Archive for the Church Planting Category

Waypoint Begins Planting Church in Frederick, MD

Posted in Church Planting on December 1, 2016 by Waypoint Church Partners

dsc_0239As a kid, when Michael Bartlett walked into church for the first time, he had no idea that it would change his life forever. It was a brand-new church called New Life in Chantilly, Virginia. There was a celebration that day as New Life prepared to send their former worship minister to work with another new church in Virginia Beach called Forefront Church.

Over the next few years, Michael was baptized, started leading the youth group, and felt a call to ministry that led him to Milligan College and the dream of one day planting a new church to seek the lost in the DC/Baltimore area. That dream now has a name and a location: Michael and his wife, Rae, along with their beautiful daughter, Elise, are planting Collective Church in Frederick, MD.

Frederick is a rapidly growing city in western Maryland. Full of history, art, and culture, Frederick has attracted the third largest percentage of millennials in the state. It is a perfect fit for the Bartletts, who want to introduce young adults to Jesus so that He will impact their major life decisions on marriage, kids and starting careers.

The Bartletts and three other families who moved to the Frederick area to help them are focusing on showing their neighbors that Jesus is a loving God who freely offers grace and forgiveness. Collective Church is launching small groups now and is working toward a fall 2017 launch date.

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Collective Church is a “Church for the Rest of Us” designed for those who walked away from God a long time ago, those who have never been introduced to God, or those who are struggling to get connected in the Frederick community.

For more information about Collective Church, to support the project, or to connect with Michael, head over to http://www.mycollective.church, or find them on Facebook and Instagram at: MyCollectiveChurch.

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Ethnic ICOM Project Announced for Columbia Heights in Washington, DC

Posted in Church Planting, ICOM on August 25, 2015 by Waypoint Church Partners

Washington DC Columbia Heights Map-02The VEF is happy to announce the ICOM church plant to be based in Washington, DC in the Columbia Heights area, near the National Zoo. The VEF is collaborating with New Life Christian Church, a VEF church plant, along with Passion4Planting to plant an ethnically diverse church in the Northwest neighborhood of Washington, DC. The goal of this ethnic project is to reach primarily second-generation Latinos. Second-generation Latinos (known as 2.0s) were typically born in the States to parents who immigrated from Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America.

An Urban Institute study of the District of Columbia revealed that neighborhoods with significant Latino populations are mostly clustered in the Columbia Heights area of the District. Demographics indicate that well over one third of the population in this region is of  Latino descent.

A recent VEF church plant, Restore Christian Church in Silver Spring, launched in October 2012 and is just a couple of subway stops north on the Red Line. Prior to Restore Church’s launch just three years ago, there was no presence of the Christian Church and Church of Christ inside the Capital Beltway. This new ethnic project will give us our second and counting! Additional funding partners are being gathered to help fully resource the project.

Lead Planter Joel Pazmino was born and raised in Guayaquil, Ecuador.  Joel’s father left his job in the banking field to plant a church there when Joel was 17 years old. Later, Joel’s father came to the U.S. to plant another church for Spanish-speaking “Latino 1.0s” in the Baltimore area.

JJoel3 copyoel and his wife, Meghan, already reside in Columbia Heights. He will commute to New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA over the next year as part of his residency with Passion4Planting and a cohort of four other church planters preparing to plant new churches throughout the region. Meghan, a teacher, will be teaching this fall at Ross Elementary School, just four blocks from DuPont Circle in Washington, DC.

Joel recently served as Director of Spiritual Formation and Community Life at Centerpoint Church in Annapolis, MD where he and Meghan met. Joel holds a B.S. in International Business from Strayer University and completed coursework for his M.Div. from Bethel Seminary. Joel and Meghan successfully completed a Church Planter Assessment Center in November 2014. For the past 18 months, Joel has been a participant in the DC church planters’ coaching group led by Brett Andrews, the lead guy at New Life Christian Church.

