Greenhills Christian Fellowship Calgary Update

This article by Pastor Allan Santos can be found originally published in CBWC’s monthly enewsletter Making Connections. Subscribe here.

We are grateful to the Lord for how He is moving and working in the lives of His children here in GCF Calgary. One of the primary thanksgivings that we have is our ministry towards the young professionals or the millennials of today. We are so blessed to see them serving the Lord wholeheartedly. Our primary commitment to the leadership of our young professionals is to disciple each one of them so they will grow spiritually and be equipped with God’s word as they do God’s work.  Quarterly meetings are being held with the leaders to talk about Jesus’ strategy on how to make disciples who can make disciples.  Now, our young professionals have four groups who are meeting faithfully each week to study God’s word and fellowship.  IMG_2884.jpg

Another ministry that we are continually pursuing is our basketball outreach.  Early this year, we had our basketball tournament and we had six teams that participated in this event.  We praise God for the opportunity to meet and share God’s Word to the players.  Two players accepted the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives and followed water baptism.  Indeed, the Lord is making a move for people to know and follow Him.

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We also praise the Lord for the men and women’s fellowship that were held every month starting early this year. The leadership of the church prayed and aimed to strengthen these particular groups because we desire to see the men and women in our church to have their own support group as they face everyday challenges and opportunities unique to their varied life roles. By God’s grace, both of these fellowship activities are increasing in attendance and consequently, closer relationships are being built and established.

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The work of the Lord here in Calgary is both challenging and exciting. It is challenging because the church needs to think of ways on how to reach out to people who are busy with their own lives pursuing wealth and personal success. On the other hand, it is exciting because we are seeing the need for them to know Jesus because He is the only One who can give a life that is complete and fulfilling.

May our good Lord be glorified, as we desire to reach out people for Him. His name be forever praised!

We’re so glad to hear how God is at work at GCF, and we want to share your stories too! Email Cailey (cmorgan@cbwc.ca) with your story to encourage our family of churches across western Canada.

The Unexpected Guest Part 2

By Shannon Youell

Several weeks ago, I challenged us to look through our Sunday spaces and gatherings through the lens of the unexpected, unchurched or marginally churched person to observe and recognize what barriers we may have that keep folk from feeling they are in a safe place to explore their spiritual curiosity.

In our church, we have a long way to go in this, but here are a few of the practices we have been doing and are leaning into doing more.

  • From the start, we explain everything. From what’s going to happen, to the room layout, to our “amenities”—which include fresh bread to take, coffee bar, children’s activities—to facilitated and explained open communion and prayer throughout the service, we walk people through our gathering every time.
  • We offer connect cards for folk to put name, prayer requests, and if they would like to be contacted.
  • We’ve scheduled a ten minute coffee break mid-point to move and meet people around you,  Our folk are strongly encouraged to connect with guests and begin to move them from stranger to friend.
  • We facilitate a question/thought-sharing time after the sermon, where we encourage people to ask us to explain something they didn’t understand or always wondered about, followed up with a mid-week Dialogue Circle where anything is open for discussion, though we start off around what was talked about the past Sunday.
  • We strongly encourage folk to invite someone to have lunch with them after church.  This summer we are taking it one step further and have several people hosting planned after church picnics at their homes or parks.  These events are easy on the hosts, because everyone brings their picnic lunch with a little extra for unexpected guests (or those who just forgot to pack a lunch!).

These are but a few things and I hope you will all post here things you do to honor and welcome and include the unexpected guest.

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We have had several lately. One new couple came because they were invited by their waiter in a downtown restaurant, only to show up and the waiter had been unexpectedly called into work that morning and wasn’t even there! I can imagine how uncomfortable it must have been to show up and their host was not there! But they stayed and then came back the next week.  Why?  They knew it was okay to ask questions of the pastor if you didn’t understand what was being said.  They were greeted and spoken to by several people and felt very welcomed and  included, and most revealing, the fellow’s brother is a pastor and they have never been invited to church by him and when they had questions he would just tell them how they should believe but didn’t give them the space to discover why.

Friends, these are the people God has called you and I to welcome with radical hospitality, to wash their feet, to honour.  The alien, the stranger, the left-out-of-the-secret handshake folk.  We should be places of refuge, of shalom where folk are welcomed because they are there.  Not because of how they look, or believe or even don’t believe, but because they are seeking to see Jesus revealed around them in ways that are demonstrated by welcome, by grace, by mercy, by healing and by acceptance.

