Looking Ahead from CCPN Roundtable, Cuernavaca, México

Update on a Calvary Church Planting gathering in Cuernavaca, México:

This gathering was part of a regional retreat for Calvary Chapel affiliate churches, pastors and families, and ministry teams. Those attending came from hours away: Acapulco, Veracruz, Taxco, Puebla, Cuernavaca, and Mexico City and its metropolitan area.

Most of us have known each other for some years; a few are recently starting out. I write this looking back almost four months, still thinking about what we saw.

By the time we got to where we would have a “meeting” about church planting, it was clear that the whole retreat was essentially about ALL the aspects of church planting within the Calvary Chapel framework. Conversations and fellowship time was pretty much about what each church, pastor, or ministry team member is learning, and their questions and things they could share with others. There was really no need for “directed” dialogue or presentations: all the diversity among those attending nevertheless have found themselves moving constantly within the realm of church planting.

The two “moments” that allowed us to identify where we are, and where we are headed, involved passing a wireless microphone from person to person: first answering—in one word—the question, “Where have you had the most hardship in ministry?” and later, “Where do you find the greatest joy?”

The responses from about 100 attendees were deeply personal, yet not that varied; first of all the most hardship had been with family/ministry issues, a sense of not getting anywhere, patience and endurance, and health problems. It made us pause a bit to see that the second string of answers showed that the greatest hardship—and the greatest joy—are linked. We then went on with the retreat with that in view, as a clearer perspective for what is ahead.

Pastor Jim Foote serves at Semilla Cuerna in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. You an follow the church at @semillacuerna or on Facebook. Pastor Jim is at @jaimefoote.

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.

Kevin Utile: Calvary Chapel Aurora Roundtable

Pastor Ed Taylor from Calvary Chapel Aurora recently hosted a Calvary Church Planting Roundtable with 38 pastors and wives which he described as, “Fruitful and encouraging.” Below is the takeaway from church planter Pastor Kevin Utile from his experience at the Roundtable just days after a church launch.

As I sat at my table listening to each pastor introduce himself I was so blown away that I was actually there. The Lord had removed every obstacle so that my wife and I could come to the CCPN Roundtable, a mere two days before we had our first service at Reach Boulder beginning this journey of church planting.

Pastor Ed of Calvary Aurora and Pastor Eric of Rocky Mountain Calvary shared from the Word and then opened it up to the group for discussion. After hearing everyone’s questions and listening to the wisdom from the pastors that were there it seemed there was a common thread throughout the whole meeting. Towards the end of the meeting pastor Ed said, “The two things every pastor will struggle with and battle through is the Fear of Man and Insecurities.”

Despite all of the questions I brought and hoped would get answered, the Lord ministered to my heart in a different way. He wanted me to know that HIS opinion is what matters most. I should not value what other people think above what the Lord thinks. Waiting to hear Him say the words “Well done, good and faithful servant,” must be what motivates me and causes me to run this race.

He wanted me to know that HIS opinion is what matters most. I should not value what other people think above what the Lord thinks.

As I continue to follow the Lord and plant a church in Boulder, Colorado, a place that most say is the “graveyard of churches,” I have to rely on the Lord and be secure in Christ. When I focus on Jesus and fear Him all of the insecurities and fear of man fade away.

I am so grateful to have been encouraged and equipped in this way right before our church was planted. God is moving in Colorado and I’m hopeful that when we have our next meeting there will be new faces of passionate men that want to reach the lost and plant more churches.
Pastor Kevin Utile and his wife were used of God to launch Reach Boulder, a new church near the University of Colorado Boulder. You can follow the church on Facebook.

CCPN Central Coast Roundtable Roundup

The Calvary Chapel Church Planting Network held a regional roundtable earlier this month for interested church-planters at Calvary Chapel Nexus in Camarillo, CA.

Pastor Bruce Zachary, Lead Pastor at CC Nexus, the host of Roundtable, began the time by addressing the urgent need in being intentional in church planting. He laid out a compelling case for the call to plant churches. Pastor Bruce has a gift in making the complex simple and readily accessible. He spoke to some church-planting myths that keep some current and potential pastors staled in getting started in this important aspect of discipleship.

In a short time, Pastor Bruce amply covered 1) Why We Should Plant, 2) Obstacles to Planting, 3) Resources for Planting. Several times he referenced the CCPN Church Planting Manual as a tool for mentors to equip future church planters.