Joel loves to run. He is naturally a huge soccer fan, supporting F.C. Barcelona and more locally, DC United. He’s also an avid Baltimore Ravens fan. Meghan graduated from the University of Maryland and is a big Terrapins fan. She loves cooking, baking and gardening, They have a three-year-old goldfish called “The Captain” who never stops eating.

To support Joel and Meghan as they prepare to plant a church in the heart of DC, e-mail them at joel.pazmino@gmail.com. You can also like their Facebook page and follow their progress at:
http://www.facebook.com/DCChurchPlant

This article first appeared in the VEF Quarterly: Summer 2015 edition. To sign up for future issues of the VEF Quarterly, e-mail Rachel Woolard at rachel@vef.cc!

Belarus: Planting a Church in “White Russia”

Posted in Church Planting, ICOM on August 6, 2015 by Waypoint Church Partners

belarus_family copyBelarus (literally “White Russia”) in Eastern Europe is a country most people could not find on a world map. But God is very much aware of the 10 million people living there. God is doing a special work in this land with young, often marginalized, evangelicals who are catalyzing a new movement of churches bringing faith, hope and new life to their communities.

Since becoming independent in 1991, Belarus has been reforging its own identity, emerging from the shadow of Russia – its largest neighbor and brother to the east. Unlike other former Soviet countries, Belarus retained much of its strong, centralized form of government while pursuing modest economic reforms. Much of the recent growth is due to government sponsored initiatives.

In Belarus, like in most of our world, over 70% of the people live in urban centers. Minsk, home to 2.3 million people, is the geographical, political, economic, and cultural heart of the country. Evangelical groups rep-resent slightly more than 1% of the population. They are distrusted and marginalized as cults by the Orthodox church and the government. The Voice of The Martyrs lists Belarus as a country hostile towards evangelical churches.

Even in this hostile climate, the evangelical church in Belarus and Minsk in particular has experienced a season of relative peace and growth. Although atheism and Russian Orthodoxy are still the predominant views, evangelical groups are stepping up to the challenge of planting new churches.

Impact Ministry Group and Impact Europe (formerly Global Missionary Ministries) have partnered to establish four of the six evangelical churches in Minsk. Now, under the catalytic leadership of Dmitry Lazuta, a new movement of churches is rising up with young leaders ready to take risks to reach their countrymen for Christ.

Dmitry Mamoyko is one of these leaders. He has planted a “Next Gen” church within the walls of an existing church, and this young congregation is ready to be fully birthed on its own. They are clearing and breaking ground in a residential area of Minsk to build their own worship center and meeting place.

Virginia Churches through ICOM are partnering with Impact Europe to launch this new church in a new building. There is a bright future for the church as God raises up young believers through new churches to shine the light of Jesus in White Russia.

About the Author: Scott LaRue is the new director of Impact Europe, a division of Impact Ministry Group (IMG), affiliated with Russian Outreach Network.

This article was originally published in the VEF Quarterly: Spring 2015 edition. If you would like to receive future printed editions of the VEF Quarterly, please send your name and mailing address to rachel@vef.cc

Old Church, New Design

Posted in Church Planting, General Advice on September 17, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

openingdayOn September 7th, Forefront Christian Church in Virginia Beach, VA proudly opened the doors to their brand new building. Well, it was at least new to them.

You see, the church building was originally built in 1999 for an Episcopal church. And here’s my favorite part of the story: When Forefront was tearing down the walls to start their reconstruction, they actually found writing inside the walls from volunteers from the community who had helped construct the building originally. Amazingly, they found the names of several volunteers from Forefront Christian Church who had come out to serve the community 15 years ago! Little did those Forefronters know, they were actually helping to build the future home of Forefront itself. And if that doesn’t blow your mind, I don’t know what will.

When Forefront purchased the property the church was in many ways your typical, run-of-the-mill, outdated eyesore. But Jason Bedell, Lead Pastor, and the rest of the Forefront staff had a vision. Jason recalls, “Our contractor (also a member of Forefront) kept telling me ‘I’m not sure we’re able to do that Jason’ on a number of the design changes. I just kept telling him, ‘Let’s just do it and I promise it will make sense in the end.’

