Beach-PreachingAbout this Site

This site isn’t a typical blog with running thoughts on church planting. Rather, the majority of articles are educational materials for church planters. I tell anyone wanting to get in to church planting to read them all. They cover a wide range of things that church planters need to know. If you want to read all the articles in this category, click on Church Planting University and go through them one-by-one.

About Me

I am a child of God, husband, father, pastor, and a church planting consultant. Hopefully I will keep things in that order. I got involved in church planting 13 years ago when I was in seminary. Back then, church planting was being driven by the likes of Bob Logan’s church Planting Toolkit, Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Church, and everyone’s fascination with Bill Hybles and the Willow Creek model.

In 1998, I set out to plant a church but ran into roadblock after roadblock. I admire the guys who planted a church back in the 1990’s. Back then there weren’t any church planting networks, conferences, books, educational tracks, graphic tees, go-tees, and so on. Further, there were only a handful of groups that would even consider funding a church plant. The thinking back then was: you go start the church and if your successful, then we’ll pitch in a few dollars so we can take credit for your success.

Instead of following my passion in the 1990’s, I went to an older dying church with the hopes of revitalizing it. I learned a lot about ministry, people, and preaching at that church. Unfortunately, sometimes you can only go so far with a revitalization project. The church needed a name change, image makeover, sacred cow execution, and several other things to effectively reach the community. We went from 50 to 150 in worship attendance, but could never break the 200 mark.

In 2005, I moved to my other home town of Virginia Beach to take over the leadership of a failed church plant. It was one part revitalization and one part church plant. I spent my first three years there dealing with the burdens of both church planting and the baggage of a revitalization project. By the end of 2008, it was clear that things just weren’t going to work doing it the way we were doing it.

The turning point came in November of 2008 when I got a call from our church administrator. She said, “if things keep going the way they are going, we’ve got four months to live.” In other words, in four months we will have zero dollars in the bank and we’re not even close to being able to sustain things as a church.  Knowing we only had “four months to live” we wanted to make the biggest impact possible on our community in the little time we had left. After brainstorming about what would make a lasting impact in our community, we felt that a new church was the best way to impact the community. So we made the decision to start a new church in four months. After a lot of prayer, help, donations, hard work, luck, and grace, we launched Essential Church on February 22, 2009. By January 2010, we were running 300 with our own facility. It’s been a wild ride and a lot of fun. God is blessing the work here and I’m having a blast.

There were a lot of things that contributed to the change that took place in those four months between the death of one church plant and the launching of another. This website began in March of 2009 to share with others what we learned from that experience.

At the same time that I have been a church planter, I have also been doing strategy consulting work for the SBC of Virginia’s church planting network. They support about a hundred church planters in the state. I have had the privilege of working with some of the most innovative church planters in the world. This website is both the overflow from working with church planters as well as a way of further helping them.

Our hope is to facilitate and support networking opportunities for church planters.  Click on the comments links to share what you’ve learned with the community.