Calvary Church in Englewood, Colorado
Yrs at Church: 5
Our Church is: A Church Revitalization
What led you to church replanting/revitalization?
There are 3 major catalysts God used to call me to pastor and help revitalize Calvary Church:
- After having served in full-time youth and family ministry for 13 years, I began sensing the Lord calling me to pastor an entire congregation whereby I could most effectively minister, not only to teenagers, but their parents as well. This growing conviction and passion for family ministry, specifically disciple-making in the home, was a one of the catalysts that led me to consider leading and pastoring Calvary Church.
- I also felt called to serve in a more ethnically and economically diverse area of Denver than the primarily “white” suburbs I had been blessed to serve for so many years. I began noticing a trend of more and more churches setting up camp in the suburbs of Denver while communities closer to Denver, such as Englewood (where Calvary is located) were neglected and all but forgotten. Calvary seemed to be a perfect opportunity to see the Gospel saturate a broken, diverse community, desperately in need of Gospel hope and transformation.
- I love underdogs. Always have. As a youth pastor, I always enjoyed going into churches that were struggling and help to bring about revitalization by the power of God and the Gospel. This same passion led me to Calvary. As a declining congregation, in talks to sell its property and close the doors all together, I was excited to see what God could do do breathe new life, hope, and revitalization to this wonderful, faithful church community. By God’s grace, of the 30 who were at Calvary when I came 5 years ago, nearly all are still actively involved and on board with what God is doing at Calvary, even though much growth and change has taken place. I praise God for this! He is indeed breathing new life into Calvary Church, raising it from near death for His glory alone!
3 most significant challenges in your work?
#1: Helping Calvary, a 50 year old church ready to close its doors for good, begin to believe that God wasn’t through with them, but in fact was just getting started.
#2: Knowing when to pursue change and when not to. We are called to shepherd the flock and lead with love. This takes patience and time. There are times when you need to die on a hill, but those times are few and far between.
#3: Continuing to find my identity in Jesus and not in people approval. Revitalization is a challenge on many fronts. As loving and patient as you are in your leadership, there will be those who remain skeptical of you and have a hard time truly trusting you. Often times this comes from a place of woundedness and unmet expectations of previous pastors. I need to keep running to Jesus and look to His Gospel for the peace and joy I long for in my life and ministry, not in the approval of the flock.
3 “If I could do it all over again” lessons
- Pray more.
- Pursue my critics with more intentionality.
- Work less hours and rest more, reminding myself more readily that this is God’s church and He is sovereign over the revitalization work He called me to.
How has God show himself faithful?
God is so faithful! It has been so humbling to watch Him do what only He can do…saving sinners, edifying the saints, bringing hope and life to both Calvary and our surrounding community through the power of the Gospel. It is a joy to see our church gain a vision for church planting and to help see other declining churches experience revitalization for the glory of God! Best advice for a replanter/revitalizer?
- Find a humble, Godly pastor who has been part of revitalization in a local church. You need the wisdom and encouragement that they can uniquely give.
- Remember that God is sovereign. This is His church and ultimately His work of revitalization. Only He can breathe new life into that which is dying. Take great comfort in this truth and allow this reality to give you joy and peace in your life and ministry.
- Make your love and pursuit of Christ your #1 priority.
- By God’s grace, work to cultivate a heart of true humility before God and others…lead out of that humility.
- Love the heck out of people…pursue them, call them, encourage them, and HUG them, a lot!
- Preach the Word faithfully, humbly yet boldly. God’s Word will do God’s work in the hearts of His people. Let the Word guide you and serve as the authority for all of your leadership in revitalization. I am convinced that healthy change and true revitalization in a dying church can only happen if the Word of God holds the authority.
Best resource for a replanter/revitalizer?
These 5 books have been most helpful to me:
- The Bible.
- The Shepherd Leader by Timothy Witmer
- Leading with Love by Alexander Strauch
- Humilty by C.J. Mahaney
- Preaching and Preachers by D.M.L. Jones
Where do you see the movement of Legacy Church Planting/Church Revitalization going?
I am excited about what the Lord is doing and will continue to do through this growing movement of revitalization and Legacy Church Planting. The time is now for this. I am so encouraged to see the Lord raising up a generation of humble, Godly, gifted young men who have a desire to shepherd, love, and lead declining churches back to health and vitality. God is so glorified in this and I pray I can play a small part in helping to spread the fame of Jesus as He breathes new life into individuals and congregations all over our country and world. Is God calling you to Legacy Church Planting? Join the movement
Published April 29, 2015