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The Missionary-Pastor Relationship

Pastor Matthew Pottenger and his family recently finished six-years as missionaries helping Pastor Stephen Otieno Nyadenge and his family plant Calvary Chapel Lakeside in Kisumu, Kenya. That church was then able to raise up families to launch more churches. 

As the Lord continues to grow the Calvary Chapel Movement, it is most likely it will expand most in international settings and it is in this consideration we thought it good to ask some simple questions of Pastors Stephen and Matthew concerning the missionary and pastor relationship. 

What is the best way a missionary can help a church planter?

Pastor Stephen Otieno Nyadenge: there are several ways a missionary can help a church planter. First, is by being sensitive to know when to advise and when to actually come alongside to assist the church planting pastor. Before the Lord raises up national helpers, the missionary should help the pastor identify and disciple those He seems to have a call upon. It is of great importance for the missionary to spend as much time as possible with the planter to understand one another personally, and not only in ministry settings.

Missionary and Pastor Matthew Pottenger: One way that a missionary is able to best help the church planter is to not insert to much of himself in the DNA of the church. I say this as by definition the missionary’s role is usually temporary and also of foreign culture, and the church needs to be local and enduring (long past the timeframe of the missionary’s involvement).  Thus in the early stages (when the church is in the greatest vulnerability and neediness) the constant struggle for the missionary is to let the church and ministry grow at a natural rate, and not an artificial one. Often, though not always the case, the missionary may be coming from a history of ministry experience, and the planter may be new in the role he is now finding himself, this can prove most difficult at times for the missionary not to insert himself too much in an authority or domineering way in the functions of the church.  But it must be remembered that to whatever degree the missionary builds something on himself, the church will eventually reach a point where it will have to be weaned from his presence… which in the best of circumstances is difficult and in the worst can be detrimental and destructive to the future, long-term health, of the church. So in short, the missionary should play a “supportive” role to the church planter, thus allowing the church and the church planter to grow and develop in a steady, healthy environment.

Can you define the Biblical role and office of missionary and of a pastor and how they complement each other?

Pastor Stephen Otieno Nyadenge: I believe the biblical role of the pastor and missionary is seen comparing Timothy and Paul. Both examples are servants, but the main aim for the pastor should be for the long run of being the servant leader. I don’t know of any provision, though there is a possibility, of the missionary as pastor, especially long term. To confuse these roles can be dangerous for the church plant.
Missionary and Pastor Matthew Pottenger: when we look at the scriptural examples (and thus definitions) of the pastor and the missionary, it can help us to see and understand how they can help one another.  We see this clearly in the relationship that Paul had with the “church leaders” in the different epistles that he wrote, and compare that to what we see him live out in Acts.  Paul, as a missionary, was one who was “sent out” (apostle) by a church, commissioned to the work that God was calling him to.  He rarely stayed for too long in one place, but seemed to be moving from place to place with the aim of 1) preaching the gospel, 2) making disciples, 3) raising up leaders, & 4) returning to that location to “strengthen the brethren”.  Paul knew that his time in each place had a time limit, and that the best thing he could do to secure the long term future of the church in that community was to ensure that proper leadership was in place. This leads us to the role of the Pastor (or Elder or Bishop, to borrow the other terms to describe this person in the early church).  The Pastor is then one who remains plugged into the community and ministers (usually for a prolonged time) to flock that God has placed him among.  Paul’s letters to people like Timothy and Titus are helpful examples of the relationship that he (a missionary) had with the local pastor.  He encouraged them, challenged them, prayed for them, exhorted them, and taught them, but he let them be the ones who then went to do all that to the flocks whom God had called them to.  These roles then compliment each other well as often the Pastor (especially in the early stages of ministry) may be in need of a “father figure” or “coach” who can advise, encourage, and challenge the pastor in the seasons of life and ministry that the he is presently experiencing.

When is the time for a missionary to move on from the church plant to the next part of the calling? Are there key signals to look for, or is there another way to know when the mission has completed the mission (at least at that location)? 

