086: Being Part of a Church Planting Movement

Included in the Great Commission of Jesus to make disciples of all nations is the call to start new local churches where people can be baptized and taught to walk in obedience to the gospel of Jesus. This call issued two millennia ago is still going today. God is at work using churches to plant churches. On this episode, Ryan Lehtinen talks with Bruce Wesley about being a part of a movement to plant churches across the Houston area and to the ends of the earth.

Resources: 

“Why Plant Churches?” by Tim Keller

Houston Church Planting Network

Acts 29

 

5 Ways to Support Church Planting

If you’ve spent any time at Clear Creek Community Church you’ve probably noticed the commitment to launching new campuses and building new buildings. For some people, this is confusing. Why put forth so much effort and time and money just so people don’t have to drive as far to go to church? It’s a valid question, but one Clear Creek leaders answered a long time ago.

The mission of Clear Creek is to lead unchurched people to become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

There a few problems this mission focuses on. One is that the church’s aim is to reach unchurched people. Unchurched is, as you might surmise, defined as people who do not go to church. The second problem being addressed in this statement is to lead people to full devotion to Jesus. It’s not just about a decision or a good attendance record, but the heart and soul of a person. Clear Creek is intent on walking with people for the long haul.

Alright so, why the multi-campus approach?

Well, Clear Creek seeks not only to be a place people can come on the weekends to worship Jesus, but a community of believers that never turns off.

So, the strategy became creating opportunities; opportunities to come to church at a convenient location, where a family wouldn’t have to drive across town just to get to church; opportunities to join a small group in your own neighborhood; opportunities to be part of a visible impact in the surrounding area by meeting needs, showing support, and caring for people.

But what if we could see that happen, not just southeast of Houston, but beyond? What if we could see that same strategy for expansion all over the world?

I have good news: we can and we are!

On top of its commitment to reach the 4B Area (from the beltway to the beach, from the bay to Brazoria County) Clear Creek Community Church is committed to planting new churches.

In fact, Clear Creek has been directly involved in planting over 50 churches throughout greater Houston in the last 10 years in partnership with an organization it started for just such work, the Houston Church Planting Network (HCPN).

Clear Creek started HCPN to help train church planters as well as partner with other churches in the city that had a heart for church planting.

But maybe you have the same questions about planting churches as some people do about Clear Creek’s multi-campus strategy. You should know, Clear Creek’s commitment is to be a church that is committed to the great commission. To learn more about why Clear Creek plants churches, read the article “Why Plant Churches?” by Tim Keller.

But, this isn’t just something other people are doing, it’s something you can take part in as well.

Here are 5 ways you can personally support church planting:

1. Pick

Clear Creek works with a large number of church planters here in Houston and around the world. Consider picking one out to learn more about and discover ways to engage with the church planter and the new church. Read more about some of our current church planters we are working alongside here: 2020-2021 cohorts & 2019-2020 finishing residents.

2. Pray

After you pick a church planter to support, consider making them a regular part of your prayer life. Most church planters send out a regular church plant update with prayer requests. You can get on the distribution list for one of these planters so you know how to pray specifically for their church.

3. Partner

One of the greatest tangible needs of a church plant is resources to help get the new church launched. Consider coming alongside a church plant with a special gift or becoming a monthly supporter for a season. This greatly helps a church that is reaching new people with the gospel as it often could take multiple years for a new church to become financially self-sustaining.

Not sure of a specific plant to help support? Consider giving to the Clear Creek First Gifts Church Planting & Mission Fund (link to giving fund on clearcreek.org) which helps support church planters in Houston and around the world.

4. Promote 

A key component of church planting is meeting people. The church planter is always looking to meet new people and find ways to get word out about the new plant. Consider promoting the church to people you may know who live in that specific area, especially those that don’t know Jesus. Your social media promotion or call to a friend could go a long way in helping the plant form a community.

5. Participate

Consider actively participating in a new church plant. You could be part of a new church plant team. You could attend for a season, perhaps the first 6-12 months of a new church to help get it off the ground. Some people have gifts that would be especially helpful in the start-up stage.

Maybe it’s just showing up to serve on Sunday’s for a season to assist in a specific Sunday ministry area such as set-up and teardown, children’s ministry, or the worship team. It takes time for new plant to identify and develop people who will serve.

 

To advance the kingdom of God in our area and around the globe, church planting is vital. Grow your heart for church planting by getting involved with the church planting work here at Clear Creek Community Church.

If you’d like to get connected to any Houston church planters you can contact Chad Clarkson (cclarkson@clearcreek.org) or to find out more about some of our global church planters contact Kari Wilson (kwilson@clearcreek.org).


 

074: Celebrating Diversity in the Church

Houston is regarded as the single most ethnically diverse major metropolitan area in the United States. And yet, it is still true today what Martin Luther King Jr. said almost 60 years ago, “that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.” What does the gospel say about diversity? How can the church lead the way in celebrating our ethnic and racial differences? On this episode, Ryan Lehtinen talks with the Executive Director of the Houston Church Planting Network, Chad Clarkson, and pastors, David Hill and Jaron Jones, about diversity in the church and how followers of Jesus can make a difference.