“The day before our open house he and I were sitting there about 2 in the morning, just talking. He said, ‘I didn’t know what you were thinking. I couldn’t see it. But man, this place is really an extension of our heart. You can see it every where you turn. People are going to love this place.’”

The Forefront staff was in charge of the entire redesign, with Jason at the helm of the overall concept. He designed the main building, and Becky, the Children’s Director, did the design for the children’s modular rooms. It wasn’t easy. Jason says, “The challenge was trying to do everything we wanted to do on a budget. We changed things dozens of times to make sure it all happened. If we had to spend more in one area, we’d make another area work with less. We knew money wasn’t going to stop us from having a place for people to feel immersed in God’s love and grace. We haggled with carpet people, price matched EVERYWHERE, and spent a ton of time finding who could do it the best, and trying to get a fair price for the work. We couldn’t have completed it without our volunteers. Everything outside was done with volunteers. Staging the spaces, everything audio/visual, assembling TONS of IKEA furniture… volunteers.”

The entire process, from purchase to opening day, took about 3 months. During that time they knocked out walls, built new ones, painted almost EVERYTHING, ordered furniture, designed wall art, landscaped, expanded parking, and the results are pretty incredible. The building feels fresh and modern without going overboard. They were intentional about adding natural elements to the space, which Jason explains, “There are things we (our generation) loved about older churches. The architecture, wood work, open feel, warm, etc. Many new places skip the plants, wood, and what not for a club like feel.” They intentionally added a huge wall with wood panelling. The feature cost them an extra $800 in materials, but they all agree it was well worth it.

Actually, in a way, it feels like they’ve finally come home.

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The colors have been a part of Forefront’s DNA for years, and were the obvious choice for tying the decor together. They color matched their branding with Benjamin Moore’s paint selections and came up with the following palette: Snow Cone Green (2026-30), Electric Orange (2015-10), Gunmetal (1602), Shaker Gray (1594), and Pebble Beach (1597). The outside of the building was painted the darker Shaker Gray, with the inside walls in the lighter Pebble Beach. Pops of color were added throughout the space in green and orange. To add a modern ambiance, they painted the ceilings and wings of the sanctuary in Gunmetal black.

10592712_10152692261668361_2042993035209650444_nOne money saving tip? Jason reveals the secret to that awesome, huge wall art: “All signs other than the big hanging ones in the lobby were done on corrugated plastic. Designed in house and printed by Bizport. A 24×36 sign is $20 delivered to our door. They have a place here and in Richmond area.” So if you live in the Richmond or Virginia Beach area (or don’t mind driving to pick them up), there you go!

The initial response to the new building has been phenomenal, and the numbers reflect the excitement surrounding the change. Before moving, Forefront had settled to around 300-325 guests on Sundays. Opening Sunday, they doubled that number! This past Sunday, they think they had around 550, but there are so many people that it’s hard to get an accurate count. They are anticipating adding a third service soon.

All the same, while having a new building (or drastically revamping an old one) is really great, it’s not the point. The point is sharing the gospel. Forefront has lived the past 20+ years in rented space, setting up and tearing down completely each Sunday. They have had amazing volunteers who were committed to the vision and served faithfully in that area, but having a dedicated space will save a lot of time, allowing those volunteers to serve in other areas. Ultimately, they are hoping this building is an open door (literally and figuratively) to members of their community who haven’t been to church in a while. Their real passion is sharing the gospel with people who are hurting, lost, broken, and wounded, and this building is a tool they are using to help accomplish just that.

Here’s one last word from Jason: “From day one we’ve repeated, almost like a broken record ‘We are the church. It’s not some place you go, it’s a group you’re a part of.’ The building is just a place. While it will be a place to find healing, learn about love, experience grace… it’s still just a place. So, we want to have a place that 24/7 can be used for the mission. To be People Helping People, Find & Follow Jesus. That can happen anywhere, but this every day exposure helps to show the community we aren’t going anywhere. We’re here with you and for you.

