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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.

Book Review: “The Leadership Ladder – Developing Missional Leaders in the Church”

Steve Ogne is a pioneer in developing resources for church planters, and has provided another excellent resource for pastors and planters. In the “Leadership Ladder” the authors provide a meaningful practical tool to develop disciples and leaders who can reach the lost and make mature disciples. One of the great benefits for church planters would be to better understand the issues and develop a culture from the inception of the church that was intentional about leadership development.

We are all aware that there is a crisis in the church in regard to development of mature disciples who are capable of reaching the lost and then making mature followers of Christ. Most proclaimed Christians have never shared their faith [the gospel], don’t engage unsaved people in the culture around them [live missionally], and have no idea how to make mature followers of Christ of new converts. This book is a valuable resource to help change the dynamic and offers a helpful model as a new paradigm.

The authors provide a practical “how to” toolkit that likes the process to a ladder. The sides that support each rung are Biblical knowledge and Biblical character. The book provides practical ideas to ensure these foundational aspects are addressed properly. You’ll likely learn some new skills to ensure that Biblical knowledge is actually being developed in the local church. As Calvary Chapel pastors we can erroneously assume that because we teach the Bible in verse by verse that people in the local church are actually growing in their understanding of theology in a meaningful way. Similarly the need to develop and ensure that the church is growing in Christ-like character is extensively addressed.

The book provides tools to help Christians engage the unsaved people in the culture they live in. The next step up the ladder is the process to make disciples who can make disciples. Once that skill has been learned and applied the next rung is to mobilize Christians for ministry. Then we learn to train those disciples who are mobilized for ministry to effectively lead ministry. The final steps are learning to effectively lead leaders and then to plant churches. Throughout the book the authors provide very practical advice and insights from a plethora of Christian leaders on how to put the principles to work.

I’m blessed to serve at an established church where I believe the majority of the principles have been and are being addressed. Nevertheless, the practical and comprehensive nature of the book has convinced me that this is a must read for our leaders. In the context of a new church plant I believe that it would be especially advantageous to develop this type of process as part of the church’s DNA from the beginning of the church through its maturation. So, I highly recommend this resource to you.

Pastor Bruce Zachary planted Calvary Nexus in Camarillo, CA and is the director of Calvary Church Planting Network. Many of his resources are available for free online, including Kingdom Leaders and the Church Planting Manual. You can follow Pastor Bruce on Facebook and Twitter @BruceZachary.

Transition Thursday Part 3: Leadership Transition

Over the past few weeks I’ve been filling in for a pastor on sabbatical. I’m in Juneau, Alaska as part of a team of five pastors who’ve served this church (and their pastor) for the past several months. Each of us brings a different style and area of ministry focus.

It’s a healthy church body and my role is primarily working with discipleship and developing leaders. In my opinion, I’ve got the gravy job. Most of the nuts and bolts ministry work was done before I got here. So I’m thankful for my fellow Poimen Ministries pastors, including those serving in other places.

This third and final post, in a series on leadership transition, is a combination of questions and thoughts to help you look toward and plan for a good transition of leadership.

Leadership Transition—part 3

If you’ve followed along, this is the 3rd post related to the story of leadership transition from King Solomon to his son Rehoboam, as told in 2 Chronicles 10. If not, you might want to review the previous two posts in this series. The first is– The Importance of Passing the Baton Well, and the second is– Leadership Transition and the Value of a Team.

As with part 2, this will mostly be questions to consider, and these will focus more on the one coming into a leadership role or position. Although it can be looked at from a younger leader’s (pastor’s) perspective, there are good things to ponder for those of us who’ve been in leadership for quite a while.

Do you cast a shadow, or are you in the shadow?

A couple things to keep in mind…
It’s always tough to follow in the footsteps of a founding leader or pastor, especially if they were a very charismatic personality type of leader, who is popular and well-liked. It is especially difficult when they remain nearby—it’s hard to get out from under their shadow.
Can you imagine what it was like to follow someone like Solomon? Solomon did very well, but his dad (King David) set things up very well for him. That favor was not returned for Rehoboam—a lesson to be learned!
Some questions and thoughts to consider:
  • If you’re a founding leader or pastor– What are you doing now to provide for a smooth transition for whoever will follow you?

