New Wineskins

Every generation needs new churches (new wineskins) to connect with the next generations. That is why DOVE International began in 1980. At that time, my wife, LaVerne, and I loved Jesus and spent hours each day loving kids who hung out at our house. After a few years of trying to fit these young believers into the churches in our community and not being successful, the Lord opened our hearts to the possibility of starting something new. In 1980, we started a Sunday morning service with twenty-five people in a home in our community. Ten years later, the church had grown to include 2,300 people; now more than 620 churches in twenty-two nations. I am so glad we took this step of faith.

 

People everywhere and of every age need Jesus. Others may know Jesus but are having a difficult time relating to an established church. It could be for various reasons. Some people have had hurtful experiences, which hinder their ability to trust the leadership of the church. Some do not like structured services or the formality of it. Some people find it overwhelming to attend gatherings among a group of strangers. Many people find it difficult to build relationships with others within large congregations. Some people are simply unmotivated to get up Sunday mornings and attend church services. Whatever the reason, a large segment of the population is unchurched. And every person needs to experience Christian community in a local church.

 

I believe that starting new communities of faith is one of our Lord’s top priorities. He said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). If the Lord has called you to plant a new church, begin now to prepare for this new adventure. Pray and ask God for His timing to share your vision with your present church leadership. Remember, how you start is so important. Your present church leadership can help you start something new with a right spirit and in the proper timing. God bless you as you take steps ahead!

Larry Kreider serves as International Director of DOVE International and LaVerne is a member of the International Apostolic Council of DOVE. Larry and LaVerne have served together in Christian ministry and leadership for over 45 years. DOVE, a worldwide family of churches and ministries, has successfully used the New Testament “house to house” strategy of building the church with small groups for more than three decades.

Why Should We Plant More Churches? – Post 4

Church planting provides more options for the unchurched

As long as there are unsaved people in our communities who are not being reached, there is a need for new churches. New churches provide more options for the unchurched. They are a key to outreach and generally grow better than old ones. It is easier to have a baby than to raise the dead. This is not to say that existing churches are dead. It is to point out that the maternity ward is the most exciting place in a hospital!

 

History shows a link between church planting and revival

Each of the apostles was involved in church planting in various countries. In the year 422, a man called Patrick had a vision for Ireland. In less than 30 years, he baptized over 100,000 converts and planted scores of churches. He became known as “the man who found Ireland all heathen and left it all Christian.”

John Wesley and George Whitfield were both great men of God. George Whitfield was by far the greater orator and drew the larger crowds. John Wesley is by far the most remembered because he used the strategy of church planting which resulted in the Methodist movement. William Booth and the Salvation Army became a powerful force because of church planting. Most major evangelical denominations we have today can trace their beginnings to a revival which manifested itself through church planting. In 1910, a man called John G. Lake went to South Africa. In five years he helped plant 625 churches. In South America today, entire nations are experiencing revival and it is directly proportional to church planting. In Australia today, the Assemblies of God can attribute much of its growth to the fact that a new church is being planted every 6 days.

 

New churches are fresh and hungry for growth

Many established churches have settled down into what they consider to be comfortable and the effort to reach out to new people slows down dramatically. In America today, 80- 85% of churches are getting smaller, rather than growing. New churches are much more zealous for souls, for growth and for the integration of new people. Statistics show that new churches are 30 times more effective in adding people into God’s Kingdom than established older churches.

 

Conclusion

Church planting cannot be an option—it has to be at the center of our mission. It is God’s method of bringing in the harvest. We must understand that we have been given the power to tangibly advance God’s kingdom. We must confidently proclaim the need and God’s heart to plant new churches.

 

Portions Edited from “Pathways to Church Planting” DOVE USA Church Planting Manual

Compiled by Brian Sauder

Brian Sauder currently serves on the International Apostolic Council of DOVE and directs the DOVE Training Schools. He and his wife Janet help to provide oversight and direction for DOVE churches in CanadaUSA and South Africa. Brian and Janet have over 25 years of experience in leadership of churches, small groups, youth groups, government and business.

Why Should We Plant More Churches? – Post 3

Not all churches are supposed to be mega-churches

A German church growth researcher, Christian Schwarz, reported the results of his research on church growth. He showed that statistically small churches are 16 times more effective at winning new members than mega-churches. For example, two churches of 200 generally win twice as many people for Jesus as a single 400 member church. Let’s not be mesmerized by thinking every church is to have thousands of people. Maybe some churches are to grow to around two hundred people (addition) and then start planting churches (multiplication).

