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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.

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

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.