first step of faith.

In Philippians 1:6, Paul says, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Paul essentially tells the church in Philippi three things about the work of God in Christ in our lives:

1. God’s at work.

Paul says God began a “good work” in you. The phrase has with it the idea of beginning and ending. And it is always used of salvation. Sometimes we aren’t sure if God is up to anything, or if He is, why things are happening the way they are. We ask questions and try to take control rather than resting in His artistry. What does the canvas contribute to the artist? He’s the one doing the work, the creating, the painting, the shadowing, the #awesomeness. What does the canvas contribute? The canvas is merely the object that sits still long enough for beauty to emerge from the surface.

What does the canvas contribute? The canvas is merely the object that sits still long enough for beauty to emerge from the surface.

Don’t take my word for it. Over and over God tries to explain this in the New Testament, that He is doing a work within us and we need to allow Him to have His way (Romans 8:28-30, Ephesians 2:4-6, Phil 2:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:23–24, 2 Thess 2:13, Titus 3:4-7, Hebrews 13:20-21).

2. God will finish the work.

Unlike the 105 Building, God doesn’t start something and then abandon the work. In the NFL there is a penalty for doing this: it’s called a false start. Someone on the offensive line makes a move as if they are going to start the play, but then pull back and are penalized for not finishing what they began.

We often can be concerned that like this offensive penalty, God began a work but won’t finish it, and we will lose yardage.

When God called my family to step out in faith again and turn the work over to the men He had raised up under our ministry, it was a huge moment of trust and wrestling:

Was this God’s will?

What if they weren’t ready?

Would the church continue without me?

How can we leave so early into the church’s development?

Things are so good right now Lord are You sure??

After seeking the Lord, He reminded me, and continues to remind me of this verse.

He began it. He will complete it. We are merely along for the ride of our lives.

3. We can be confident in God as a competent worker.

Unlike you and I, ignoring the honey-do lists we perpetually have calling out to us to finish each weekend, God won’t leave a work undone.

The great artisan Michaelangelo was said to have been commissioned to sculpt “David” and found the piece of marble he used outside of a town in Italy, thrown aside. The story goes that a previous artist had attempted a work of art with the same marble but couldn’t do the work and neglected the stone. When Michelangelo found it, weeds were growing on it and it had a reputation of being a neglected object that “could-have-been” a wonderful masterpiece.

There may be something in your life that seems forgotten or neglected by the Lord. You’ve relapsed, or sinned, or you have made a mistake, and you think you are beyond saving or beyond recovery or beyond hope. Whenever you think of your future, or ministry, you just look at yourself as a “could-have-been”.

Paul said he was fully persuaded, fully confident that God will finish the work. And I am as well. What He began in us won’t be forgotten or set aside. God is a master Artisan who always creates something breathtaking and beautiful. And what He begins He always finishes. So don’t despise the day of small beginnings. Don’t be discouraged if you look around on a Sunday and it doesn’t seem like there is much happening. He’s doing a work in you, and He won’t get any penalties for false starts. He promises to do exceedingly abundantly above what we can ask or imagine. The question remains: are we asking or imagining great work to be done?

What He began in us won’t be forgotten or set aside. God is a master Artisan who always creates something breathtaking and beautiful. And what He begins He always finishes.

————————————————-

Pastor Pilgrim Benham is planting churches in the Tampa region for the glory of God. For more details about his previous church plant, Reality Church Tampa, visit www.calvary813.com.

M&Ms (Missions | Multiply | Move)

Ed Compean has planted and pastored churches in Nairobi, Kenya and now is a church planting coach and mentor to many church leaders.

Experts in missiology have concluded church planting in North America has experienced a resurgence that is unprecedented in scope since the time of Western Expansion. There  are more resources, funding and networks for church planting than at any time in history.  For all this we should praise God, especially considering North America has recently changed from a net loss to a net gain of church plants over church closings.

…church planting in North America has experienced a resurgence that is unprecedented in scope since the time of Western Expansion. There  are more resources, funding and networks for church planting than at any time in history.