The hospitality Jesus demonstrated was pre-dominantly other focused.  Is ours?

 

What Could Multiplication Look Like?

by Cailey Morgan

Church planting and church multiplication can mean many things to many people. Over the next months, we plan to highlight several multiplication styles in hopes that we can each consider our own contexts and be spurred towards growth.

Since I have grown up in, and still participate in, a CBWC Church Plant called Southside Community Church, I thought I would share some of the nuts and bolts of how we operate. I’m sharing so that you will be encouraged by our story, and that you will in turn share your way of doing things so we can all learn from each other.

What Could Multiplication Look Like? Example 1: Congregations Comprising Mission Groups

At Southside, the values of life in proximity and multiplication are very important. We believe that all can take part in church planting, and that small multiplication in a place has a big impact.

Burnaby Sign by waferboardWe began in Edmonds, a high-density, high-diversity neighbourhood in South Burnaby in the early 90s with a small group. Each person in that group had opportunities to develop as a leader, so that when the group grew large enough to become two small groups, there were new leaders ready to lead the multiplied groups.

We organize our small groups, called Mission Groups, based on geography of where each member lives. They begin as groups of 6-10, and once they reach 12-16 are readied for multiplication. We are called Mission Groups because, while meeting in a home is often part of what we do, and Bible study is a crucial part of our formation, our groups exist for the purpose of following God on His mission in our neighbourhoods.

This pattern of group multiplication continued until we had several groups in Burnaby, but also a group commuting across the bridge from Surrey. As it became difficult for the people from Surrey to spend time in their own neighbourhoods–since they were constantly joining the Burnaby residents in serving that community–it became clear that it was time to not just multiply small groups, but congregations.

Some families were already living in the North Surrey neighbourhood we planned to multiply into, and other core folks moved from Burnaby across the river to bolster the leadership and development of the new congregation. This cluster of mission groups became the Robson Park Congregation.

In the following years, we repeated the pattern into the Willoughby area of Langley and into Forest Grove, a community in North Burnaby. These two centres operated as distinct congregations for over a decade, but at this point each are acting as a single Mission Group until they are ready to multiply into multiple groups, again forming a congregation.

These days in Edmonds, since so many people in our congregation live within walking distance, sometimes families who live less than a mile from each other end up in different Mission Groups! Most recently, there have been a cluster of young families from our congregation settling into the Uptown area of New Westminster, the city bordering Burnaby to the south. For the past year, all of these people have been in a burgeoning Mission Group together with the Burnaby residents living closest to New West.

burnaby and new west signs CC WakasuiAfter a time of discernment and apprenticeship, a couple from Uptown stepped forward to lead a New Westminster group and we were able to multiply.

Now, this new Uptown group can concentrate on the people God has placed immediately around them in their neighbourhood, while still joining Edmonds to celebrate God’s goodness in our Sunday gatherings.

When my Mission Group multiplied, I said that it felt like “breaking up,” because it’s not easy to leave the comfort of familiar faces. We have grown close to the people we’ve been serving side-by-side with, and it feels strange to not have them there when we gather in homes on Wednesday evenings, or as we prayer walk our streets and parks, or at the BBQ for our neighbour’s birthday.

But rather than separating because a relationship went sour, multiplication is closer to the thrill of seeing your kids move out to start their own families with their spouses. How beautiful that the feet of Jesus are now walking down twice as many streets! Our friends are now free to give and accept hospitality on their block, and there is room for new believers in my living room once again.

There you have it: an overview of what church planting and multiplication means to us at Southside Community Church. But different contexts and leaders lead to different formats. What about you? What does multiplication look like for your congregation? What models have you seen in other churches?

Please email me at cmorgan@cbwc.ca so we can work together on sharing more multiplication methods.

Three Elements of Church Revitalization

By Shannon Youell

I am often asked to talk about “church renewal.” As with many titles or terminologies, this term can be so ambiguous that the meanings are multiple.Recently I was asked with two of my colleagues to do a workshop on Renewal in the Church. The understanding we had of this came out of three areas that had impacted how we think about church and the activities and missions surrounding it.

The first was around context. Where a particular church community is situated can change the dynamics of our lives as both gathered and scattered bodies. Mark Doerksen shared about one of the Heartland churches situated in the heart of farmland. How that church approaches engaging their community can look quite different than an urban church or even an urban church in an economically-depressed area of the city would.