 

Church planting is the only way to fulfill the Great Commission

Conversions alone will not fulfill the Great Commission. Matthew 28:18-20 is very specific about teaching, baptizing and making disciples. This is church activity: teaching, baptizing and making disciples. We cannot effectively make disciples and teach them the commands of Christ outside a local church setting.

For example, an evangelistic campaign declares the gospel. It brings people to a place of decision, but it doesn’t fully teach them all the things that Jesus commanded us. When properly understood we see that the Great Commission is specifically a commission about church planting. Church planting challenges our spiritual children to reach a new level of maturity and leadership as they are discipled.

 

Church planting reaches Christians who are currently not in churches

In almost any community in the western world, there are Christians who are not growing in their spiritual lives and who are not contributing to the kingdom of God. These believers feel as though they do not fit into the present churches in their community. What they really need is a new church where they can feel at home. A new church provides an entry point for people. They don’t have to break into an already established group.

 

To Be Continued next week…

Portions Edited from “Pathways to Church Planting” DOVE USA Church Planting Manual

Compiled by Brian Sauder

Brian Sauder currently serves on the International Apostolic Council of DOVE and directs the DOVE Training Schools. He and his wife Janet help to provide oversight and direction for DOVE churches in CanadaUSA and South Africa. Brian and Janet have over 25 years of experience in leadership of churches, small groups, youth groups, government and business.

Why Should We Plant More Churches? – Post 2

Church planting prevents church splits

Could it be that one of the reasons that churches split is because the next generation of leaders is not released and sent out to establish its own churches? Insecure spiritual leaders frustrate developing leaders by not releasing them. What if the new church plant grew to be larger than the sending church? Frustrated by a glass ceiling, sometimes young leaders eventually leave disgruntled and take people with them.

When you send out a new cell leader, you are not always sure that he will be ready. It will sometimes be like this for church planters. In fact, they might not be ready, but the challenge of the church plant might be the very thing that will develop them to the next level of leadership. Remember, someone took a chance on us!

 

Church planting is efficient

Peter Wagner states, “There is no more practical or cost-effective way of bringing unbelievers to Christ in a given geographic area than planting new churches.” This statement is the result of extensive research and analysis of church growth. Church planting provides the infrastructure to support and maintain the fruit that is coming forth. Teaching the biblical financial principles of tithing and giving provides the substance to support the new church as it grows.

 

Church planting stimulates existing churches

A new church in an area tends to raise the spiritual interest of the people, and handled correctly, it can be a benefit to existing churches. Any new church that truly has the heart to reach a targeted community will want all the churches in the community to be blessed, prosperous and overflowing. Some of the new converts from church planting evangelism will go to the existing churches because they already have relationships there.

To Be Continued next week…

Portions Edited from “Pathways to Church Planting” DOVE USA Church Planting Manual

Compiled by Brian Sauder

Brian Sauder currently serves on the International Apostolic Council of DOVE and directs the DOVE Training Schools. He and his wife Janet help to provide oversight and direction for DOVE churches in CanadaUSA and South Africa. Brian and Janet have over 25 years of experience in leadership of churches, small groups, youth groups, government and business.

Why Should We Plant More Churches ? – Post 1

Why Should We Plant More Churches?

Small Groups multiply so churches should multiply

Anything that is healthy and possesses life is created with an ability to reproduce and multiply. Obviously, the examples in nature are endless (Genesis 1:28). In John 17:4, Jesus said He had completed the work that the Father gave Him to do. The Father has a similar work for each believer, each cell group and each local church. Each should multiply. A healthy cell group will grow and multiply into two cell groups. The same would then be true for a healthy local church. It will reproduce and plant other churches.

Church planting is the New Testament pattern

The New Testament church was a church planting movement. In Acts 2:37-47 the Jerusalem church was planted. In Acts 8:1-25 the Samaritan church was birthed. In Acts 9:20-22, the Damascus church came to life. Acts 9:31 reports churches throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria. In Acts 19:9, we find out about a church planting school Paul ran in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. And the list goes on—Joppa, Caesarea, Antioch—the book of Acts reads like a church planting manual.

Church planting develops new leadership

Churchplanting provides the opportunity for new and young leaders to stretch their wings and fly. We use the example of parents owning a house with different rooms. As they have children, each child may have a different room in the house to call their own bedroom. But there will come a time when just a room in their parent’s house is not enough. They will want their own house. Healthy parents will release their children to get their own place. It will be a stretching, learning experience for the children. Church planting allows our spiritual children to reach a new level of maturity they won’t reach if they continue to live in our house.