Pastor Stephen Otieno Nyadenge: the time for the missionary to move on will be as soon as the church begins to stand on it’s own, especially when the first crop of leaders are raised up. If the missionary remains past that stage, it is possible there will seem to be two centers of power and maturing leaders can struggle to whom to show allegiance too. Another key signal is the pastor’s ability to servant lead independently from the help of the missionary. When the missionary see’s the fulfillment of the church’s mission, that is a clear signal to let things go on, trusting God in the care for His church.
Missionary and Pastor Matthew Pottenger: As to the timing that a missionary spends in one location.  It is my opinion that this is usually a Spirit-led thing and must be handled case by case.  However, that being said, I think there is also wisdom that we can gain from both the Word and from the examples (both good and bad) of our contemporaries around us today.  First off, a missionary must be firmly aware of what his Mission is, and what God has called him to do, as well as to be aware of how that mission may evolve with time and the needs of the place that he has been called to minister.  I have heard it said that often our calling can be thought of as either to a People, a Place, or to a Project.  Though as we are finite humans who are always learning and growing in our understanding of God and His will for our lives, it is quite fathomable that our sense of our calling can change with time and with the experiences that God uses to shape us.  As a result, it is most important for the missionary to be “current” with the Lord at all times and sensitive to the nature of the work that he is doing.  Paul describes in 2 Tim 2:2 that he taught timothy, timothy was therefore to teach other faithful men who would in-turn teach others also… this making of disciples who make other disciples is one of the gauges that I have found to be helpful and healthy in assessing the maturity of the work and the timing of when the missionary is no longer needed (at least not in that location).  In other words, one should always be duplicating himself in order to “work himself out of a job”.  If you think about the effectiveness of a local person ministering to a local person (no language or cultural barriers) it will be much more effective than the missionary, and thus for the missionary to replace himself with a national who can do what he does, but from that local context, he will have done the best thing he can do to ensure the longevity of the work there.  So in short, the missionary shouldn’t leave the work too early when it hasn’t stabilized or matured enough to weather several of the early challenges that they will face, and should be working towards raising up people who would at some point be able to take over the work that he does.

What should a missionary never do?  

Pastor Stephen Otieno Nyadenge: a missionary being from outside the culture can easily believe and trust others, some of whom the pastor may desire to take more time with to develop trust. This can lead him in pushing for people whom he or she wants to be in ministry, yet it’s not so with pastor. A missionary should never do, or say, anything that will make any church member look down at the pastor or disrespect him. This can be difficult, but it is important to be very sensitive in this area. The missionary should always relate the pastor to be as a co-laborer and not as a junior to them. The missionary should be ready to trust the pastor, even with financial issues. In case of a problem the missionary family should not call the pastor’s family and bash the planter before them or anybody else. Instead, the two families should be co-laborers and esteem each other. 

Missionary and Pastor Matthew Pottenger: a missionary should never assume he knows it all, or that he is the savior of all that bad or hard things that the church might pass through.  There is a great temptation for someone (especially coming from the west, and going into a developing country) to assert that “he knows best” and “he can fix any problem”.  This superiority complex is a sure poison for any church work, and inherently lacks both Christ-like humility as well as local culture sensitivity.  Though it is possible for the ministry to be “saved” or pushed through hard times at the will power and resources of the missionary, it is only creating a longer-term problem of “dependance on the missionary” rather than a dependance on Christ.  Often, when a solution is sought after that is local in origin, culturally sensitive, and spiritually guided by the Spirit, it will be like putting “miracle-grow” on the new church plant, helping it to get a shot or boost of nutrients that will go a long way in establishing its permanency in that locality and among those people.

Anything else you would add? 

Pastor Stephen Otieno Nyadenge: the missionary should be sensitive to identify when the Lord is working on the life of the church planter. Do to mistakes, or sin, be sensitive on how to handle that problem without destroying a worthy course. I believe the missionary should be sensitive to also pray for and be involved in the life of the planter, especially as the planter and family get pressed between a hard place and a rock for in the early parts of the church plant. Lastly, the missionary must learn no one is perfect and so put on Christ’s characteristics.