The second was around culture. CBWC world traveler Shelby Gregg shared with us an interesting observation she made while exploring the city of Lisbon in Portugal. She noted that the town itself was a series of concentric circles that formed around church buildings. The church was the focal point of the community development plan because at the time, church was a dominant cultural place of community gatherings. In our post-modern culture here in North America, that is not often the case anymore. Especially in urban centers, the centrality of a church building and the activities found within are no longer the focus of social structures.

I took the group on a story-walk around the neighbourhood and the community around it. Participants in the workshop mapped their own place, some mapping the neighbourhood they lived in, while others did their workplace or church location neighbourhoods. neighbours CC pnwra The purpose of this exercise is to raise awareness in us that we all live and work and shop in the mission field. This is the third area: We are the renewal in our churches. As we share our lives in relationship with those we are surrounded by in our everyday lives, people introduced to living life the Jesus way, and we ourselves find new wonder and joy in seeing how Jesus works in mysterious and amazing ways through us to bring his redeeming, reconciling, restorative hope right here in our neighbourhoods!

Often, we think of renewal in the church as internal changes to programs, to music selections, to small groups. We should continue to reflect on these elements of our culture and context, but systems theory tells us that if we want to change something, changing the system is the wrong way to do it. Systems effectively change when we change our thinking about the things we do. Imposing changes on a system just changes how we approach a particular task, not why we do it in the first place. That was a part of our task at the workshop – to stir up the whys of what we are doing and how effective or ineffective those things may be in differing contexts, cultures and generations. If the why of what we do is to see the kingdom of God advance, then everything we do as gathered and as scattered should reflect that. And since the church is no longer the central community hub in many of our contexts, we will need to rethink how we meet and be salt and light to the world God so loves.

Over the next several blogging articles, I will be sharing with you stories of our CBWC family who are hearing God’s leading into their neighbourhoods and creative ways they are connecting with people beyond their Sunday service gatherings. I would love to hear from you out there in the blog reading galaxy with your stories too! Contact me at syouell@cbwc.ca so we can chat and share with our tribe how you’ve discovered connecting within your context and culture to those where you live, work, play, and pray!

Shannon Youell
CBWC Church Planting Coordinator

5 Good Choices I Made in My First Year of Church Planting

Here’s a guest article from Dan White Jr. He’s got good stuff to say, but do you think anything is missing? Leave a comment and let us know what you think about Dan’s choices. What other priorities should be established when attempting to plant a church?

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By Dan White

It’s been a few years for me since my first year of church planting. Back then, I was coming off 15 years of full-time paid pastoral ministry and was uncertain how to make the transition.

To be honest, I was in some detox from swimming in a plethora of resources, programs, buildings, and titles. I had never learned what ministry looked like “on the cheap.” I had grown accustom to a hearty portion of ministry artillery that I didn’t want to extrapolate over the top of my new context.

I made truck load of mistakes.

But there are at least five choices I made that I would make again and that I would recommend to you.

1. I Got A Day Job

I filled out resumes. I scoured the newspaper. I applied for jobs. I was like a fish out of water after working within the four walls of the church for so long.

My wife and I talked about the financial sacrifices we needed to make. I couldn’t find a job that paid more than $12 an hour.

I did feel some identity crisis when people asked me what I did for a living. Was I still a pastor? What was my status? I struggled with those questions.

I don’t regret working a blue collar job. It only made sense in my blue collar city.

Certainly, the juggling act of planting a church and working a 9 to 5 job is tenuous. That tension pressed me to slow down, equip others and take the long view to building a missional church.

Not to mention, getting a job took a huge financial strain off the back of our nimble church.

I’m still bi-vocational but now my income is split evenly between leading our church and working in our city. Our church has made the executive decision not ever to pay me full-time. That’s not for everyone, but it has been vital to our missional impulse. We’d rather equip and employ more parishioners as we multiply for mission.

I have suspicions that the future of mission in the West may require this from us rather than being optional.

2. I Got Coffee with Local Leaders

As a pastor I thought of my church through a competitive lens. I had a small vision for God’s activity outside my work. I didn’t like that trait in me.

I had heard and read all the statistics about how unchurched my city was. Still, I had intuitions that there were faithful leaders, pastors and parishioners who’ve been in this city plugging away for years for the mission of God. Rather than come in and posture our church as the answer to the cities lostness, I wanted to do my best to lean in and listen. So, I got a thousand cups of coffee.