We have the example of King David setting things up for Solomon, but we also have Jesus.

Once Jesus began His public ministry, He started grooming those who would become the leaders of the first church. He chose twelve men and trained them through teaching, example, and delegation. He told them and showed them, then sent them out.
I over-simplified Jesus’ training process, but a more thorough look at it can be found in many good books. One I always recommend is the classic, “The Master Plan of Evangelism” by Robert Coleman.

And don’t forget the apostle Paul, who wrote most of the epistles of the New Testament, especially those called the Pastoral Epistles—1 & 2 Timothy and Titus. Paul has much to say about discipling and raising up leaders!

  • If you’re a new leader or pastor– What model of leadership are you following? That of Jesus, or someone you’re trying to emulate?

I served as a missionary and pastor in the Philippines for fifteen years. Another pastor and I served as interim pastors at a local church, and my friend recruited a young Filipino pastor to serve at our church. I had the opportunity to help this young pastor get settled as the new senior pastor.

He was discipled well by another American missionary-pastor, so he was equipped to teach and he also led worship. But, I encouraged him to develop his own vision for the church, and with his own style of leading.

His mentor had a strong personality, so I was concerned the younger pastor would tend to emulate him. He followed that advice and developed into a strong pastoral leader and teacher. He is also committed to discipling other leaders within the church.

  • Are you following a founding pastor? If so, what are you doing to help the people of the organization or church adjust to a different leadership style and personality?
    • Are you starting out fresh with a new vision and direction?
    • What are you bringing along with you as a leader from your own experience, good or bad?

King David had a vision for the Kingdom of Israel while he was king, and saw beyond his own reign. Because of his passion for God he wanted to build a temple, but this was not God’s plan. So King David set things in place for the temple to be built by his son, as well as the transition of leadership (see 1 Chronicles 22).

  • Has God given you a fresh vision for leadership?
    • Can you articulate this vision clearly so others can see it with you?
    • Has God revealed His plan for how this vision is to be implemented and fulfilled?
    • Have you sought out counsel from more experienced leaders?
  • Or…
    • Are you moving forward with your own ideas as it seems best to you?
    • Are your plans based on borrowed ideas from someone who’s “successful”?

Some final thoughts

A leadership book I’ve found very helpful over the years is, “The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make,” by Hans Finzel. I like it because it’s based on real experience, it’s concise and practical, and provides clear direction for how not to make these same mistakes. It is well worth the read.

Hopefully, along the path of leadership, we can learn how to make good transitions, so others may follow well. If you want the top 10 ways to lead, observe the master leader, Jesus! No one can improve on His methods, nor match His example.

With Trip Kimball’s permission this is a repost from his blog, Word-Strong. Along with his family, Trip planted a Calvary Chapel in 1978 and in 1990 took them to the Philippines as missionaries. There in Asia he was used by God to not only establish Rainbow Village for abandoned babies, but serve in equipping hundreds of national pastors and church planters. Currently Trip serves from his Florida home as a mentor with CCPN, as an integral part of Poimen Ministries and continues to equip leaders in the States as well as in missionary settings.

Transition Thursday Pt 2: Leadership Transition and the Importance of a Team

What does good leadership transition look like? Should it be on a grand scale and made with great promises? How long should it take, and what’s the secret to a successful transition?

Last week I started a three-part series on leadership transition, using the illustration of passing the baton in a relay race. A relay race is composed of teams of four runners who must be quick, strategic, and smooth in running, pacing the handoff of the baton, and the handoff itself.

One critical element is often overlooked in our age of super-stardom. The four runners must work together as a team. No one runner is more important than the other. Each has a role to play. Yes, it’s great to get off to a good start, and have a strong kick at the finish. But, it’s also vital that the second and third runners gain, regain, or keep the lead, along with seamless handoffs so no precious seconds are lost.

Teamwork is critical for good transitions of leadership. But where and when does this teamwork start?

