By Hiram Rester, Pastor of the South Tacoma Adventist Fellowship
The South Tacoma Adventist Fellowship celebrated 30 precious souls making decisions for baptism, rebaptism and profession of faith in 2015. A major part of that was a series this past fall. In the course of that series and immediately following it, 24 people made decisions. People have a personal Restart at baptism. Churches can have Restarts too.
About two years ago, South Tacoma Adventist Fellowship (formerly the Tacoma Southside church) entered a pilot program for the Washington Conference called Restart. The church had been in decline for several years. The churches attendance and financial resources had dwindled to only a fraction of what they had been in the “glory years” of the past.
The Tacoma Southside church was among the 80% of churches in America that are either plateaued or declining.
Church growth experts inside and outside of Adventism tell us that it takes 8 -10 years for a pastor to lead a church in a turn-a-round. The visionary administration of the Washington Conference believed that if a church was ready, and if a pastor had a unique set of spiritual gifts, that the Lord could lead a church to return to revival and vibrancy much quicker. They began to develop the “Restart” program.
It is like a “church plant” in an existing location with the same group of people. The church returns to a church structure much like Continue reading
A new church plant has begun in the Salem-Keizer-Woodburn, Oregon area. The Vivid Adventist Church initiative hopes to reach millennials and young adults through a multi-ethnic church plant. There are no other English-speaking Adventist congregations in Keizer, and with several universities and colleges nearby, Vivid looks to be an ideal centrally located plant. Together with lead pastor, Samuel Moreno, a core leadership team of church members from all three cities have been meeting since August of 2015, planning, praying and preparing for a launch date in the spring of 2016. The first open house was on Feb. 6 at the Woodburn Spanish Church which welcomed 115 guests and offered the opportunity for anyone looking for a church family to attend and sample what Vivid is all about. They hope to officially launch on Easter weekend in March 2016.
We now have an active ministry on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Oregon, complete with an inspiring Sabbath morning worship service designed especially for them. If you know of any students at UO, you can direct them to contact Pastor Randy Ban (info below), or contact Randy yourself with the student’s information and the church will be happy to follow up on the names.
www.storylineadventist.org (Website is still under construction, but it will show times and location.)
At Exponential, we recognize the unique needs of church planters. Whether you are leading a church, recruiting and training church planters or creating church planting movements, it seems you always need more time, better content, more expertise and the support of a team. So we’ve done the hard “stuff” — offering excellent events, learning experiences, cool tools and tons of free resources for teams, planters and church planting networks. On the next few pages, you’ll find some details on Exponential’s resources and ideas about how you can start using them. So go ahead, we give you permission. Share our stuff!
Click Here to Download the Exponential VIP Portfolio
Edwin Vargas, pastor and church planter, Portland, OR
Source – Best Practices for Adventist Ministry
I am pastoring a church plant in under-churched Portland, Oregon. Here are three things I learned in my first year.
1. We bring assumptions, DNA and personal definitions.
“Pastor, I had never experienced our mission till I saw my co-worker responding to a baptism call.” It had been 7 months since this 27 year old, 2nd generation PK Adventist, had been a part of the church plant’s core and she was finally understanding the mission. I’m learning that pastors and members bring to church plants 3 things: assumptions, DNA and personal definitions. Being aware of our assumptions can help us understand each other better and facilitate mission. Each one of us brings to the church plant a portion of our previous church DNA. Some of that DNA may be good to perpetuate while some can be harmful to keep around. It is important to identify what to keep and what to get rid of right now. Success, sacrifice, and excellence can be described in very personal, different ways. I’m learning that the more specific we are about our definitions the more accurate we are in setting goals.
2. Collaboration leads to multiplication
Instead of looking at the church we rent from as landlords or rivals, we see them as partners in ministry. The Discovery Church and their pastor Dan Snavely have been instrumental in helping our church plant grow. They believe that by helping our church plant they’re investing in God’s Kingdom. In the last few months we’ve had 10 baptisms-most of them young adults committing their lives to Christ. Our collaboration has led to multiplication from averaging 30 in attendance to almost 100 in the last few weeks.
3. Excellence is a good core value – for most
As I visited this 25 year old guy I noticed his tattoos. There was also a big smile on his face as he told me, “I have been overwhelmed with the desire to raise my voice and praise Jesus. I’m counting the days to next Sabbath”. But I heard another view from an Adventist brother: “The service is a show.” It almost seemed that the excellence in music, lights and graphics made it a show. Clearly, two people can participate of the same service and experience different things. Yet excellence was a core value in the Old Testament sanctuary and the temple. If everything exalts Christ and presents the Gospel, it should be excellent. Even if some don’t think so.
