October 30, 2010 by
In lieu of a weekly roundup, here are some final notes and reminders for those of you coming to our Pastors Conference next week:
- We're holding a Church Planting Informational Meeting on Wednesday at 4:30pm. If you're curious about leading or participating in a church plant with Sovereign Grace, please join us.
- If it's you're not affiliated with Sovereign Grace, please plan on coming to our guest reception on Tuesday night after the general session. We'd love to meet you (and even feed you light snacks).
- All pastors will leave the conference with a stack of free books (including two relatively thick ones), so leave room in your suitcase for those if you're coming from a distance.
- All ladies are invited to a luncheon on Wednesday, hosted by Carolyn Mahaney (lunch provided).
- Check-in and the bookstore both open at 3pm on Tuesday.
See you on Tuesday!
October 29, 2010 by
Categories: Church planting
Next year, Mike Seaver plans to plant Sovereign Grace Church of the Lowcountry in the Summerville/Charleston area of South Carolina. In part 1 of our interview, Mike described the next steps for the church planting team and explained why he chose to plant a church in Charleston.
In the second half of the interview, Mike talks about cooperating with church planters from other organizations, how he can afford to start with two full-time elders, and how you can pray for the new church.
Do you expect to cooperate with other church planters and pastors in Charleston?
Yes, I really feel a burden to work with other gospel-centered churches in the area. We’re on the same team and we have the same gospel and we have the same enemy (Ephesians 6:10-20), so we fight in the same war. I’ve already been able to talk with some other pastors in the area, and they’ve been eager to help us. It’s been very humbling.
We’ve already started conversations about specific ways we can team up with other local churches to reach out to the needy in North Charleston, so we’re excited to serve alongside others who are already on the ground.
As a church planter, what do you find helpful about partnering with Sovereign Grace Ministries?
Knowing that we’re all part of the same mission and the same family is so encouraging. I get emails from other pastors all the time, saying “We’re praying for you and we’re excited about the plant.” I know of SGM pastors who have talked with their people about the plant and invited them to be on the church planting team as well.
I also know that if I have questions or if I am in need, there are many guys who are willing to help. I am very well cared for first as a man of God, then as a husband and father, and then as a pastor. The men around me don’t want me just to be qualified to plant a church, but to stay qualified in my character for the long haul.
We also receive care through much financial support. We’re receiving generous support from Sovereign Grace Ministries, but also a large portion of our initial support is coming from CrossWay Community Church. The pastoral team and church family there graciously committed to supporting the church plant financially for the first two years. This is making it possible for us to start out with two full-time elders.
Mainly, we’re planting a Sovereign Grace church because Sovereign Grace loves the gospel and we love the gospel. We are thankful to be part of Sovereign Grace and we’ve been blessed in countless ways.
How can we pray for you and the church planting team?
It is staggering to watch God put this plant together. Apart from him we can do nothing, so we desire the prayers of his people!
Please pray that Jim Hawkins and I would cherish Jesus more and more and that we would be humble throughout this process. We want our eyes focused on the gospel continually rather than growing anxious over details or plans.
Please pray the God would bring the core team that he wants for this church plant, both from other areas and from the Charleston area. Please pray for unity on the team.
And please pray for a facility for us to meet in. By God’s grace, we seem to have some leads and favor for potential spots, but we are praying for the Lord’s will.
Lastly, pray for our homes to sell. Those of us moving for the plant are currently fixing up and selling our homes. Please pray that God would sell them in his timing. We are selling in a down market (obviously) and my good friend and realtor, Lloyd Odell, was helping my perspective on what I counted as loss. He said, “If everything is loss except the surpassing worth of Jesus Christ, then losing money on your house is just one more loss.” May God help me count as loss that which is really loss and to count as gain that which is really gain, namely Christ.
How can interested folks get in touch with you?
Check out our website (www.sgclowcountry.org) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 27, 2010 by
Categories: Church planting
Next year, Mike Seaver plans to plant Sovereign Grace Church of the Lowcountry in the Summerville / Charleston area of South Carolina.
Mike has been a pastor at CrossWay Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, since graduating from our Pastors College in 2007. He’s also a graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Mike took a few minutes last week to talk about next steps for the church-planting team, why they’re starting with two elders, and why it took him a while to be convinced that he should plant a church in one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S.
Check back on Friday for part 2.
First, the basics: where and when will this church plant begin?
We're looking at the southern Summerville/North Charleston area [view larger map here]. We don’t have a meeting place yet since we will not launch for a while, but please pray for us!
Dorchester County is projected to grow by about 100,000 people in the next five years, so it is an area that is seeing job increases and needs new churches. The Boeing Company is opening a plant in North Charleston, so there are a lot of jobs linked with that company.
We’re currently holding prayer meetings in the Charleston area. Starting in January we will have meetings once a month as a church-planting team. We plan to launch publicly in August/September 2011.
One more basic question: what is the Lowcountry?