From great to not so great

Last installment (part 1) we looked at the story of Rehoboam in 2 Chronicles. It is a sad example of a transfer of leadership from one leader to another, from King Solomon to Rehoboam, his son. It can also illustrate a transition of leadership in most any organization, including a church.
One thing especially difficult is a transition from a founding pastor (or leader), to a younger, much less experienced leader, as in this story (2 Chronicles 10:1-19). “Filling the shoes” of someone who established the culture of a church (or organization) is very difficult, and is even more difficult under the shadow of the founder, if they stay within the organization or church.
Here are several questions that should help bring some healthy consideration towards a good leadership transition. Healthy leadership transition shouldn’t start as an afterthought, or in the last few months of a leader’s tenure, but needs to start early on. It should be embedded in the whole vision of the church or organization.
 
Self-accountability questions for leaders—
1) How is your relationship with the Lord? Are you going through a spiritual growth period or adry spell? Are your devotional times with the Lord somewhat hum-drum or are you experiencing some special times as well?
2) Who are you discipling? Are you investing any of your life and walk with the Lord in someone else? How are you transferring any of what the Lord has done in your life to bless others?
3) Who are you training up for positions of leadership? Who is able to take your place if you’re called to do something different someday? Will what you are doing outlast or survive your involvement and presence?
4) Are you accountable to anyone? Who? Do they know this? Do you make regular time to be held accountable? If not, who can you go to when you need guidance, help, or restoration?
5) What vision do you have for ministry now and the future? Do you have a sense of vision for the ministry you’re involved with now? Do you have vision for other ministry beyond what you’re doing now?

Now rather than later

That’s a bunch of questions all at one time, but these are not to be answered once and set aside. They should be looked at and considered from time to time within a given year—maybe 2 or 3 times a year.
Discipleship will naturally produce leaders. It worked well for Jesus, and it still works. It’s just a slow and deliberate process, which is why now is the best time to start doing it! Keep it simple, personal, and deliberate. It will spawn good spiritual growth for the discipler, as well as the one discipled.

Looking ahead

In the next installment I’d like to address some questions for younger leaders. But even young leaders can benefit from the above questions. If Rehoboam followed the advice of the team of advisors to his father (King Solomon), it would be a very different story. But he didn’t.

Trusted and proven advisors are a valuable asset to young leaders, any leaders for that matter. New and young leaders can bring fresh vision and energy to the table, but not know how to get things started or how to implement the vision.

Next week, we’ll look at a few ideas to prepare for leadership transition long before it needs to happen.
What is your experience with discipleship?
 
Are you investing any of your life and walk with the Lord in someone else?
 
Who are you training up for positions of leadership?
 

What vision do you have for ministry now and the future?

 

With Trip Kimball’s permission this is a repost from his blog, Word-Strong. Along with his family, Trip planted a Calvary Chapel in 1978 and in 1990 took them to the Philippines as missionaries. There in Asia he was used by God to not only establish Rainbow Village for abandoned babies, but serve in equipping hundreds of national pastors and church planters. Currently Trip serves from his Florida home as a mentor with CCPN, as an integral part of Poimen Ministries and continues to equip leaders in the States as well as in missionary settings.

Transition Thursday: The Importance of Passing the Baton Well

Passing the baton in a relay race is the most critical part of the race. It happens three times, and each pass impacts the race. When it’s done in a smooth, swift manner, precious seconds are gained. When the transition is rough, it slows the pace of both runners and valuable time is lost. If the baton is dropped, the whole relay team loses.

They say that practice makes perfect, and this is paramount for a relay race. Sadly, there have been some horrendous baton mistakes in recent Olympic races. Can you imagine working for years to get to the Olympics, only to watch your hopes of a medal vanish in seconds? It happens.

The passing of a baton is a good illustration for a transition of leadership. When it’s done well, the benefits are immense. When it’s done poorly, the losses are incalculable.

The transfer process

Reading through 2 Chronicles, in the midst of genealogies and royal histories, the Lord opened up some thoughts for me about transition of leadership.

The transition of power from King Solomon to his son Rehoboam is a clear example of how not to do leadership transition. Let’s be honest, for anyone who has gone through a transition of leadership in any field, it can be tricky and difficult for everyone concerned.
When it comes to spiritual leadership, especially pastoral leadership, transition is difficult, and costly when not done well. The fallout of a failed or troubled transition affects the people in the church and community, as well as, the immediate leadership involved—pastors, elders, the board, and ministry leaders.