In this season of rejoicing there is a dark cloud. If we believe God desires a church for every tribe, tongue, people, and nation, we must have a healthy level of dissatisfaction because there remains vast parts of humanity whom Jesus died for without any viable church, and often not even a Christian witness. In this thinking I would like to suggest three bullet points for church planters and those engaged in helping church planters to consider.

MISSIONS is church planting. Make missions about planting churches and reflect this as policy in new churches before they get sidetracked with other well intended missionary endeavors.

MULTIPLY churches instead of add churches. Do not plant a church, but multiply by planting churches that include in the their DNA the ability to plant more churches.

MOVE in your gifts and talents, especially if you are a lead pastor  who has been used to plant a church in the past. Pray and fast about turning over the work and beginning again.

It is generally thought the most effective form of evangelism is to plant a new church. This concept pleases those in our churches who want more outreach. Similarly, missiologists have put forth the most effective way to transform the ills of a community is through churches. This pleases the younger and missional crowd who place a high priority on justice and mercy. As God’s people who believe Scripture is not only inspired and authoritative, but also prescriptive, we have to believe Ephesians 3:10 is saying churches are God’s chosen instrument to make Himself known to the lost and dying in the world. This means new churches please and glorify God, Who is the most important Person in our churches to please.

…new churches please and glorify God, Who is the most important Person in our churches to please.

Let us take a moment to rejoice in the change of tide in churches being established related to those being closed, even for those not like us, but let us then get busy in finishing the task.

MIssio Dei” [the mission of God] part 1

Romans 15:14-21

The mission of God is to proclaim the gospel and to advance the kingdom by loving God, loving others, and making disciples. Paul understood his mission, and as he concluded his letter to the church at Rome he shared his mission status as well as his mission plans. The essence of his desire was to plant churches where there was a need for a Bible teaching, Spirit-filled gospel centered community.

A. Paul shares his mission status [14-21]

1. confidence [14] Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. Paul believed in them. He was reasonably certain that they would catch the vision and live on mission to advance the gospel. Paul was encouraging them that they had the right stuff. He commends them for their spiritual maturity: they were good, knew doctrine, and were able to correct and teach one another. Similarly, we in the Calvary Chapel [CC] movement would likely receive the same commendation.

2. challenge [15] Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God.

However, Paul needed to remind them that they were to apply their maturity and live the mission. So, he strongly wrote this treatise on the gospel to emphasize the need for salvation by faith [Ch. 1-4], sanctification [Ch. 5-8], and the reasonable response of service [Ch. 12-15]. Again similarly, we in the CC movement would likely receive the same challenge.

3. commission [16-21] Paul knew he was called to share the gospel with the Gentiles [3x 16,18].  He sought to proclaim the gospel to those who were separated from God and bring unbelievers to salvation by the Spirit for Christ’s glory [17-18].

a. measure [19] from Jerusalem [Mid-east] to Illyricum [Europe –Baltics]. The measure of Paul’s ministry was significant especially in the ancient world. Similarly, the CC movement has spread internationally and has grown as more CC churches have been planted in an effort to fulfill God’s mission. Yet, has your ministry been inward focused [e.g. grow bigger] or outward focused [e.g. commit resources to plant healthy CC churches where they are needed]? How do you generally measure your influence, with an inward or an outward lens?

b. the method [20] And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man’s foundation … Proclaim Christ where there is need for the gospel – reach the unbelievers, and reach communities that need a healthy CC church.

c. motivation [21] but as it is written: To whom He was not announced, they shall see; and those who have not heard shall understand. Paul quotes Is. 52:15 as a verse that inspires him to live on mission for God and plant churches. Now, I’ve read through Isaiah and never really noticed this verse, but God motivated Paul with this verse. Also, I’ve read through Romans several times and have been very inspired by many verses, but not this section. Yet, in this season of my ministry and in my role in the church planting network, I’m focused here in Romans 15, and feeling very motivated and inspired!

Which brings me to the most important thought, what Scripture has God used to inspire you to live on mission? How has the Word challenged you and commissioned you to plant CC churches? Will you share your story with us?