“One of things we saw a lot of these past two weeks on connection cards was, ‘This is my first time. Was driving by and wanted to check it out. I’ll be back.’ We didn’t have that in rented facilities. We couldn’t put signage up all week. So, the benefits of having a space allow us to mold the environments and experiences people enter in to when they are learning about God. If we can take away the distractions and make people understand we thought about them before they ever walked through the door, we have a better chance of them being open to learning about God’s love and grace.”

And just because we know you’re dying to see it, here are the before and after photos:

Still want to learn more? E-mail questions to jason@forefront.org
Or contact Tim Cole at tim@vef.cc to see how the VEF can help you with your own church redesign.

Rachel Woolard headshot - circle sm
Rachel Woolard
Director of Media
rachel@vef.cc

5 Kernels of Advice for Prospective Church Planters

Posted in Church Planting, General Advice on March 24, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

After working with and serving dozens of church plants over the past couple of decades, here are 5 kernels of wisdom I’d share with a church planting prospect AND the way you and your church can be a helpful part of the solution:

Be prepared to do what I call “secondary” fund raising. Nearly every church planter has to raise a good amount of funding before his plant gets under way. On the day his plant finally launches he usually thinks that grinding task is done. Most are surprised when they have to enter a second round of fund raising a year or 18 months into their plant when outside funding begins to taper before internal giving catches up.

If you’re serving in an existing church… be open to supporting a new church financially even if it’s already up and running. Chances are the support you give at this later stage will feel far more significant to the planter and his project than the big chunks of funding he gathered prior to launch.

Be prepared to pay your “relational rent” with the preachers of nearby churches. Many of our church planters don’t make the time to develop relationships with preachers around them, whether from our ‘tribe’ of churches or others. They view this as an expense of their time rather than an investment. It won’t be long, however, before they need help using a baptistry at the last minute, borrowing extra folding chairs for a big event, or using a bounce house or popcorn maker for an outreach event.

If you’re serving in an existing church… be open to loaning resources to your nearby planter like these that you might take for granted. Take the initiative to take the planter out to lunch periodically and ask him what resources he could use for upcoming events. After you’ve helped a time or two you’ll enjoy a developing collaborative relationship.

Don’t hurry to form an Eldership team, but don’t wait too long to start the process either. Most of our church plants follow the wisdom of installing their first class of elders between years 3 and 7 of their plants, most often in years 4 or 5. More critical errors can be made selecting and installing elders too soon than too late. By the same token however, most church planters wait at least a year too long to begin developing an initial, internal leadership team that helps the planter shoulder the load of leadership as difficult decisions are make during years 2-4.

If you’re serving in an existing church… be open to serving on the management team of a church plant to provide the important role of oversight and accountability for the planter until the new church has a godly group of elders to take your place. After about 18 months assertively lead the planter to begin the process of organizing a local leadership team to work in sync with the management team.

Be prepared to lose some of your best people before your church’s 2nd anniversary. Nearly every planter thinks it won’t happen to him, but almost every planter is wounded when one of their closest friends and leaders from the launch team leaves the plant a year or more after launch. Often they’re leading a ministry, hosting a small group, or a close relational supporter of his wife.

If you’re serving in an existing church… take the time to connect with your local planter during these critical stages of a plant after the hoopla of the launch has long worn off. Ask him how he’s doing relationally and how his wife is doing. Ask him if he’s been hurt by any key people leaving. Listen. It’ll mean far more than you know.

Be prepared to lead for the long haul, not just the immediate post-launch phase. Most church planters are what we call “inebriated on vision”, unable to view their church plant past the first few months after launch. Many of our planters who’ve spend even a couple of years as the “lead dog” at a small country church rather than only as an associate at a larger church have a better perspective on what it’s like to lead a church week in and week out through the annual cycles of ministry.

If you’re serving in an existing church… view your nearby planter as a colleague, not a competitor. Let him know you’re just as excited about his church for years 4 and 5 as you were for weeks 4 and 5. Invite him to join you when you go to conferences or other events. Most of our planters need a local mentor in ministry to help them learn the skills not of a planter, but of a pastor.