Resources: 

Houston Church Planting Network

Imago Dei: Beyond Dignity

034: God at Work in Houston Churches

Although many things are shut down or altered around us, God has been at work among churches and church plants across the Houston area. Ryan Lehtinen recently talked with Chad Clarkson, the executive director of the Houston Church Planting Network, to hear how established and new churches are weathering COVID-19 and how they are seeing God move in new and powerful ways.

RESOURCES:

Houston Church Planting Network

Awaken Houston

016: Launching a Church Planting Partnership in Brazil with Chris Nelson and Priscilla Hartranft

During the To The Ends of The Earth message series, Go Global Director and Campus Pastor of the Clear Lake Campus, Karl Garcia, sat down with Chris Nelson and Priscilla Hartranft who recently returned from Brazil. They discuss Clear Creek’s new church planting partnership in Brazil and how people can get involved.

 

RESOURCES:

Go Global – Clear Creek Community Church

Praying For Global Missions

PRAY FOR OPEN DOORS

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word… — Colossians 4:2–3a (ESV)

Open doors can’t be taken for granted. Many missionaries work in countries that are difficult to access or in areas that are resistant to the gospel. But open doors include more than just access to nations and people groups. Individuals’ hearts also need to be open and receptive to God’s truth.

   Pray …

  • That God will open doors of ministry, blessing partnerships and friendships.
  • That those who serve will be led by the Holy Spirit and recognize open-door opportunities.
  • That God will lead his people past barriers to hearts ready to receive his Word.

PRAY FOR BOLDNESS

[Pray] also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel… — Ephesians 6:19 (ESV)

Missionaries are regular people who fear pain and rejection as much as anyone else. When faced with opposition, they need God’s strength to help them stand firm.

   Pray …

  • That the Holy Spirit will provide missionaries with words that communicate effectively in other cultures and languages.
  • That they will have boldness to overcome the fear of embarrassment or failure.
  • Against evil forces that would seek to hinder the spread of the gospel.

PRAY THAT GOD’S WORD WILL SPREAD

Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you… — 2 Thessalonians 3:1 (ESV)

Obstacles must be removed to allow God’s Word to spread rapidly and freely, and missionaries need the strength to continue on in the face of opposition or difficulties. Just as Aaron and Hur supported Moses’ arms in the battle against the Amalekites (Exodus 17:12), you can strengthen the arms of missionaries by supporting them through your prayers.

   Pray …

  • For strength and stamina as missionaries encounter antagonistic spiritual forces (Ephesians 6:10–18).
  • That people will resist Satan’s plans to obstruct the spread of the gospel (James 4:7).
  • That God’s Word will indeed spread rapidly and be honored wherever it goes.

PRAY FOR PROTECTION

[Pray] that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men. For not all have faith. — 2 Thessalonians 3:2 (ESV)

In some countries, missionaries may be exposed to the possibility of danger and personal harm. Opposition to the gospel may include hatred and violence.

   Pray …

  • That God will keep missionaries safe.
  • That God will change the hearts of those who are resistant to his Word.

*This excerpt from https://www.wycliffe.org/prayer/how-to-pray-for-missionaries


Additional Resources:

Go Global – Clear Creek Community Church

015: Being a Part of a Church Planting Movement in Cuba with Derek Willis

During the To The Ends of The Earth message series, Go Global Director and Campus Pastor of the Clear Lake Campus, Karl Garcia, sat down with Derek Willis who recently returned from his second mission trip to the Caribbean. They discuss how God is moving there and how others can be involved in taking the gospel to the ends of the earth.

RESOURCES:

GO – Clear Creek Community Church

014: A Leap Into the Unknown – Planting a “Parachute” Church with Justin Fordinal

In October 2019, Clear Creek Community Church hosted an Acts 29 Church Planting Mini-Conference. During the event, CCCC East 96 Campus Pastor Aaron Lutz sat down with Justin Fordinal, church planter and Lead Pastor of Bridge Point Community Church in Cypress, TX. Bridge Point just celebrated five years since their launch in 2014, and they have a desire to reach the Cypress area and see more churches planted around the world.

 

 

RESOURCES:

Bridge Point Community Church (Cypress, TX)
“Why Plant Churches” by Tim Keller
Acts 29
Houston Church Planting Network (HCPN)

 

Collaboration

Being overwhelmed changed Bruce Wesley, founder and senior pastor of Clear Creek Community Church. He was overwhelmed by the number of lost people in Houston, Texas, and by the vast Kingdom resources that never got utilized in the multiplication of disciples, churches and movements. Dr. Wesley was also overwhelmed by how long it takes and how much it costs to recruit, train, coach and resource a church planter to plant a church. How could the church reach so many with the gospel with so few resources when it takes so long to prepare one church planter? This question changed him from thinking about ministry like a golf team to thinking about ministry like a basketball team. It changed his ministry from an individual activity to a team sport. Bruce Wesley began to believe in collaboration. This book is his story and story of the dynamic Houston Church Planting Network.

Buy this resource on Amazon