To Be Continued next week…

 

Portions Edited from “Pathways to Church Planting” DOVE USA Church Planting Manual

Compiled by Brian Sauder

Brian Sauder currently serves on the International Apostolic Council of DOVE and directs the DOVE Training Schools. He and his wife Janet help to provide oversight and direction for DOVE churches in CanadaUSA and South Africa. Brian and Janet have over 25 years of experience in leadership of churches, small groups, youth groups, government and business.

Practical Vision Development – Part I

Practical Vision Development – Part I

 

Vision. Every advance of the gospel is first a vision in the mind and heart of one person. “Israel’s leaders took charge, and the people gladly followed. Praise the LORD!” is stated in Judges 5:2. However if the vision is to be gladly followed, it must be shared and owned by others. Most believers find direction for their lives by embracing a vision that God has given to someone else. In the end it doesn’t matter who had the original vision, because it is jointly owned by all.

How does vision become practical and strategic? This is an article about how a church planting vision moves beyond an idea in the planter’s heart and becomes practical and strategic. Nehemiah wrote in detail how he received the vision and how he put it into practical, programmatic action. If it is not practical and strategic others will become frustrated and find it hard to support the vision, even if the planter is a gifted leader. Tell someone to do something without giving them the tools to do it, and they will end up defeated and frustrated. For example, tell Christians they should evangelize without giving them a practical tool to do it…it defeats them. They already feel bad for not evangelizing.

 

Write the vision statement down first. The practical strategy will come later. Make it plain and simple. So that whomever reads it can get on board and run with it. Although you might have a ton of impactful ideas about all that can be outworked from the vision, the actual statement must be written in one sentence…and easily understood. Don’t confuse call and vision. Call is one a one-time thing…”I am called to plant a church”. Vision is specific and distinctive to your church plant. What terminology that is used is important. New terms are good and help to frame an idea. Give people a challenge. Why? Because people respond to a challenge!

 

Next the vision has to be tested. Step out in faith as God opens doors and begin to test whether the vision has God’s blessing. It must be bigger than you. Test the vision privately with peers. This gets the self out of it. Vision must meet a human need for others to rally to it. It must help people. Compassion gets people on board. So developing the “why” of the vision is essential.

 

Pray and fast for the process. Nehemiah sat down and was moved by the need. He wept and fasted. Every vision is both supernatural and natural. We plan the natural part and pray for God to do the supernatural part. For Nehemiah, he led and planned for the people to build the wall in natural and it led to spiritual revival among the children of Israel. Since Nehemiah is the last chronological book in the Old Testament that means the Old Testament closes with revival because of his efforts.

 

Next get an accurate starting point for your vision. Nehemiah inspected the wall himself. He surveyed the need personally to be sure he had an accurate assessment. Realistic assessment is essential for eventual success. In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins says knowing “the cold, hard facts” is crucial to success, even the ones that are not favorable. If you want to fly from London to New York you need to know where you are located to begin your flight. If think you are in London but you are really in Johannesburg, you will end up in Rio de Janeiro instead of New York. Do your study, research and reflection.

 

In part II we will look at developing a plan.

Brian Sauder

Brian Sauder currently serves on the International Apostolic Council of DOVE and directs the DOVE Training Schools. He and his wife Janet help to provide oversight and direction for DOVE churches in CanadaUSA and South Africa. Brian and Janet have over 25 years of experience in leadership of churches, small groups, youth groups, government and business.

Praying and Worshipping Together

Praying and Worshipping Together

Praying together allows us to hear what each other has faith for. It allows each of us to have a picture of each other’s relationship with the Lord, spiritual gifts and revelation. At the time of this writing, I will soon fly to be with pastors for the single purpose of doing a prayer retreat together. 

We will cry out, listen, worship Jesus, dream together, intercede for one another, seek God’s heart and plans, do prophetic hot seats and more. Our faith will be built and we expect to receive a clear direction for the next season that God has for us and our lives and our churches. This time is dear to my heart as I know the fresh life that can come out of extended times together in prayer and worship.

All in all, we expect to grow closer to God and each other. We expect to know how to carry each other in prayer going into the next season. We will learn what each of us is having faith for and what our concerns are. And most important God will build His word in our midst and we will have clarity about what He is saying for each individual, each ministry, and the broader ministry.