South Carolinians divide the state into three sections: the Upstate (Greenville/Spartanburg), the Midlands (Columbia), and the Lowcountry (Charleston, Beaufort, etc.). Hence the name Sovereign Grace Church of the Lowcountry.
Where is the church-planting team coming from?
We have marveled at how the Lord has brought people together for this plant. Some families are coming from our sending church, CrossWay Community Church (Charlotte, NC). About 15 other people currently live in the Charleston area. One of the Charleston families moved here from Gulf Coast Community Church (St. Petersburg, FL) just two weeks before our first local meeting. It’s been neat to see God’s timing in bringing the team together, because it is obvious that we couldn’t have put this together ourselves. We are dependent on Jesus to build his church!
Will there be any other elders as the church plant begins?
Jim Hawkins and his family are moving with us to plant this church. Both Jim and I are full-time elders at CrossWay and have had our hearts knit together to plant a church. We will both be full-time elders/pastors at Sovereign Grace Church of the Lowcountry.
Jim has been on staff at CrossWay for thirteen years, is administratively gifted, and is a very good counselor. In fact he has counseled me numerous times! Jim’s willingness to uproot his family and move has been very inspiring to watch. He often talks about wanting to “finish well” and “die with his boots on.” I’m excited and grateful that we are beginning this plant with a plurality of elders.
Mike, you’re going to an area that many people would assume already has a lot of churches, and it also happens to be one of the most temperate and beautiful cities in the country. Did you consider other places? Why are you confident that God is leading you to plant a church there?
The first time my wife, Kristin, brought up the idea of church planting in Charleston, I laughed and thought she just wanted to move to the beach (we are a beach-loving family). Yes, I judged her and I have repented.
A few months later, when the elders of CrossWay began to seriously consider a church plant, I expressed my family’s heart for South Carolina (Kristin is a Clemson girl from the Upstate). Jim and Sharon Hawkins, Kristin, and I began our church planting exploration by visiting Charleston and another major South Carolina city. I thought Charleston was a great place to vacation, but I really didn’t think we would plant a church there.
However, we were greatly surprised that as we talked to church planters and pastors in Charleston, almost everyone said to us, “Come join us, we need more help here.” The area is growing fast and they want help reaching the city with the gospel! The other city we were considering seemed to already have a saturation of church plants. The values we wanted to establish in our church were already being built in many of those churches. We saw very little need for another church plant there.
We started to sense that maybe Charleston was where the Lord wanted us, and God began to stir faith in our hearts.
I had to adjust my thinking about planting a church in Charleston, though. My friend José Mercado [senior pastor of Iglesia Gracia Soberana de Gaithersburg] challenged me, “Dude, you really need to pray about this. God doesn’t always call you to a place you don’t like.” Another church planter pointed out that if you love a place, God may be calling you there.
As we started to send emails and meet with people, the number of contacts started growing. God has been bringing more and more people to the church plant. We have really seen the Lord’s favor. The Lord has given us a heart for the people here and we are excited to see how he wants to build this church.
Check back on Friday for part 2.
October 23, 2010 by
Categories: Weekly roundup
Registration for our Pastors Conference (November 2–4) closes tomorrow, October 24. Pastors and church planters, you’re invited! Register here.
Sovereign Grace Church Sydney celebrated their first baptisms last Sunday. Check out their photos and read Stella’s and Bennet’s stories.
Dave Harvey spoke on ambition at a men’s conference hosted by Cornerstone Church of Knoxville (TN) last month. His messages are available as free downloads here (in the left menu, choose “Filter by Series” and select “Rescuing Ambition Men’s Conference”).
Gospel-Powered Parenting by Bill Farley, senior pastor of Grace Christian Fellowship (Spokane, WA), was recommended on the Desiring God blog this week.
Bob Kauflin is offering three free song downloads to celebrate the tenth anniversary of one of our most popular albums, King of Grace. Which means, yes, these songs were originally arranged in the late ’90s. But you could win a free conference registration for rearranging one of them—details at Bob’s blog, Worship Matters.
Kang Songhwan had a good job as a pastor in Seoul, South Korea, and a lot of dreams for the future. “Leading a large church was the vision I had for my life,” he says.
One night a message from his son changed all that.
Last year, Songhwan planted Lord’s Grace Church, the first Sovereign Grace church in South Korea. Songhwan and his wife, Miran, tell their story in this eleven-minute film. It’s being shown in Sovereign Grace churches this month as part of our 2010 Mission Fund Presentation.
Our online Mission Fund Report gives more details about the Mission Fund, including stories of how it’s being used to advance the gospel as close by as Arlington, Virginia, and as far away as Sri Lanka.
For more details about Lord’s Grace Church, see this update posted by Dave Harvey back in June. Better yet, visit their website.