I stalked long time pastors no matter their creed or color, bought them a cup of coffee, pummeled them with questions and zipped my lips. I met some of the most amazing saints who knew more about the cities context and what it needed than I ever would from my newbie status. I met civil right leaders who informed me of the race relations in our city. I met with long-time activists who had bumps and bruised from pressing into brokenness in our city. I met old-time black preachers who knew every nook and cranny of the cities needs. I met 30-year residents who opened up my eyes to what was budding and beautiful here.

I still pepper my schedule with sitting at the feet of local long-time leaders, and it has transformed my footprint as a church planter.

3. I Got A Community Together

I remember hearing the call to plant, but I had some prerequisites for God. The truth is, I got stubborn with God about one issue.

I felt a little like Jacob fighting with God’s spirit about what I wanted; I was not going to plant a church alone. I wanted to plant with a community of people. I had a lot of other demands on God that I didn’t get but I gratefully got that one.

From day one, my wife and I invited other leaders to surrender their existing plans to participate, contribute and give their lives to this mission. The vision was clear: this was going to be painful, require faithfulness and call us to move into the same neighborhood. In time, we would see something beautiful birthed out of our pain. The Kingdom would sprout up amongst us.

I believe polycentric leadership. Polycentric leadership is a shared approach to leading. It defers to each other’s giftedness. It values the rigorousness of conversation. It is hinged together by covenant and cultivates a rhythm of life together.

As the defacto Apostle, I discipled this team, pouring a ridiculous amount of hours into our formation for community and mission. While I did set the course, our language, energy and expectations moved us incrementally toward sharing leadership. In that disciple-making space we discussed, disagreed, contended and almost gave up.

But we did survive.

To this day, that intensive period superglued us together, making us strong enough to forge the difficult path ahead. I give God the credit for sustaining our church plant, but I’m convinced our church would not be alive if it weren’t for that school of hard knocks where we formed a cluster of servant missional disciples.

4. I Got My Cry On

I’m not a big crier. I’m actually known for being a bit mysterious and measured in my responses. But I cried a ton during that first year.

The emotional ups and downs were like a roller coaster. Very few things went according to plan. People that I counted on were not there when I wanted to count on them. I spoke bold vision into the air, but I miscalculated many times and was humbled by the elements. Money was scarce. People came and went.

I found myself broke open by the constant dashed hopes, but this became fertile space for God’s Spirit. I began to share this and even cry in front of our burgeoning team. I shared my doubts and my uncertainties.

Did this rattle their confidence in me? Well, I found out many felt the same way. We all felt fear and rather than letting it build up under the carpet we brought it out and faced it. I looked weak at times, but God sustained me in those fragile moments.

I needed to cry and give others permission to cry as well. Those tears were a gift. God fortified us as we presented ourselves as we were; weak, uncertain, scared and trying to figure it out. I look back at that time, and I’m grateful the chemistry of our team was not one of merely being producers for a task. Our chemistry was one of a team learning how to be a community.

5. I Got a Rhythm of Life

I’m an organic guy. I love wide open space and spontaneity.

Life, however, is built upon rhythms. In the natural world bees form their honeycombs methodically. Robins put together their nests piece by piece. Planets loop around the sun in a strict cycle. All of these are wild expressions in nature, yet none of them is spontaneous and random. They are exuberant, but they are organized around rhythms.

I lived by anti-rhythms. If our team was going to form a way of life that drew us into each other and drew us into our neighborhood, we needed a pattern. We needed a rhythm that shaped us towards those desires.

Our community needed to move out of the abstract and into some particular patterns we could commit to and apply together. We fashioned daily, weekly, monthly and yearly patterns. The goal was not to reach some level of self-congratulation but rather partnership towards maturing together. We sought a recovery of simplified, sacred, shared-rhythms that molded us.

We are all human so our joy, energy and emotional fortitude towards living as the church ebbs and flows, which makes it paramount to covenant to foundational patterns. We constructed, committed to, and massaged into practice shared rhythms around the table, simple shared rhythms of presence in our city and scaled down rhythms of discipleship.

Years later, these rhythms are at the heartbeat of our church. Not everyone participates full-bodied, but there is always a hot center of people living into them. These lived-rhythms form a gravitational pull for our wider church community.

These are just a few choices I made, a few I’d make again. Don’t worry, there are plenty I wouldn’t want to repeat. Maybe I’ll share those next time.

Dan White Jr. is the leader of a developing network of communities in the urban neighborhoods of Syracuse, NY. You can learn more about Dan on his blog.