I truly am excited. It takes some intentional planning but it is well worth it. It is life-giving and refreshing. If you don’t have times scheduled to pray together with your church plant and your teams, I encourage you to make it a regular occurrence.

Merle Shenk serves on the DOVE International apostolic council and is the associate pastor of Newport Church

 

 

Why Plant New Churches?

Why Plant New Churches

 

Tim Keller, who for many years pastored Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York once wrote; “The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for 1) the numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and 2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. 

Nothing else—not crusades, outreach programs, para-church ministries, growing mega-churches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes—will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting.” I completely agree.

 

The planting of new churches is the best way to reach new generations, new residents and new people groups. In fact, younger adults have always been disproportionately found in newer congregations. Let’s get about our heavenly father’s business and encourage planting new churches; new wineskins for the new wine of our generation!

  • Larry Kreider

Larry Kreider serves as International Director of DOVE International 

Questions I wish I knew to ask

Questions that I wish I knew to ask.

Recently I was asked to speak about church planting. As I sat down to put my thoughts on the computer, I was taken back on my own journey. I remember when well-respected senior leaders on several occasions asked me how they could help me. I remember being bewildered because I did not how to answer that question. If I knew what I needed, I was fairly certain that I could get it. However, my problem was that I did not know, what I did not know! I knew I needed help, but I did not know what I needed! 

As I began putting my thoughts on the computer, I started to write out questions that I wish that I would have known to ask. Someone once said that the key to success is knowing the right questions to ask. Here is a list of questions that can be helpful in the discovery process of planting churches.

Click on this link to download these powerful questions:

Church Planting Questionnaire

  • Merle Shenk 

Merle Shenk serves on the DOVE International apostolic council and is the associate pastor of Newport Church.

 

Locating, Growing and Incorporating Intercessors for Your Ministry

Locating, Growing and Incorporating Intercessors for Your Ministry

 

Incorporating those who pray over you and your vision for church planting seems like a no brainer. But how do you identify these persons and better yet, how do you keep them praying?

When asking someone to pray for you concerning a specific mission, often the response is to receive a yawn, then a look in another direction and finally a nonchalant response like, “Uh, yeah, ok.”

 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. My wife and I were on the lookout for a small band of persons who loved us, loved what we were called to and wanted to know more about that call. It was also advantageous for them to have a heart to pray for us. We watched and waited and soon discovered there were such persons in our lives. We approached them with the question, “Hey, we really appreciate your personal interest, your questions about what we’re doing and your heart to even mention praying for us, would you be interested in joining a team of intercessors?”

 

You have identified them and you approach them. Rarely have we had someone approach us. Most persons do not even think in those terms, but when you define the prayer ministry description and how you will not inundate them with daily email, they normally respond with a resounding yes. We ask for a one-year commitment only. At the end of each year, we approach them and ask if they would like to continue to serve in the intercessory role for another year.

 

Obviously this person loves to pray as well. You know they have a committed relationship to God and are mature enough to not be seeking information about your personal life, but rather long for you and your vision to succeed. These are persons whom you have not just met at a first time gathering, but are persons who you have a track record with and you’re aware of their faithful heart.

 

We will email prayer requests that are both personal and ministry oriented. We have that level of confidence in our team. Speaking of confidence, we ask that everything we share remain confidential – between them and their heavenly Father only. Normally we email them twice a month with a brief as possible prayer update. Please note, these email prayer requests, updates and praises need to be consistent from you to them or you will send the message that the intercessors are an afterthought.

 

We tell our intercessors that we are not looking for return email unless Holy Sprit speaks something to them and they are compelled to respond with a scripture, a prophetic word or an encouragement. Otherwise we have no expectation of ongoing email conversation.

 

Some persons we know meet face-to-face with their team, but our team is spread all over the USA and that simply is not possible. When we can, we will meet individually with members. We also pray for them and regularly thank them for voluntarily being a part of the ministry. And, at Christmas time we’ll remember them with a card of thanks and sometimes a gift.

 

All in all, we take confidence in the Father calling these persons to us, having developed a heart for prayer and we find reassurance through the protection in offensive and defensive personal prayer for our travel, our speaking and our oversight ministry. You can enjoy this same reassurance in the Spirit with a team of intercessors. Start with one committed person and grow a team from there. You’ll immediately be aware of the benefits.

  • Steve Prokopchak

 

Steve serves full-time as a pastoral overseer at DOVE Christian Fellowship International, a ministry which takes him all over the globe teaching, training, and supporting church leaders.