October 19, 2010 by
Several pastors recently commended to us a curriculum developed by CrossWay Community Church (Charlotte, NC) for parents of teenagers. The curriculum is titled Partners with Purpose: Teaming Up with the Lord and Your Teenager for God-Glorifying Maturity and contains these sections:
- A Firm Foundation
- God's Purpose and Plan
- The Sins of the Parents
- The Evil Desires of Youth
- The Most Important Thing
- Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands (a reference to Paul Tripp's book)
- Expectations and Exasperations
- Navigating Relating
For the PDF, click here. Thanks to those of you who brought this to our attention, and to CrossWay for graciously allowing us to share it here on the blog!
October 16, 2010 by
Categories: Weekly roundup
There are still a few free Pastors Conference registrations available for guys considering planting a church with Sovereign Grace.
Speaking of church planters, consider following the Facebook page for our Plant conference to get occasional links or updates related to church planting.
Bob Kauflin wrote an article titled "Receiving the Baton" for this month's Tabletalk magazine, and also posted his workshop notes and reflections from David Crowder's Fantastical Church Music Conference.
Against all odds, C.J. Mahaney was mentioned in The Economist.
Joshua Harris' message on forgiveness from Peacemaker Ministries' National Conference is available for download.
After the Pastors Conference, Dave Harvey will speak on marriage at a pre-conference session for the CCEF National Conference.
The Sovereign Grace Store dropped the price of Dug Down Deep to $10 (previously $14).
October 12, 2010 by
We're looking forward to seeing all of you who will be attending our Pastors Conference in a few weeks (November 2–4). (If you still need to register, the deadline is midnight on October 24.)
A few ideas to help you prepare:
- Teaching is a big part of the event, but we purposefully left a lot of time free for you to meet with others at the conference and enjoy fellowship. Check the conference schedule for open slots to do this.
- Pastors will leave the conference with a few free books (two of which are very large), so we suggest you reserve space for those when you pack.
- If you're not affiliated with Sovereign Grace Ministries, we encourage you to attend the guest reception after the general session on Tuesday night. It's a highlight of the event for us to welcome our guests and find out how we can serve you during the conference.
Also, we're holding a few free registrations for men who are not affiliated with Sovereign Grace currently but are interested in partnering with us to plant a church
. If you fit that description, please contact us
so we can set you up with a registration and details about the Church Planting Information Meeting at the conference. (As of this posting, we have nine free registrations left.)
October 9, 2010 by
Categories: Church planting | Resources
In the redesign of our website, the area receiving the biggest overhaul was Church Planting. Establishing new gospel-centered churches is at the heart of our strategy to advance the Great Commission, and we wanted to better equip both pastors and church members to be part of that.
Below is a summary of what you can find on our site now. If you have suggestions for additions or improvements, feel free to leave them in the comments for us.
For men considering planting a church
For current church-planters
We're grateful for the partnership in the gospel we have with all of you. Please consider subscribing to this blog
if you want to stay updated on new resources, church-planting plans, and other things of interest to our shared mission.
Thanks to the generosity of many donors, our Haiti Disaster Relief Fund still has $214,500 to distribute. (See part 1 and part 2 for the mission of this fund and how $90,000 has already been distributed to trusted friends in ministry.)
As we sought counsel about how to distribute these funds, both from U.S. leaders and from pastors in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, we saw that what these churches needed was a long-term commitment. There are no quick fixes in Haiti (or anywhere else); rebuilding their churches and communities will take time. As we work with them to wisely distribute these funds over the long term, these churches will be in a better position to bring the gospel to their communities.
Here’s how we plan to do that.
$90,000 for intermediate aid
This money will be used to purchase food and medical supplies for those still affected by the earthquake; to rebuild homes using local labor, thus investing in the local economy; and to fund much-needed pastoral care for Haitian and Dominican pastors.
$90,000 for long-term rebuilding
Many churches lost their meeting places in the earthquake and have no money to rebuild. This money will be focused on repairing or replacing their buildings. We trust this will expand these churches’ Great Commission outreach in their communities.
$34,500 for relief reserves
Any relief effort involves unexpected expenses and opportunities, and this portion of the fund will enable us to meet those wisely.
Every dollar donated to the Haiti Disaster Relief Fund is dedicated to helping churches in Haiti and the Dominican Republic who were affected by the earthquake, and is being disbursed through trusted ministry contacts. And every dollar is being accounted for to ensure that this happens.
At the forefront of these efforts are two men at Metro Life Church (Orlando, FL): senior pastor Danny Jones and his assistant Chris Jessee. These men have worked tirelessly to serve our Haitian brothers and sisters on behalf of Sovereign Grace Ministries. We are deeply grateful for their leadership and service!
If you have any questions about the Disaster Relief Fund, please email or call Tommy Hill, finance director for Sovereign Grace Ministries (800.736.2202).
If you gave to the Disaster Relief Fund, thank you for giving to the needy in Haiti! By God’s grace, your generosity is strengthening churches and advancing their gospel witness throughout Haiti and in the Dominican Republic. The ripple effect of the gospel is continuing, even in the wake of tragedy. On behalf of Haitian and Dominican churches and pastors, thank you.