Pastor Lance Ralston, Lead Pastor at Calvary Chapel Oxnard, in Southern California was the other Roundtable presenter. He spoke to the importance of quality leadership and the vital role of a well-articulated vision for church planters. Pastor Lance defined godly vision as, “A Spirit-inspired picture of a preferred future. It describes what we will be when we arrive at the destination God intends.”
Through his message Pastor Lance expressed church planting rises or falls on godly leadership and those who are leading need to know where they’re going. He said vision is the “Where” a leader needs to develop and share with those he’s leading. To help Church-Planting Pastors & Teams to know where they’re going and VISION for the church plant, Pastor Lance has developed a vision development tool free (like all CCPN resources) for download through the CCPN website.

What makes these Roundtable settings valuable is the connections that are made with potential church planters. Connecting planter with resources is an important part of expanding God’s kingdom. The opportunity for questions and answers that wraps up the session provides people with helpful insights and encouragement. Often people voiced a question, and discovered there are several others with precisely the same concern. With a room of several dozen mentors, fellow church planters and experienced senior pastors, the wisdom to be gleaned is considerable.

The feedback from the Roundtable in Camarillo strongly supports the idea these regional gatherings are integral to Calvary Chapel’s church planting mission. A schedule of future CCPN Roundtables across the globe and other opportunities to gather are on the CCPN website.

Many thanks to Pastor Bruce, Pastor Lance and the people of CC Nexus for hosting this CCCPN Roundtable.

What People Said at the CCPN Central Coast Roundtable

We at Calvary Church Planting Network asked for feedback from those attending the recent Central Coast Roundtable hosted at Calvary Nexus in Camarillo. Please check our events page for upcoming Roundtables scheduled through 2015, conferences and other speaking engagements.

Attendees on Vision

“I was reminded to have a clear vision so someone doesn’t hijack your vision.”

“Know where you’re going so they know where they’re going.”

Alan Fantauzzo, Calvary Nexus, Camarillo

“How strong you need to be in your vision to prevent wavering.”

“Super blessed by the leaders who can share their wisdom. Also thankful to be surrounded by people with the same passion.”

Jesse Sandoval, Calvary Chapel Mid Valley, Van Nuys

“Was able to learn what a vision is and how to map it out for others!”

“Most memorable information I gathered were the four myths of planting a church”

Kevin Utile (@kevinutile), Calvary Chapel San Juan Capistrano 

“The vision was extremely helpful, and just gaining the knowledge to know where to grow.”

Ethan Ging, The Village Chapel, Lompoc

Attendees on the Speakers

“I enjoyed Pastor Bruce’s key points; reaching the lost, making disciples, and developing leaders.”

Rick Doucette, Stadia Church Planting Network, The Brook Church, Riverside

“Informative, eye-opening, encouraging. Especially with Lance speaking about the vision, which lit a fire under me.”

“A breath of fresh air!”

Gilbert Garcia, from Calvary Rosedale Bakersfield

“Lance’s information and wisdom was incredible for knowing the vision!”

Don Schoengarth, Baptist Church 

“The importance of a vision being implemented by the leaders was most memorable.”

Olivia Garcia, Calvary Rosedale Bakersfield

Attendees on Leadership

 “The highlight of my experience was just knowing that we have strong leaders and being given a basic mission to fulfill.”

Andrelle Sanchez, Calvary Rosedale Bakersfield 

“I grew when we spoke about the topic of leadership and the role/importance it really has.”

Angelica Ging, The Village Chapel, Lompoc

Blessing of Attending the Roundtable

“Blessed and encouraged. Good to see what God is doing!”

Senior Pastor David Johnston (@dj4jesus, @cccalabasas), Calvary Chapel Calabasas

“Super blessed by the leaders who can share their wisdom. Also thankful to be surrounded by people with the same passion.”

 Jesse Sandoval, Calvary Chapel Mid Valley, Van Nuys

Church Planting Conference in Panama

What is the purpose of the church? Pastor Bruce Zachary, from Calvary Nexus in Camarillo CA, and the director of CCPN, began his teaching session with that question to an audience of pastors and leaders in Margaritas de Chepo, Province of Panamá. The question caught them by surprise, because although its one of the most important things we as Christians need to know, not all believers out there have a clear understanding of what is Gods plan for His church. At the conference we considered the need to reach the lost, make disciples, and develop leaders to fulfill the purpose of the church. What a joy it was to see pastors enjoying the teaching of the Word of God, because many of them came from different denominations and never had a chance to be trained for the work of the ministry.