Missionary and Pastor Matthew Pottenger: an illustration that often helped me (as a missionary) to identify my role in the church plant was a marriage relationship.  My role was like that of the wife, and the Pastor, the husband.  I was no less important than he, nor were my ideas less or more valuable.  But, by being in that submissive role, not in the “leading role”, it helped me to add council when needed, support and help (as a helpmate) without asserting myself or trying to “prove myself” or to gain acceptance.  I would often act as a “sounding board” for the pastor to bounce ideas and thoughts off of, or to process the life and challenges associated with ministry.  When we worked to compliment each other (and not to compete with each other) we truly saw lots of work get done.  This often meant that i had to sacrifice my “western mindset” and to slow down and be patient for things to happen at their own time.  Another helpful path that we followed (and I would recommend to others) is that I was never identified as “Pastor” before the fellowship (though we couldn’t stop people from calling me by that title) we would always refer to me as “brother Matthew” and to him as “Pastor Stephen”, even from the early, pre-sunday service days. I think this helped to ebb off the confusion that people have of “who is leading,” or “who is in charge here”, especially in a society where the “white man” is far to often elevated.  This also helped as there was a lot of “ itle-abuse” in the churches of our community, so I was able to lead by setting an example that I don’t need to be called pastor, or apostle (as that was my role) or bishop (as I often would oversee things), but just did all those things as “brother.”
Pictured is missionaries Matthew and Peggy Pottenger with their two children being prayed over by Pastor Stephen Otieno Nyandenge at their last service at Calvary Chapel Lakeside in Kisumu, Kenya. Matthew and Peggy had helped start the church and were used to bring it to a mature level before leaving.

Pictured is missionaries Matthew and Peggy Pottenger with their two children being prayed over by Pastor Stephen Otieno Nyandenge at their last service at Calvary Chapel Lakeside in Kisumu, Kenya. Matthew and Peggy had helped start the church and were used to bring it to a mature level before leaving.

Pastor Stephen Otieno Nyadenge continues to be the under shepherd at Calvary Chapel Lakeside. That church has bounced of God to send out three church planting groups in the last two years. God has moved Pastor Matthew Pottenger from the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya, to the shores of the Potomac as he is now an associate pastor at Calvary Chapel DC Metro in Washington D.C.

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.

In Memory of Jess Rich: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

We at Calvary Church Planting Network mourn the loss of Pastor and Missionary Jess Rich this morning. We ask you to join us in praying for his wife Beverly and the ongoing church works in and around Jinga, Uganda. We also celebrate the more than 20 churches and the pattern of multiplication Jess and Beverly established, not only among Ugandans, but among many young missionaries they poured into. While few outside of East Africa knew of the great work God was doing through Jess and Beverly, theirs is lasting fruit in Ugandan led churches. Surely this morning he heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Read more about Jess & Beverly’s ministry on Calvary Albuquerque’s website.

JessRich01

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Helpful Launch Questions

One of the biggest decisions for a new church planter is when to start meeting Sunday mornings. Here are five questions I found helpful in determining our church launch date:

1. Do we have the resources we need?

Churches require resources. There is a lot more involved in meeting Sunday morning than for a midweek Bible study or prayer gathering. This is an official church service after all, and you want the people coming to feel like you are serious. Do you have enough money to pay for rent, children’s ministry crafts, and other startup costs? What about sound equipment, cables, and lighting? Have you thoughtfully considered the entire service and concluded that you have what it takes? Jesus Himself said we should count the cost. We don’t want to come up short on something so important.

Jesus Himself said we should count the cost. We don’t want to come up short on something so important.

2. Is it the right time of year?

This question may sound silly, but the reality is that different times of year provide different opportunities and challenges for the church planter. For example, many people are looking for a church around the New Year. They are ready to start afresh in their spiritual lives, so they will often come to a Sunday service. Early fall is another good time to start a church because people are getting back into routines after the summer vacation. Generally, winter and summer are not considered great times of year to start. That being said, however, you should not determine start dates solely on what time of year it is. We started the end of November when it was getting cold and rainy, and God gave success.

3. Are my volunteers and core team members ready?

When we started The Bridge Bellingham we had a consistent group of about twenty adults meeting for prayer and planning. The size of the group is not as important as the readiness of the group. Talk with the team members and get feedback about the Sunday morning service launch. Are they confident? Do they feel like you are able to lead them into this new and intimidating territory? In my experience, it was the team members who encouraged me to start when we did. I wanted to wait until January to launch the church, but the team let me know that they were ready, and we started in November.

