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Give Your People Away

The best thing a sending church can give a church plant is people. Money is good, counsel is helpful, but feet on the ground have a greater impact than anything else. Unfortunately this is often the last thing that sending churches want to give away. You can name a lot of reason like the hassle of having to replace them and the loss of tithing income but what it boils down to is fear.

I was talking with a church planter recently whose church is going great in the very early stages. The only struggle they are having is they don’t have a worship leader. So this planter is setting up and tearing down, leading worship, and then teaching. Way too heavy of a load for one man. As we texted back and forth I asked if there was anyone from his sending church who come along side him and lead worship. He did say there was a guy who was going to come with him but the sending church talked him out of going.

Unfortunately that is more the norm than not. Church planting is the “it” thing to do with churches today and you can be construed as a hip pastor if you are sending out church planters from your church, but to do it correctly takes commitment and sacrifice. One of the biggest sacrifices a sending church and pastor can do is to commit their people to making the church plant successful. Hoarding talent for your own purposes can have damaging effects down the line. We need to create a pipeline of sending people out. If we don’t the church will get clogged with people who are under utilizing their talents and ultimately the kingdom of God isn’t fully being reached.

One of the biggest sacrifices a sending church and pastor can do is to commit their people to making the church plant successful. Hoarding talent for your own purposes can have damaging effects down the line.

When we went out to plant The Village Chapel eight years ago, my pastor Paul Berry, from Calvary Chapel Santa Maria stood in front of the church and challenged people to go and serve for one year. Sixty-Five people took the challenge and went with us! Did it cause a little panic at the mother church? Heck yeah. Did it cause some discomfort in the ministries and in the giving? You better believe it, but it set our church on the path to success and stability because he did that.

As sending churches we need to give our people away. It will grow our faith as leaders, stretch the people who stay back, and create space for people to step up and serve where they weren’t before. Holding on to our people will cause stagnation and eliminate opportunities for them to step up into leadership. When we send out planters don’t send them out empty handed, send a team of people who will labor next to them. It will lay the foundation for a successful plant and will encourage the planter who is faithfully serving.

Chuck Musselwhite was used of God to plant Village Chapel in Lompoc on the central California coast in 2006. He has been instrumental in establishing Calvary Church Planting Network and has a passion for equipping and sending church planters. You can follow Pastor Chuck and Village Chapel on Facebook and Twitter.

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

Celebrating Church Plants with a special “Sending Sunday” Service

Acts 13:3:  “Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.”

One of the greatest joys of church planting is that exciting time when your church planter is ready to leave the nest and step out in faith to plant their new church God is forming. As good as that time is, there are some questions that can arise on the “sending church” side of things. Questions like, How can a pastor get his entire congregation informed and involved in this church plant? Another typical question is, how can the pastor demonstrate the priority of church planting in his local congregation and explain the role of the sending church? 

At Calvary Chapel Rosarito we answer these questions by holding a special Sending Sunday service to celebrate each one of our church plants. A Sending Sunday is a Sunday service dedicated completely to the sending out of a church planter and his team. The special service allows us to all take part in God’s birthing of a new church.

What It Looks Like

Let me lay out for you how a typical Sending Sunday service looks like for us in Rosarito. On this special Sunday, I begin by sharing a word of encouragement about the importance of missions work, church planting and the calling that God has placed on us as a church. I then bring the church planter on stage and hand the rest of the service over to him. The church planter normally shares a word from the scriptures while also explaining the calling that God has placed on his life to plant this church.

At the conclusion of the service, the entire missions team comes forward to have hands laid on them by the pastoral staff and be officially sent out by the church! As the pastor, I normally end our Sending Sunday service by asking the congregants to pray for and financially support this new church plant. We have mechanisms in place for either a one-time gift or a regular monthly financial commitment. Often the afternoon ends with a church plant themed missions lunch where those interested can mingle and talk with the church planting team.

For Senders and Goers

I have found Sending Sundays are not only for the pastor and team going out to plant, but a great way to show our congregation has a major role we have in sending planters to establish new congregations. Lord willing the Sending Sundays will be repeated in the new church plants as they mature. They allow everyone feel connected with and part of the great work that God is doing through church planning. The next time you have the opportunity to send out a church planter, pray about having your very own “Sending Sunday” service. I promise you, it will be a blessing!

For an example, one of Calvary Chapel Rosarito’s Sending Sunday services is online.

Pastor Mike Vincent and his wife Sarah went to Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico, with their two children in 2002 to plant Calvary Chapel Rosarito. God has used the church to send several church plant teams.

From Drugs to Church Planting

This is a letter from Mike Vincent, lead pastor at Calvary Chapel Rosarito Beach, Baja, Mexico, and CCPN core team leader for Mexico. He updates us on a recent church planting endeavor. God is at work in Mexico!

Greetings from Mexico, 

At the end of September, we were honored to send out a new church planting family and in this update I wanted to share their heartwarming story with you. I first met Pedro Ramirez on the streets of Rosarito 7 years ago. Pedro was a drug addict that had recently been deported and had hit rock bottom. But God loved Pedro and had a plan for Pedro’s life that Pedro could have never believed.