A lack of wisdom

This is the first in a three-part series on transition of leadership. This post will look at the immediate context of a young leader stepping into the very large shoes of a bigger-than-life leader, namely, King Solomon. The text is 2 Chronicles 10:1-19.

After King Solomon’s death, his son Rehoboam finds the people of Israel coming with a request. They express how difficult it was for them living under the strong-handed leadership of his father, and the cost it required. They request a lighter burden to bear in exchange for loyalty and continued service.

Rehoboam seeks the counsel of his father’s advisors who suggest he grant the people’s request and the people will be faithful and loyal as his servants.

But Rehoboam is not satisfied with their counsel, so he seeks out his own advisors—those who’ve grown up with him, his peers in experience and age. Their counsel is to be even more harsh than his father had been. So, when the people return for the king’s response, they are met with a harsh rebuke.

The people responded with rebellion! When the king refused to listen to them, they abandoned him, or as others have said, they voted with their feet.

The right person

Why did this happen? Many answers could apply, but here are a couple of observations.

Rehoboam was no King Solomon. He didn’t have the stature, wisdom, nor leadership gifts of his father Solomon. Four decades of full-time ministry taught my wife and I that one person cannot be replaced with just anyone. There is no magical transfer of leadership gifts and capacity.
In fact, we found that two or three people were needed to take the place of another who served in a major role for a significant time. Primary leadership (as a director, pastor, etc.) is certainly not just a hole to be filled. It requires more than just a warm body. It requires the right person. Wisdom and discernment are needed, as well as clear guidance from God.

The right time and the right way

Rehoboam refused to really listen to the people and consider the implications of what they were saying. A common problem for many young leaders is to try to bring change too quickly. Another problem is trying to lead with the same style of leadership as someone else. Neither is wise. When I prepared to turn over the church I planted in the late seventies, to join another ministry overseas, I had a simple prayer request. I asked the Lord for a man who had senior pastoral experience to come take the church. I saw enough failed and troubled church transitions to know the consequences of inexperience.

I wanted to have a clean hand-off of the baton of leadership. Thankfully, the Lord answered my prayer, and the church saw no downturn in giving or attendance, and the church experienced strong growth within months of the final transition.

How can it be done well?

In the next installment, I’ll ask some specific questions related to transition of leadership. General principles can be gained through examples in the Bible, but specifics for each transition need more consideration, and plenty of prayer.

In the meantime, to get started in that direction—

What is God showing you through this text (2 Chronicles 10:1-19) about leadership in general?

What experience do you have witnessing or participating in a transition of leadership (at any level)?

With Trip Kimball’s permission this is a repost from his blog, Word-Strong. Along with his family, Trip planted a Calvary Chapel in 1978 and in 1990 took them to the Philippines as missionaries. There in Asia he was used by God to not only establish Rainbow Village for abandoned babies, but serve in equipping hundreds of national pastors and church planters. Currently Trip serves from his Florida home as a mentor with CCPN, as an integral part of Poimen Ministries and continues to equip leaders in the States as well as in missionary settings.

A Leader Passionately Prays

Nehemiah 1:11c For I was the king’s cupbearer.

Every great story has a beginning. The book of Nehemiah is a great story full of amazing leadership principles and great accomplishments —but it all started with Nehemiah praying. Don’t overlook this. Nehemiah passionately prayed. Before the great accomplishment of a wall being built, the restoration of a ancient city, families being restored to their homeland and the rise of a great leader, it started with prayer. It started with God.

Prayer is simply talking and listening to God. As we pray to God, we are aligning our hearts to His will, and we get to know Him in a closer way. This is why Jesus prayed, “not my will, but your will be done,” before he endured the cross. So we also pray according to God’s will. Many even say the words “in Jesus name,” which is another way of saying “according to your nature and will.” We take all sort of circumstances, situations, and emotions to God through prayer and allow His will to be done and pray for His plan to succeed.