4. Do we have a place to meet?

Venue is extremely important in deciding when to start. When we first arrived in Bellingham, I was convinced that we would get this old white church building. It was awesome, and in a perfect location right between Western Washington University and downtown. A few weeks before we signed a lease on it, we discovered that it was about to fall down. Fortunately, we had an inspector look at it and determined that it was unusable before we started meeting there. Having a building fall down on your congregation is not a great church growth strategy! We ended up getting a beautiful old manor that is used for wedding venues and events. The owner is a Christian man, and said we could use it Sunday mornings rent-free! The point is, wait for the right place before you start meeting.

5. Do I feel a peace from the Holy Spirit?

This question is the most difficult to quantify, but the most important to determine. Ultimately, you have to step out in faith and set a start date. You may not have all the resources you need, and it may not be the right time of year, but God is calling you to begin. My own personal opinion is that church planting strategies and techniques can be helpful, but ultimately, it must be God who leads you by His Spirit.  Church planting is more than just following the man’s directions, it’s about following the one who said, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”

Church planting is more than just following the man’s directions, it’s about following the one who said, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.”

Pastor Brian Kelly is a former missionary and Senior Pastor at Calvary Chapel Kampala, Uganda. After returning from the field and serving for a time at Maranatha Chapel in San Diego, he and his family moved to Bellingham, to plant the Bridge. You can find more information about the Bridge on their website or on Facebook.

Practical Preparation for Sending a Planter

There is so much to consider and do before a planter goes and plants a church. There are the important areas such as education and experience. I am a firm believer in the more education the better and it has nothing to do with what they are learning. Education shows commitment and the ability to finish things without the benefit of being paid. That speaks volumes in ability but it also can be a stumbling block. At the least a planter should’ve have gone through a School of Ministry or Bible College. Basic theological education is essential.

Experience is also another area that needs to be shown. It is vital that a planter spend sometime on a church staff as either a paid ministry position or as a volunteer intern. You have to learn to work under someone in ministry before you can lead others. You also need to go through the highs and lows of ministry that strengthen or weed out the committed.

You have to learn to work under someone in ministry before you can lead others.

Those two aside I want to talk about the practical steps to sending someone out. If you don’t have CCPN’s Church Planting Workbook then you need to download it. It is one of the most practical and helpful guides out there. So what does a planter need to do before they go out? Here are a few practical tips that I’ve discovered as we get ready to send out a planter. It is important to note that you require the planter to do much of this. If you do everything for them they will fall on their face once they get there.

  1. Make It Legal: Go to the state website where you are planting and figure out what it takes to get registered as a non-profit corporation. Don’t worry about a Federal 501(c)3 until a few years in. Become a nonprofit through the state which is easier and less time consuming. This will allow you to get a bank account, post office box, and other such legal things you will need. No one can donate to your church plant and get a tax donation until you do.
  2. Make it Visible: Next you need to register a domain name for your church plant. Whether through Go Daddy or some other web-hosting company get the domain name you need. Go for a .com first and then register a .org as well. People will first and foremost look for your church online. In the eight years we have been a church we only did yellow pages once and it was a waste of money. What we have done is Google ads and we get thousands of impressions and clicks every month for very little. When people fill out a visitor card 90% say they came through online search. It’s a new reality so be visible. Start a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account for your church. This is where the people are.
  3. Make it a Celebration: When it’s time to go, make it a party, not a memorial. People have a hard time letting go and they get all worried and upset with change. The church should hold a party for the planters. Let the guy teach that Sunday morning, throw a BBQ afterwards, and give an opportunity for the church to bless them financially. This will give them an opportunity for them to be a part of what is going on and see them off. This Sunday we send off our youth pastor. We are killing the fatted calf (100 lbs of Trip Tip) and recognizing what God is doing.

These are just a few of the things that a church should do to help send out a planter. There is so much more but things I’ve found are so important. A planter has an arduous road in front of them and preparing them before hand will help to insure the chance to be successful.

Chuck Musselwhite pastors The Village Chapel in Lompoc, CA. For more information, visit villagechapel.com.