Tim Cole headshot - circle smTim Cole
Director of Church Planting

Transformation in Sad Village

Posted in Church Planting, Prayer Request on February 20, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

You may remember our recent article on how the VEF is partnering with Togo Christian Mission to plant a church in 2015 alongside the International Conference on Missions (ICOM), but they aren’t waiting to start working until then! Togo Christian Mission is hard at work, bringing the gospel into new places every day. Here is their latest update about their work in ‘Sad Village.’

We are always praising God for the growth He is bringing daily into this new Church plant in Sad Village.

Along with our pre-evangelism we have started to spend more time discipling our 7 new Christians who have been baptized in the sad village:  Julie, Pascal and his wife Yawavi, Noah, Koffi, Rosa, and Bruce. We believe with time these individuals will pass on the teachings we are giving them currently to others in the Church and throughout the village as well.

Julie is the young woman sitting in the middle of the bench with the white dress.

Julie is one of the first adults from sad village to contribute to the growth of this new Church plant along with our Church Planters Felix, Tadeo, Amouzou, and Elom.  She is a widow who has grown up in Sad Village.  Julie has been volunteering to clean the area, bringing people together for services, and share about God to friends in the village.
Julie said that Satan did not change her life but wasted her time and money.  She sees the good deeds that God started doing through TCM’s staff coming to the village.  She watched them caring for them, showing God’s love to them by cleaning their wounds, helping to treat their sicknesses, and showing love to their children in the village.  Julie said she began to realize that the real life is in Christ.  She said,

“Jesus does not lie, He does not waste your time or your money, but rather there is love, life, and there is power of light in Him.”

She also relates that when you go to the witch doctor they will lie to you and steal the little money you have and tell you that your sickness will go away but it does not go away.  She tells us a story of when she was a new follower of Christ and her daughter Emefa was ill.  Her daughter had a high fever, and Julie prayed and God listened to her prayer and healed her daughter.  This has taught her that God is more powerful than Satan and given her yet another powerful testimony to share in her home village!

Vo Asso Church Plant


These men are from the Church plant in Vo Asso, which is about 17 Miles away from Vogan, where our ministry is based out of.  They are receiving Leadership training and Discipleship in order to start new Church Plants.  Their names are (from right to left):  Mathias, Isaac, Philip, and  Soletey.  Please keep these men in your prayers!

Vo Asso is also one of the villages full of Voodoo practices sorcery and polygamy.  The first time we began the Vo Asso Church Plant, we encounter a lot of persecutions. When the Church was first started someone set fire to the building.  God acted in a mighty and powerful way by sending us people from the community to help put the fire out by fetching water from their well.  God worked through I.D.E.S (International Disaster Emergency Service) to help reconstruct another building for the Church to meet in.  Currently the Vo Asso Church Plant is growing well, and we pray that these 4 Timothys ( Mathias, Isaac, Philip and Soletey) in Vo asso Church will be faithful throughout the training so that they will be equipped and ready to start new Church Plants.

A new additional school building!  Kristina and Michael partnered with us to help us raise the funds needed to construct another classroom for our school building so that we will be able to expand our primary school through the 6th grade!  They invested a lot of hard work into this building and we were blessed to have them work alongside our local workers on this project!  What a blessing they were!

Prayer Points:

  • Thanksgiving: We thank God for watching over Kristina and Michael during their time in Togo. Praise the Lord they helped with the construction of the additional school building. It looks great!
  • Summer Internships:  Marissa is studying English at ECU and Avery is majoring in Biology. Pray that God brings these two young women from different professional fields to Vogan,Togo safe. Let us pray that we can learn from them and they can also learn from us in all aspects of our mission such as:  Church Planting, Medical Outreach, Christian School and Community Development.
  • Sara, Dovene & Nathan: Pray that God gives them strength and continues to provide for the ministry as they are raising financial partners for the whole ministry. They are also getting prepared to move back to Togo full-time in August to work with the team.
  • Our Partners:  God bless and watch over all of you who are reading this news right now, you all who pray and contribute in any way for the growth of this mission.
  • Next School Project:  We are praying and planning towards building a simple building that will serve as a computer lab.  We hope to install Bilingual Literacy programs on the computers.  This facility will serve both the children in the school to help polish their English and French but will also be open for literacy courses for those in the community to help foster literacy.  This could be a big outreach to our local community in Vogan for Christ!