Often, when we hear successful stories of leaders, we want to learn from them so we can succeed as well. We learn that Nehemiah wasn’t a great commander or leader in the nation of Israel, he wasn’t even living in the Jewish nation at the time. He was simply working as the cupbearer for King Artaxerxes in a foreign land. Although he didn’t seem like the greatest candidate to lead the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, God had great plans for Him to accomplish this great task. We see His journey start with him praying passionately to God for the nation of Israel, and as he prays, God starts to align his heart to His plan to restore His people, the city and rebuild the wall through Nehemiah. I believe Nehemiah’s success started with the secret Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:6 “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

Don’t miss how this book starts off. In Nehemiah chapter 1 we see Nehemiah passionately praying. If you want to lead well, it will be good for you to pray to God as well.

If you want to lead well, it will be good for you to pray to God as well.

Luke 14:11 ”For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Pastor Daniel Williams serves at was used of God to plant Redemption Church in Delray Beach, FL, in 2011. You can read his blog and follow him on Twitter, @pastordwilliams

Book Review: What Makes A Leader Great

Russ Crosson is a committed follower of Christ and president and CEO of Ronald Blue and Co, LLC one of the largest financial advisory firms in the U.S. provides a fresh and Biblical perspective on leadership in the marketplace and ministry. There are a plethora of resources on “How to lead” or “What a leader should do.” There seem to be very few that focus on why we lead. 

In considering why we lead, Crosson suggests a rarely heard clarion cry: we lead in order to replace ourselves. At the end of the day we are not successful leaders unless we have successors. He challenges leaders who are not actively and intentionally preparing the next generation of leaders. The most effective leaders are those that realize their mission is not about them but those that come after them. Those leaders realize that they are dispensable, so they plan ahead by training those who will one day take their place. 

At the end of the day we are not successful leaders unless we have successors.

The book provides a humble narrative with a strong biblical foundation as Crosson describes his journey to discover what makes leaders great. I think it is a particularly helpful resource to our movement in our history. As relatively new movement we are now reaching an age where several leaders and pastors are contemplating leadership transitions. This is a great resource to discover some of the dangers of not being prepared; and a fantastic tool to discover how to be more effective in preparing. In a nutshell the author is recommending preparing today even when one does not anticipate the succession plan to unfold for many years to come. 

In the context of church planting it provides a paradigm for leadership that champions the development of next generation leaders from the organization’s inception. Thus leaders and followers who become future leaders not only discover why but will also be blessed to learn more effectively “How to.” 

I’ve ordered several copies for core leaders at our local church and highly recommend that you read this book as well.
 
Pastor Bruce Zachary planted Calvary Nexus in Camarillo, CA and is the director of Calvary Church Planting Network. Many of his resources are available for free online, including Kingdom Leaders and the Church Planting Manual. You can follow Pastor Bruce on Facebook.

Transitioning from Local to Kingdom Leadership

One of the greatest needs in the Church today is for Kingdom leaders. Church leaders’ desire to build up the local church is certainly noble and critical to mission. However, it’s critical not to focus on our immediate community to the extent that it overshadows God’s greater Kingdom. The purpose of this article is not to swing the pendulum from one extreme to another, but to move towards a healthier balance between the local church and the broader Kingdom.

Have you ever met a church leader who seems focused on building the local church? Of course you have. Almost all of us have a desire to equip and edify the local church. Have you ever considered how the focus on the development of the local church could potentially cause us to neglect the greater Kingdom? Over focus on the local church is an obstacle to healthy advancement of Christ’s Kingdom when resources are heavily allocated to, what is essentially our small piece of the puzzle, forgetting the big, Kingdom picture. Kingdom initiatives that seem to transcend the local church include, but are not limited to: global missions, church planting, para-church ministries, engaging or reaching unreached people groups, developing leaders for Kingdom service beyond the local church and benevolence, especially beyond the local church. Anecdotally, the percentage of resources (time talent and treasure) that are used for these Kingdom initiatives in the typical local church is often very small. We need to realize that the tendency of church leaders to focus on developing the local church can cause us to neglect the greater Kingdom. The transition to Kingdom leadership is a process that every local church needs engage in.

Over focus on the local church is an obstacle to healthy advancement of Christ’s Kingdom when resources are heavily allocated to, what is essentially our small piece of the puzzle, forgetting the big, Kingdom picture.