“Now give me this hill country that the LORD promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the LORD helping me, I will drive them out just as he said” (Joshua 14:12, NIV). With these words, Caleb asked Joshua the opportunity to possess a new territory, even though, it was a difficult one. In the same way, a group of believers from the Spanish Churches of Kennewick and Pasco decided to possess a new territory. That Territory is the city of Richland with its neighbor cities, in the State of Washington.
This year, the new company planned to have three evangelistic campaigns. Two of these three evangelistic campaigns were held in a conference room in the Red Lion Hotel in the city of Richland. As a result of these evangelistic cycles, we had baptized 3 people. After the first cycle of evangelistic effort, we started having some difficulties with the place of meeting. The conference room in the Red Lion Hotel was not always available, so, the new company began their journey from place to place.
During the last campaign, the company put emphasis on prayer. So, every day the company prayed to find a comfortable place to worship, to serve to children, teenagers, and adults, was an everyday motive of prayer.
Interestingly enough, after the Continue reading
The North Pacific Union is hosting the SEEDS Northwest in Auburn, WA, May 9-12, 2012. Bill McClendon, the new Vice President for Evangelism of the Washington Conference is organizing this thrilling event. This is going to be a special opportunity for church planters to hone their skills, learn and network with likeminded church planters. Please look at the brochure attached and promote this event with your pastors. For more information please contact Bill directly at 253-681-6008 or email Bill.McClendon@wc.npuc.org.
Sunday evening Shane and Amy’s small group laid hands on Shane and pleaded with God to give him a different job. He worked as a sales representative for Pepsi, but delivering those cases of pop was killing his already-bad shoulders. He was their top salesperson, winning yearly awards for sales, etc. But Shane just couldn’t continue—and yet he didn’t know what else to do.
He had a family to support and couldn’t afford to be off work. For Shane, the love and support of his small group that evening were a gift.
The next day when Shane arrived at work at 5:00 a.m., his boss called him into the office and fired him. Although a bit confused as to why the company would fire a longtime, model employee, he walked out with a smile on his face, thinking, I wonder what God is up to? Getting Shane to that place of comfort in the midst of the storm was quite a journey.
It all started in the spring of 1998. I received a call from the Rocky Mountain Conference to do something I was very passionate about for nearly six years: to plant a church in northern Colorado with an evangelistic approach. It was an opportunity to see if what I said either worked or didn’t work.
I had been on the development team of two other church plants, and as a kid was baptized in a church plant. But I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Church planting turned out to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done READ MORE
by Milton Adams, Florida Conference
Is the Adventist denomination ready for house churches?
The idea came one day when I read, “Please give my greetings to the church that meets in their home” (Romans 16:5). Though I had read this verse numerous times it had never clicked – probably because of a tendency to make Scripture fit into my existing church paradigm. This time it hit home. The result: my wife and I started a church in our home. We call it Simple Church. This house church will never grow up and become a “real” church. It will continue to meet in our home and we hope that it will grow into house church network across North America. About our house church:
- We have been meeting for nine months. Our conference administration is supportive and we have seen God’s blessings.
- Average weekly attendance per location; 27, about 15 adults and 12 children
- 33% of the adults are unchurched, and 65% of these return.
- 2 additional Simple Churches have grown from ours, for a total attendance of 60.
- 6 people are training to start church in their own homes, and we have many lay people and seminary students interested in the training.
- 6 people have been baptized and others are preparing to be.
- We’ve received approximately $43,000 in tithe and offerings. Since there are no church mortgages, building funds, building maintenance, Bible workers, etc., our offerings help people in real, practical ways.
- Concerns about our Simple Church concept are typically these:
- What happens to tithe? It goes to the local conference.
- How are Simple Churches connected to the Adventist world church? The same as other churches: we support conference sponsored events, use Adventist publications, and support Adventist education.
- How does Simple Church maintain doctrinal purity? In Simple Church we build in accountability. Leaders make commitments to raise up a house church each year, lead a weekly one-on-one Bible study, attend leader’s meetings, quarterly gatherings, and conduct yearly harvest events.
- Why do we need more churches when we cannot fill up and support the ones we have? The answer might be found in the question.
There it is. Let’s talk. I’d like to start a discussion with you about the pros and cons of developing an Adventist house church network. Do you think house churches will work in Adventism? Join me at the Night Owl Café weblog and express your opinion.
For more information, visit www.SimpleChurchInfo.com, e-mail Milton, or call him at (937 602-6727).