We at Calvary Chapel Panamá prayed for this opportunity, so to actually see this taking place was such a blessing. God used Pastor Bruce to encourage the pastors to teach the Word of God and to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The conference ended with a time for questions and testimonies and we were left with the impression that the teaching was greatly welcomed. A Calvary Church Planting Network Manual was given to all pastors in attendance and what a joy it was to see them blessed to have such a great material in their hands. We pray that pastors and leaders who attended the conference will continue to reach out to the lost, to make disciples and to train leaders; teaching the Word of God and being guided by the Holy Spirit. The final outcome exceedingly surpassed what we anticipated, truly our God is faithful and His ways are past finding out.
We thank God for Pastor Bruce and for the CCPN. We can see how these materials are making an impact in Latin America. We hope to see healthy churches, especially Calvary Chapels, planted and established in each province in Panama, and throughout Central America. Well continue to pray for future opportunities to serve the Lord together and for the possibilities to do the same in other countries in Central America as well.
Pastor Bert Almazan and his wife Veronica went as missionaries to Panama in 2008 and have been used to establish Calvary Chapel Panamá, in Port Of La Chorrera, as well as other churches. Pastor Bert can be followed on Twitter, @panamabert.

2014 CCPN Nairobi Roundtable

At the 2013 CCPN Nairobi Roundtable there was the sense of a great movement of God for new church plants throughout Kenya, East Africa and the whole African continent. We spoke of an initiative to encourage planting of 500 new churches in the next decade among the 54 countries, about 2,000 languages, 3,000 tribes and 1.2-billion individuals. This week we held the 2014 CCPN Roundtable themed on equipping and it was good to hear from church planters, mentors and church planting coaches that new churches are being established and progress is being made towards reaching the goal.

The main sessions were themed on equipping, with a side session to minister to and help equip church planter wives wand those that minister to them. I taught a very practical session titled “Equipping Mentors and Church Planters,” and Pastor Murigi Kariuki from Calvary Chapel Githurai presented a very thought provoking session titled, “Equipping the Next Generation.” 

Maybe the most hard hitting message was the final session from Pastor Stephen Otieno Nyandege from Calvary Chapel Lakeside in Kisumu. Using Acts 13:1-3 as his main text, Stephen spoke directly to senior pastors about continuing the equipping of church planters and their families after they have left to begin the work. He connected the importance of the work of the Holy Spirit and the authority of the sending church to identify and support the church planter and then examples of his being helped in the plant at Kisumu for years after he and his family began. Stephen included the need for mentor pastors to visit and actively take part in the new church, especially in helping the new pastors develop vision for their next steps. He then gave examples of how he and the church in Kisumu provides support to men and their families sent to establish churches in Kilgoris, Mbale and Kisii. 

During a chai break we took time for church planters to give three-minute testimonies regarding the work they are called to. There was applause to hear of God’s work of establishing churches in remote villages as well as plans to plant in urban centers. Several people from outside the Calvary Chapel Movement were surprised to hear of the fellowship and support mentors receive from their sending church.

From the eastern edge of this immense continent it is overwhelming to consider the vast stretches of unreached peoples. It can be discouraging to consider the inroads Islam and cults are making in this land. Yet the 2014 CCPN Nairobi Roundtable provided great encouragement and needed momentum. Since 2013 fledgling churches in Kisii, Mataara, and Kagame have come up. We’ve heard testimony of works in progress in places as diverse as Thika, Kilgoris and Mbale. Pastors stood up and were glad to say they believe God is calling them to send planters to numerous areas in 2015. Those numbers are still far from the 500 we spoke of in 2013, but we know great works are going on in Uganda, South Africa, DRC and South Sudan. I rejoice in significant progress and the benchmark the CCPN Roundtable provides to see this.

 

Ed Compean is a church planting coach based in Nairobi with his wife Kelli. You can read their blog or follow him on Twitter @Ed_Compean.

CCPN 2014

CCPN 2014

Moving Forward in Mexico City

Pastor Mike Vincent is the Senior Pastor of the Calvary Chapel located in Rosarito, MX. Mike and Sarah Vincent moved to Rosarito Mexico in 2002 as missionaries with a small team to plant a bilingual church called Calvary Chapel Rosarito. Since then, they have witnessed God’s powerful hand at work and the church now ministers to over 1000 people weekly and has had the privilege of raising up and sending out 4 church planters.


Pastor Bruce Zachary and I were blessed to attend the Mexico Pastors Conference located in one of the 10 largest cities in the world, Mexico City! The conference was hosted by Pastors Jonathon Domingo and Fermin IV (both CCPN core team partners) and the event was held at Fermin’s church “Semilla de Mostaza” (mustard seed). This was the first year that this annual conference was for Senior Pastors and their wives only, and that contributed to an intimate setting conducive to fellowship, conversation, and prayer.

The conference teaching format was unique and something that most of us had never experienced.

The conference teaching format was unique and something that most of us had never experienced. Instead of teaching verse by verse through a book of the Bible, we studied the most often mentioned local church in the Bible, the church of Ephesus. Each Pastor was assigned a specific text that related to an aspect of that local church, and they then expounded from the scriptures and applied practical lessons to our local church contexts today.