After visiting our church and hearing the Gospel, Pedro repented of his sins, responded in faith to Jesus and was saved. Unfortunately, even though Pedro continued to attend our church, he also continued to struggle with his addictions. Eventually, Pedro came to me and asked for help and we sent him off to the men’s discipleship home that we partner with. (For those of you that don’t know, for anyone that needs help and hope, we will take them off of the streets and put them in a discipleship home {rehab center} absolutely  free of charge!) 

Pedro spent nine months at this discipleship home (“Rancho Poeima” located in Ensenada)  and upon graduating, moved back to the church and joined our staff as one of our interns. For two years Pedro worked hard and served God and the people and learned the ins and outs of ministry. Over that time, Pedro made himself so valuable to me, that I offered him a full time paid staff position upon his graduation from our two year internship program. Also during that time, Pedro met his future wife Angeles at the church and they were married in a beautiful God honoring ceremony.

During his past two years on staff at the church, Pedro has led a number of ministries and was ordained as an Assistant Pastor earlier this year. Pedro also began to share with me the burden that God had placed on his heart to return to his hometown of Leon Guanajuato to plant a church. The historic city of Leon is the 7th largest city in Mexico with a population of well over 2 million people. Leon is also virtually unreached with the Gospel and has very few Christian churches. Pedro knows this city well because he spent his first 18 years in Leon, and to this day Pedro’s parents and most of his family members still live there.

To prepare, last year Pedro enrolled in our one year church planting program, and he excelled as he practiced his preaching and learned about the blessings and the challenges of church planting.  Pedro and his wife also took several short term missions trips (vision tours) to visit Leon where they scouted out the land,  preached the Gospel,  and prayed over the city.

All of this led up to our big “Sending Sunday” where we designated an entire Sunday service to focus on missions and this call that God has laid on the lives of Pedro and Angeles. During this service, Pedro and his wife shared with our congregation, and we ended the service by laying hands on their church planting team and we sent them out to do the work that God is calling them to do. (Two single men will also be moving with them from Rosarito to assist in the work.) 

We are blown away with the work that God is doing through church planting in our church and ministry. Pedro and Angeles are the third church planters that we have sent out in the past year, and we are excited to see how God is going to use them with this church plant.

Relationally Challenged

Pastor Matthew Dragoun from Cambria Calvary Chapel in Cambria, CA, shares insight on training people up and sending them out…

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One thing that Calvary Chapel has always done well is train up disciples by investing in them spiritually. Of course, you can’t help this when you are teaching the Word of truth in the power of the Spirit.

As we continue to grow, the need for a thorough approach to train up practically while sending out has become evident. CCPN’s mission to equip men for church planting through mentoring utilizing the resource of the manual to help direct the planter is a great way to see this accomplished. The manual clearly depicts the pastoral ministry model and administration. I only wish it was around when I ventured out.

One area that I believe we lack in recognition and raising awareness is that of the relational aspect of church planting. I am by no means an authority on this subject but I would like to share my experience and observation.

How does a faithful servant who has taken personal possession of his ministry under the leadership of his pastor, upon hearing the call, handle the struggle of releasing those ministries and coming into a new identity without “checking out” before he leaves? The same way a sending pastor trudges through the transitions from offering “cart blanche” support to thinking “this is mutiny” and finally saying “here’s your hat, what’s your hurry” without compromising the fellowship.

In most cases the relationship between the mentor and the planter has developed through the years and continues to grow through the pains of planting, whether in a nearby community or on the other side of the World.

-The pastor/pupil relationship is one of investment and receiving

-The friendship is one of vulnerability that develops a greater intimacy

-The co-laboring relationship is one that celebrates being coheirs in fellowship

-The boss/employee relationship takes expectation and communication to a whole new level

-The mentor/planter relationship changes everything

When all is said and done, what we would like to remain in this miraculous relationship would be everything but the boss/employee relationship. But this isn’t always the case. Personalities, attitudes and emotions sometimes take the front seat and rob both men of a time of wondering together in what the Lord is doing.

The short answer in struggling through these fruitless frustrations is found in an awareness of the potentials, committing to prayer, enhanced communication and extending extra grace. It is going to be weird; it is going to get awkward and is probably going to have some points that aren’t too pretty; but it doesn’t have to be a season of grief and it doesn’t have to be defined as a “sending away” rather than a “sending out”. Remember the joy you have in serving together, the love that you have for one another and don’t let the enemy rip you off of seeing Jesus glorified as He takes your relationship to a whole new level.

…struggling through these fruitless frustrations is found in an awareness of the potentials, committing to prayer, enhanced communication and extending extra grace.

While we hit our bumps, however distant and independent we are, my pastor will always be my pastor, one of my best friends and one of my favorite co-laborers to serve with. I pray that anyone that I have the privilege of sending out would be able to say the same.