For real, we have not received any prayer requests yet!  If you have any prayer requests, please send them to us at:  togochristianmission@gmail.com  We would love to be in prayer with you as our partners in ministry!

How did we get here?

Posted in Church Planting, Thank You on January 6, 2014 by Waypoint Church Partners

article by: Gregg Jennings, Minister at Common Ground Christian ChurchDJH_3288 - 2013-11-17 at 06-46-16

Common Ground Christian Church celebrated its 10th anniversary this Fall! And yes, this is amazing!

Sometimes VEF churches have financial problems, pride issues, broken leadership, or huge sin hurdles that need to be handled in a very delicate way.  There are times when these churches struggle so much that they actually close their doors forever.  So it is absolutely a miracle that Common Ground, having struggled with ALL the above issues is still around.

And just to be clear, we are not out of the woods on any of them.  We are kind of like your ‘now sober uncle’: everyone knows he had a problem, that he could relapse at anytime, and that you need to be really careful around him. Everyone is pretty much amazed that his liver hasn’t completely fallen out of his body. Yep. That’s us.

DJH_3271 - 2013-11-17 at 05-59-30It was because of this truth that this tenth anniversary really felt more like a “10 Year Sobriety Celebration”.  Trust me; just ask Dave Hileman, who was there. It was… different. It was raw. It was full of stories of redemption and hope, followed by a time of worship that had most of us in tears for all that God has done.  The beauty of this though, is that God has trusted this faith community with more adversity, mingled with joy, than anyone can imagine.

Before you cry “FOUL,” we know church work is hard, some of the hardest stuff anyone can do, so how is our suffering any different than yours?  We concur – it’s not, it’s just that everyone knows ours.  Kind of like that Uncle again.  Yep, we are the church in town that has “that problem” and, sure enough, people talk. But we haven’t let the talk disrupt our ongoing worship of the Holy Spirit, who we believe still raises the dead.  And it is in this spirit of brokenness and restoration that we have grown by nearly 100% in the last year.  God simply will not give up on us and the community of believers here at CG will simply not give up on God.

Paradoxically, it is in recognizing and vocalizing our vulnerability that we have found our strength in Christ. His strength being on display in our weakness kind of stuff.  Funny how biblical truths of confession, community, and Eucharist really do bring down the Kingdom of God to earth, right now.  So much so, that we get to talk of unspeakable joy, unfathomable grace, and unprecedented hope for the upcoming 10 years at Common Ground. As a community, we have nothing to hide and nothing to fear!  Christ has become our hope and stay, and around that hope he is building a very unique church in downtown Fredericksburg.  DJH_3277 - 2013-11-17 at 06-43-15

That night, Dan Lemelin, a new member, summed up Common Ground in a way that gave me goosebumps:

“We’ve only been here for four months, but we knew on the first Sunday we had come home.  All of our hearts are looking for a home with God, and where His presence is, there our hearts will be at home, and that is what we found here—the presence of God.”

This summarizes everything that we have worked so relentlessly to obtain in Christ.

DJH_3282 - 2013-11-17 at 06-44-38We work our tails off every single Sunday.  Teaching, singing, children’s ministry, coffee, diapers, food, greeting, chairs, set up, tear down… You know the drill. But all of it is worth NOTHING if God doesn’t show up.  We have been committed as a church to create an ecosystem where God and his Spirit are welcomed, and then trust that he will be the one who will transform hearts and lives. In the five years that I have had the privilege to be called a minister at Common ground, He has never failed us.
We owe a huge thanks to the VEF for their support and leadership.  Also to so many other area churches in Virginia who believe in us, and to everyone who has supported us through the years with wisdom and prayer.  Thank you so much!

May God truly bless you and your work.  I know there are several factors that have gotten us here and your love has gone far in our endurance toward the cross. We are lucky to be a part of such a wonderful network of churches.