5 Things You MUST do BEFORE You Plant a Church

By Lane Corley

“I think I want to start a church one day, where do I start or what should I be doing now?” I get this question a couple of times of month and it’s awesome that so many are interested in church planting these days. Here’s my typical response:

1. Confirm Your Calling.

You can’t just “think” you want to start a church, you need to KNOW that this is what you’re called and cut out by the Holy Spirit to do. The best way to confirm calling is to let others do it with you and for you. There are a variety of sources that offer Church Planting Assessments that start online and move to an interview where experienced church planters can help you confirm your make up & call to plant. Being disgruntled about the church(es) you’re currently attending can be part of a calling, BUT should not be the only part. Planters are shaped by God. Check out my post “You Might Be A Church Planter if…” to see some typical innate qualities of those who plant.

2. Confirm Your Spouse’s Calling.

Your spouse may not be the church planter, but will need to have a sense of calling none the less, b/c so much of the early years of planting a church will encompass your home life. And your call to MARRIAGE, if you are a spouse, will ALWAYS supersede your call to plant a church. If your spouse is not on board, wait!

3. Deal with the Cracks in Your Character.

Church Planting can be like a pressure cooker. The stress and heat of the moments in the beginning of a new church will bring out whatever is in you, good and bad. So, if you’re struggling with addiction, anger, insecurity; church planting will most likely not help you in this struggle. Have a plan that includes accountability, rest, closeness to God, and emergency response by others as you feel pressure rising.

4. Get Equipped.

Read, attend church planting conferences, and seek out at least one good school of church planting or Basic Training. Listening to the podcast of a famous church planter is good, but it’s not the training you need to plant a church in a particular context. That planter is successful because of systems that are in place that you’ll never see just simply by listening to a podcast. Find a workshop type training in your area that will help you plan for evangelizing & discipleship in your context.

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5. Build Your Network.

There are very few “self-made” church planters. To be successful you will need others. Start by seeking out Prayer Partners and do this as soon as possible. Start an E-Newsletter or send personal emails to everyone you know who MIGHT pray for you and be interested in what God’s doing in your life. Let them know what you’re praying about and seek their partnership in prayer. You’ll also need financial partners, on mission partners to be part of your core team, and a network of other planters/coaches/mentors who will advise you along the way.

So, you think you want to start a church?
  • Are you called by God? or by disgruntlement? Desire for fame? or something else?
  • Who is helping you confirm your calling?
  • Is your spouse & family on board?
  • Have you dealt with cracks in your character?
  • Do you have a network?
  • How many prayer partners do you have?

And one BIG honorable mention:

  • Consider being part of a church planting team. Nothing prepares you for planting like experiencing it first hand as a team member. If you’re able, find a new church to become a member of for a year and get to know real life church planting. You can use this time to work on the 5 MUSTS. And maybe that church plant will be a big part of your growing network!

What would you add to this list?

Lane Corley is a Church Planting Strategist for the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Visit his website here for other helpful articles.

What to Look Forward to in 2015

by Cailey Morgan

Happy New Year!

I can tell you that all of us at CBWC Church Planting are anticipating great movement in 2015. We are thrilled to now have a staff presence in each of our 3 regions. We are digging deep into what church planting means and how to offer the best support to our existing church plants, but also equip new planters and help all churches in our CBWC family realize their potential for multiplication.

This excitement will be spilling onto our blog as well. You can look forward to–and participate in–these three new developments:

  1. Book Reviews: In the fall, we launched a book review initiative wherein anyone willing to read and review a book for this blog will receive that book for free. The book reports will be trickling in soon, and will be posted throughout the year as a resource for you.

    By the way: this offer is still open, so email me today (cmorgan@cbwc.ca) to get your book!

  2. Philosophy and Action: Shannon, Joell, Ron and I really are grappling with the philosophy behind church planting and how to best express and live out God’s plan for the growth of His Kingdom through local communities of His people. We’re engaging these issues through the Scriptures as well as seminars and books from people who have gone before us, so you can expect some of our conclusions–and certainly many of our questions–to appear throughout the year.

    Please, please enter these conversations with us! Your input is crucial.

  3. Ministry Photos and Mini-Updates: This element is where we really need your help. It is such an encouragement to see and hear what churches and people are up to in ministry, and I love sharing these types of stories on our blog. However, we don’t know the stories even exist unless you tell us! I’m always accepting photo and/or story submissions, and am even available to help you craft your article if it’s helpful.