I’d like to propose a four-fold transition process:

Assess

Resources need to be allocated towards Kingdom initiatives in order to fulfill the Kingdom calling of the Church beyond the local church. Yet we rarely actually assess how our resources of time talent and treasure are actually committed to Kingdom works. The first step is to take an honest accounting to assess how resources are allocated. Examine the church budget to see how funds are committed to distinctly Kingdom initiatives beyond the local church. Then consider how people resources of time and talent are designated for Kingdom works beyond the local church. In other words how are people empowered encouraged and engaged in Kingdom initiatives? A reasonable goal would be to work towards ten percent [10%] and then consider moving beyond the 10%.

Align

Consider the question, “What has God called us to do as a local church to advance the Kingdom beyond the local church?” Each local church will have a sense of particular areas of calling. Your church may feel an emphasis towards global missions, church planting, reaching unengaged or unreached people groups, or a particular para-church ministry. It is also very likely that you feel a call to multiple initiatives. We have found it helpful to ask, “If money wasn’t an object and there were plenty of talented people to spare what would we like to do for God’s Kingdom?” Take the time to determine where you believe God has called you to be as a local church in your role as Kingdom leaders.

Accountability

Create a plan to designate resources and prioritize the Kingdom initiatives to move towards the desired destination. This will likely involve shifts in the budget and vision to mobilize people and financial resources. There will likely be resistance to the shift because competing local initiatives will be perceived as threatened. When faced with the challenge of perceived scarcity of resources make the Kingdom initiatives the priority and trust God’s leading and provision.

Assist

Engage the help of other leaders who you perceive as having effectively made the shift from local church to Kingdom leadership. Identify mentors who can help you and your leadership team to navigate the challenges. Then as you transition to Kingdom leadership offer to assist other church leaders in the process.

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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Your 1st 200 May Be Terrible

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


Tim Keller effectively communicates the gospel of Jesus Christ through preaching, but concerning young pastors the well known preacher recently said to church planters, “For the first 200 sermons, no matter what you do, your first 200 sermons are going to be terrible.”

For the first 200 sermons, no matter what you do,

your first 200 sermons are going to be terrible.

When applied as designed, the Calvary Church Planting Network Church Planting Manual places a strong emphasis on development of teaching and preaching in the season of equipping before the church plant. Critical, but loving feedback usually provides a great time of growth for future church planters. As the church plant moves past a core group, and especially past the launch of Sunday services, there becomes less and less opportunity to grow in preaching by receiving valuable feedback and coaching. In those first sermons of the new church the enemy who hates the church planter, and the fledgling local expression of the church, will be active to convince the planter he is useless. While not forgoing the tools of spiritual warfare, I would like to suggest three ideas for the church planter to continue the pattern of growth begun in the teacher training of the Calvary Church Planting Network Church Planting Manual.

Critical, but loving feedback usually provides a great time of growth for future church planters.

Planter: Ask Your Wife (or other key person)
Unless he is terribly unique, at some point on Sunday afternoon the church planter will ask his wife some version of, “So, how did the message go today.” The 10-minutes that follow may be the best preparation for the following week’s sermon. This point obviously presumes the planter is married. If not, then another key person can be identified.

A pastor friend offers a short class for pastor and elder’s wives on how to critically listen to a sermon and it may be good to consider something similar for future church planters. In the meantime I suggest planters ask their wives to read the “Teaching and preaching” section in the appendix of the Church Planting Manual. It is amazing how with a little forethought and preparation how sophisticated a listener can become and how much invaluable feedback a wife can bring.

Planter: Ask the Core Team
I strongly suggest a debrief meeting of the previous Sunday service early enough in the week to prepare for the coming service. As discussions of setup, sound balance and timing of the offering are discussed, it is also valuable to ask a few key questions about the sermon. It would probably be profitable to develop a template of four or five key questions concerning the message and save more in depth discussions for another time. Questions could include:

• What was the object of the message?
• How were my mannerisms?
• Where there any illustrations that did not work?
• How did this apply to the congregation’s head (intellect), heart (inner being), and hands (application)?
• What was he main takeaway point of the message?
• What could I have done better?
• What worked well?

Planter: Ask a Coach
As a planter moves out of the mentoring relationship of his sending church, the coaching relationship typically becomes the key to development of the planter spiritually, but also in practical church matters like preaching. It is advised that the coach listen to several messages (presumably not the whole first 200), from a planter and make note of good and bad patterns.