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!

Book Review: “The Adventures of Juan Domingo – The Life of a Missionary”

On Friday I received a copy of Juan Domingo’s autobiography and by sundown Saturday I finished the book. Why did I feel compelled to consume this book so quickly? And why am I recommending this book to our network?

Juan shares countless anecdotes about his experiences as a missionary and serial church planter in Mexico. He was one of the first Calvary Chapel pastors to plant internationally, and today there are over one hundred [100] Calvary Chapels in Mexico – the largest number of CC churches outside of the United States. The Calvary Chapel leaders in Mexico (and beyond) hold Juan in very high esteem. It is understandable in light of his influence and the fruit that has come from his ministry. Nevertheless, the book is void of any self-boasting and reflects Juan’s great humility and desire to give all glory to the Lord.

He was one of the first Calvary Chapel pastors to plant internationally, and today there are over one hundred [100] Calvary Chapels in Mexico – the largest number of CC churches outside of the United States.

The book in not intended to be a practical handbook on being a foreign missionary. So, it does not address issues such as writing support letters or preparing a budget for long-term missions. Instead, it provides an invaluable resource. It chronicles a life of faith – a man who sought to hear God’s voice and respond with acts of obedience and an attitude of dependence. Journey with Juan and discover God’s faithfulness. Be encouraged by the reminder that we serve a Lord who has a heart for foreign missions so that he came into a culture that was foreign and dwelt among them. As Jesus immersed himself in our world, so does Juan in various distinct communities in Mexico. Immersion in language, culture, and customs is all motivated by a burden for people and a desire to reach the lost and make disciples. This perspective is so valuable for church planters regardless of the people and culture you are called to serve.

Immersion in language, culture, and customs is all motivated by a burden for people and a desire to reach the lost and make disciples.

I also greatly appreciate Juan’s pilgrimage to various cities and communities in Mexico. Thus, not holding too tightly to the things of this world, or the apparent comfort or security of ministry success. Throughout the book you will be blessed as Juan recounts his adventure(s) with the Lord in a stream of consciousness that provides sweet water to thirsty souls. In every account I’m blessed that my friend points us to Jesus.

Juan’s book is available through Calvary Distribution and has been made available for FREE to CCPN because of Juan’s generosity (access this FREE resource here). Order copies from Calvary Distribution today and be strengthened by a fellow CC planter’s adventure, and the sober reality that each of us has only limited time to make a difference in this world that will impact eternity.

each of us has only limited time to make a difference in this world that will impact eternity.

The Calling & Equipping of Church Planting (CCBC Class Pt. 2)

Each Monday here on the blog, we take a look back at a recap of a Church Planting block class that I taught at Calvary Chapel Bible College early in 2013. Today is Part 2, but you may want to catch up on Part 1 (What Church Planting Is and Is Not) first.

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Today, we talked about the calling and equipping for ministry, as we took a look at some personal and Biblical examples. I shared about how God began to train me up for teaching, pastoring, and planting a church when I was 16 at a summer camp. For me, that was the start of my journey into ministry from starting a youth group, to leading a high school Bible Club, to eventually serving on staff at a summer camp and becoming a youth pastor.

Yesterday, I handed out a questionnaire to the class, asking about what they’re hoping to learn from the class and what some of their fears and obstacles are in church planting. A recurring theme in the responses I got is that people are stressed about their own inadequacies in ministry. Nobody is going to show up, there’s no money, feelings of inadequacy and inability, and so much more. I referred back to one time when I got to teach to the staff guys at the summer camp I served at, and I taught on God’s grace being sufficient in our weakness. We also discussed guys like Moses, Gideon, and Jeremiah – all great men whom God used in powerful ways, but all who felt inadequate for the task at hand.

We discussed how resources, teams, funds, and buildings are great tools, and God may bless us with them at different points along our journey, but ultimately, God has given us all that we need right now to take the next step. Gideon, for instance, ended up using less than 1% of his original army (from 32,000 soldiers to 300) to defeat an army that was innumerable. The driving point was this:

The resources and team you think you need may be the very things that prevent you from giving God the glory!

Sometimes God strips things away from us so that He can receive the glory and our ministries and churches can continue on a miracle basis.