Thanks for your readership and participation!

Give me a call (604.420.7646) or email (cmorgan@cbwc.ca) to discuss anything I mentioned here.

Emmaus Community Baptisms

Congratulations Steve and Mike from Emmaus Community Fellowship on your baptisms! Emmaus is a CBWC Church Plant in Vancouver led by Pastor Janet McBeth.

Looks like a cold but blessed day. God bless you as you grow in Him and His strength.

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Pray with Us

Let’s continue to lift of our Church Plants in prayer:prayer-2013-1

  • For an emphasis on the lost and the harvest
  • For sufficient and passionate workers
  • For cultural sensitivity
  • For breakthroughs against the strongholds
  • For a safe environment for suffering people
  • That they might become a house of prayer

Check out our prayer page or share a prayer request with us

This prayer list is from the Christian Reformed Church’s prayer guide.

Transitions

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN GO WEST!

As of October 31, Tom Lavigne completed his time as the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada Director of Church Planting. Read the interview below to find out what he has been learning in the transition process.Tom-Lavigne

We’ll be taking a break from GO WEST! as we revision and work through various changes taking place in the ministry. However, we have other methods of keeping you up-to-date on our church plants and the ministry itself. Read the “Staying Connected” article for tips on keeping in touch with us throughout the adjustments.

Stay Connected

In this time of transition, we’ll be working out a number of changes in the Church Planting office in order to best serve the CBWC constituency. Therefore, this will be the last issue of GO WEST! for the time being, but there are plenty of other ways to stay connected.

  • We will continue to share stories and prayer requests on the Church Planting Blog: churchplantingatcbwc.wordpress.com. Subscribe to the feed by clicking here, or visit the blog and click the “Follow” button on the bottom of your browser window. By entering your email address, you’ll have all the Church Planting new sent right to your inbox.
  • All our blog entries are also posted on the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada Facebook page for easy access.
  • We’ll continue to share stories as well through the CBWC’s wider monthly enewsletter Making Connections. Subscribe today.

And, Cailey will still be available to connect via email: cmorgan@cbwc.ca, or at 604.420.7646. Thanks for being willing to stick with us amidst the adjustments!

Final Thoughts from Tom

GO WEST!: At the last leadership forum in Vancouver, we discussed how ministry brings with it all kinds of transitions. As you are in a transitional phase yourself, what advice can you offer others in a similar circumstance?

Tom: The initial thoughts are that we should be expecting transition to be an ongoing part of ministry. While some people hope that change never happens—it seems to be an inevitable part of ministry. Any advice I would give would be along the lines of staying especially close and sensitive to how God is leading, have lots of healthy communication with family, close friends and mentors. Also, the realization that while change or transition catches some of us by surprise; God is not sitting on the sidelines in a state of shock, so we can trust that He is very involved in the process, loves us deeply and has the best in store for us.

GW: What have you learned about yourself in the process?

Tom: I’m learning to be less fearful of what others think and more concerned with being obedient to God. It’s most important to please God in His process and timing than others and myself in our own plans and agendas.

GW: What are some of your fondest memories of your time as Director of Church Planting?

Wow, so many amazing things have happened over the past four years.

  • I’m very appreciative for the opportunity given me by Jeremy Bell, Jan Paasuke and the Staff and Board to come into the role with a lot of freedom and resources to help shape the Church Planting ministry in the CBWC.
  • Being a part of the stories of the lives of our Church Planters, their families and teams as they struggle, pray and wrestle through what it means to be a church family has been a huge blessing.
  • Parties at launches of new churches, baptisms of new believers, and seeing the “aha” moments in the faces of Church Planters when they realize that yes, God is indeed in this ministry.
  • Getting to work alongside a passionate staff team who do so much more than they ever get paid for and yet deliver amazing results time after time.

GW: Tell us something we didn’t know about you.

Tom: I’m an introvert in an extrovert’s clothing…but don’t tell anyone.

GW: What excites you as you look ahead? Any plans? Any ideas about where God might want you next?

What excites me looking ahead are the incredible opportunities that God has in store for each of us—as I look around I see God at work in so many people and places and I’m amazed at His goodness in allowing us to be a part of His great story. The only plans I have are to take a bit of time off (November/December) visiting with family and friends and taking some personal retreat and reflection time. I’m not sure where God would have us next—if you hear anything please let me know!