There was a strong church planting vibe that permeated throughout the conference. Pastor Bruce was able to share the heart and vision of the Calvary Church Planting Network and the Pastors were encouraged to partner with CCPN in their future church planting endeavors. There were several new church planters in attendance that were able to share their testimonies throughout the conference, and I would like to share one of those testimonies with you.

Pastor Lalo and his wife Lilia were sent out of their home church, (Semilla de Mostaza) to plant a church in Monterrey Nuevo Leon Mexico. Monterrey, the third largest city in Mexico with a population of around 4 million, has never had a Calvary Chapel church plant. Lalo and his wife moved there last year with plans to find employment and get involved in the community before they opened the church. But as the word began to leak out that they were coming to plant this church, they were met by a group of people excited to partner with them. Because of this outpouring of support for the church plant, Lalo and Lilia never got around to finding jobs as they were immediately thrust into a young but thriving church. After just one year, their church (Semilla de Mostaza Monterrery) is averaging over 100 adults in attendance! (And they are still using an ipod to help them lead worship!) Please keep this and all of the future Mexico church plants in your prayers!

After just one year, their church (Semilla de Mostaza Monterrery) is averaging over 100 adults in attendance! (And they are still using an ipod to help them lead worship!)

Presently Mexico, with the most Calvary Chapel churches internationally outside of the USA, is a hotbed of missions work and church planting. As we met and prayed and discussed and strategized, the excitement surrounding church planting and the part that CCPN will play continued to build. Thankfully many of CCPN’s core materials including the Church planting manual and the Coaching manual have already been translated into Spanish, with several more translations in the works!

As we met and prayed and discussed and strategized, the excitement surrounding church planting and the part that CCPN will play continued to build.

God has great things planned for the Calvary Chapel movement in Mexico, and CCPN has and will continue to play a great part in the church planting movement in Mexico. 


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CCPN Regional Roundtable Gatherings – Initial Impressions

This year, CCPN will be hosting Regional Roundtable Gatherings across the U.S. and overseas as well! Below, Bruce Zachary (CCPN Director) shares his take on the importance and value of these regional gatherings…

I recently completed my fourth roundtable gathering in the last few weeks. I’ve attended gatherings in the Philippines, Northern California Bay Area, Rosarito, Baja Mexico, and Portland, Oregon. In these gatherings I’ve had the opportunity to meet with more than 250 Calvary Chapel pastors, prospective planters and support team participants. Calvary Chapel is a network of churches in relationship with one another because we share a common philosophy of ministry and theology [core values]. Yet, in the midst of the routine and the micro-focus on the needs of the local church we can neglect the relational aspect. Roundtable gatherings are valuable and necessary to the health of a movement because they create develop and strengthen Christ-centered relationships that support a larger movement’s health.

Roundtable gatherings are valuable and necessary to the health of a movement because they create develop and strengthen Christ-centered relationships that support a larger movement’s health.  

One of the reasons that I like roundtable gatherings is the ability to hear from multiple people as they share their insights, questions, ideas, experience and testimonies. I love gathering in smaller groups and going around a table at the start of a gathering and hearing people share about why they are attending the gathering. You hear the story of the established Calvary Chapel pastor who is realizing the need for his church to engage in church planting and he’s not sure where to begin. You hear the story of the planter who has planted four or five years before and is struggling and is looking for answers.  You hear the testimony of the planter who is near the end of being trained and is starting to explore some areas to plant. Then his wife shares that she is there to support her husband, and she’s trying to figure out what she’s supposed to be doing as a church planter’s wife. And of course you’ll hear some experienced Calvary pastors share, “I wish something like this was available when I started twenty years ago.”

It is a blessing to meet folks who are just starting to be interested in the idea of church planting and who relatively recently heard about the Calvary Church Planting Network. Once they hear the vision, and discover the multitude of resources and the extensive support that is available through CCPN they share how excited they are to get started. It is also extremely valuable to me to hear ideas from these varied voices that add wisdom and ideas to our conversation about church planting in the CC movement.

I was reflecting about some of the people that I’ve met from different parts of the country and the world that I so greatly respect admire and desire to assist in the arduous task of church planting. And I believe that I’ve recently made some lifetime friends. I also appreciate how much I enjoy spending time with old friends and laughing with one another (and at one another). To witness old and new friends encourage and equip each other is a special treat.

So, my encouragement to pastors and planters alike is to make roundtable gatherings a priority for your own spiritual health, for the benefit of others who need to hear your voice, and for the benefit of our movement.

So, my encouragement to pastors and planters alike is to make roundtable gatherings a priority for your own spiritual health, for the benefit of others who need to hear your voice, and for the benefit of our movement.