God has given us all that we need right now to take the next step.

We had a great time discussing the qualifications for elders in 1 Timothy 3. We learned that although the context is specifically for elders/pastors, most of the qualifications are basic things that all Christians are held to: not drunkards, not lovers of money, gentle, hospitable, self-controlled, etc.

We ended the class with a video interview of my wife sharing her viewpoint on church planting. She talked about ways she supports me as her husband and pastor, as well as ways she’s seen God provide and teach her along the way. It was great to have her (virtually) in class for part of it!

We also talked about the importance and logistics of balancing church with family and marriage. Just like you have to put your oxygen mask on first in an airplane, the same thing needs to take place for your family in ministry. If your marriage and family fall apart, you lose your ministry too. To be effective long-term in ministry, you have to start with your first ministry: your family.

If your marriage and family fall apart, you lose your ministry too. To be effective long-term in ministry, you have to start with your first ministry: your family.

Unity within the church and between other churches is another vital step to reaching a city. We discussed practical ways to fight for unity and build bridges.

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Church Planting: Trusting God’s Word

This is Part 3 of a blog series by Pastor Joey Roper about his journey through the church planting process. Make sure to read Part 1Part 2, and Part 3, as well.

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It was five days before we would be boarding the plane to make our way back to Germany. On that morning I would be teaching the missions chapel at CCBC. As I was waking up, there was a battle that was going on in my mind and it needed to be dealt with. We were moving to Hamburg, the second most expensive city in all of Germany. We are missionaries and entirely supported through donations. Our previous month’s support was a total of $200. My thoughts, as you can imagine, were, “Lord, how are we going to do this?” That morning as I woke up, the Lord spoke four simple words into my mind a few times. “Have faith in Me.” In Philippians 4:6-7, it says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” At that moment, the peace of God came upon me, I put my hand to the plow, and didn’t look back. He knew what He was doing and would be faithful.

the Lord spoke four simple words into my mind a few times. “Have faith in Me.”

On September 19, 2012 we landed at the Düsseldorf airport. We were back in Germany! We drove back to the Herborn area, where we previously lived, to live with some friends until we could find an apartment in Hamburg, which is 5-6 hours north. Our next question was, “Lord, how are we going to make our steps into Hamburg? We don’t know anyone.” Upon arrival at our friend’s house, the husband asked me a question. “Joey, did you know that Daniel moved back to Hamburg? I believe he knows someone that can help you with finding a place to live.” Our first day back in Germany and God was at work! The next day I emailed our friend Daniel, who in turn put us in contact with some family friends of his (the Jahn family), who would become our second contact in Hamburg.

A month later, my wife and I would be staying at the Jahn’s house for a week so that we could spy out the city. There was an excitement and expectation within us. We were moving forward in faith and had no idea what was ahead of us. On our first full day, the husband invited us to meet with him for lunch in the city. He was born and raised in Hamburg and so we were excited to get to know him and to learn from him. During the lunch he asked us a few honest questions that he had, (none of which he meant in a negative way):

  • What is your goal here in Hamburg? To make Jesus known. To make disciples of Jesus. To plant a church.
  • Do you know anyone here in the city? No.
  • Do you have an area in the city you are looking at to plant the church? Not yet.
  • Do you have a team to help you? Not yet, but praying for them.
  • Does this future church have financial support yet? No.
  • So you are in a city that you have never been to, don’t know anyone, don’t have a team, not sure yet where you want to start this new church, and not sure where you are going to get the finances for your support. Yes.

As you can imagine, the enemy used those statements for the next few hours to bring in fear, discouragement, and questions in our minds. After walking around the city for a few hours, we needed to sit down and let our feet rest. I took this opportunity to write all of these things down. After writing all his questions down, I then wrote down, BUT GOD

You and I will have a choice in the midst of following the Lord in the work that He has called us to. We can either move forward in faith, trusting God’s Word, or we can allow our own thoughts or the thoughts of others keep us from His work. May I encourage you today, move forward in faith, trust in His word that He has been speaking to you. It is His work and He will be faithful to finish what He has initiated.

move forward in faith, trust in His word that He has been speaking to you. It is His work and He will be faithful to finish what He has initiated.