Frequently Asked Questions!
What does it mean that you are “planting a church”?
God has been showing us for several years now that there is a need for a church in the Harrisburg, PA area through which people can learn about the things of God, Jesus, and the Bible in a way that makes sense to them. Most importantly, they need to see how it all applies to their everyday life. As we have communicated this idea to other people, we have begun to build a “faith community” with them. (Please see the other tab on this website titled “Our Ministry”). We have been studying God’s Word together, praying and eating together, and letting God intertwine our lives together as we encourage and love each other’s families. This is becoming the core group of the new church, so we are taking the responsibility of organizing and leading it.
Are you an ordained pastor? Aren’t you an engineer?
Yes. To both. I have a Master of Ministry degree (M.Min.) from Baptist Bible Seminary and was ordained as a pastor in June, 2013, by a board of pastors from several churches at the recommendation of our sending church, Grace Baptist Church in Bowie, MD (www.gbcbowie.org). I also have an M.S. degree in engineering, with extensive project management experience in industry as well as the U.S. Army. In God’s wisdom, it is the combination of my engineering experience and logistics management background as well as my ministry perspective that I am drawing on to work through the nuts and bolts of planting a church.
Do you still need my financial support? Shouldn’t your church members be tithing towards your salary?
Yes, we very much still need your financial support of our ministry! The ability for us to be putting time and effort towards this church-planting initiative is solely enabled by your faithful support. As the church is being established and people are tithing, the funds are initially going to the expenses related to facilities and ministry start-up needs. At some point this may change, but especially in this early phase of the life of the church, your financial support is invaluable. This is something that we will keep you updated on. As always, we want you to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit when deciding to support our ministry or not. Please see the other tab on this website titled “Financial Support” if you have any questions about how to specifically support us.
Aren’t there enough churches already in that area?
There are other churches in the area, but it’s important to understand that each church will typically reach only a certain demographic of people. Most churches in this area are composed of people who are familiar with Christianity already. These types of churches typically are difficult for someone with little to no knowledge of the Bible or a “church culture” to become a part of. The demographic plot here shows that in 2010 more than 60% of the population of our county (York County, PA) said that they have no religious affiliation at all. More than 60%!! My "boots on the ground" interactions with people through the fire department totally agrees with that as I rarely bump into true Christians when I am out and about. That percentage is undoubtedly higher today. Our church will be geared towards helping everyone to grow in their faith, from the mature Christian to someone that has never opened a Bible before in their life. God is already blessing this approach as we have several people that are engaging with us who are learning to read the Bible for the very first time. It's a beautiful thing. It really is.
Are other people involved yet?
Yes! As of May, 2019 we're averaging in the mid-fifties for attendance on Sunday mornings with a solid core group. We regularly have planning meetings and get together in large group worship but are also meeting in smaller groups throughout the week.
Are you regularly meeting yet?
Yes, we've been meeting on Sunday mornings since Dec of 2017 first at a local fire hall and now a church building we share as well as in homes for small group Bible studies and fellowship. We are researching facilities to rent or buy as we grow.
Do you need help?
Definitely. We are praying for the Lord to send people who are willing to spend time with others and disciple them through their relationships, both formally and informally.
Will you still be considered a missionary with ABWE? What is their role?
Yes. We will receive oversight and coaching from ABWE missionaries who are also planting churches in North America, in conjunction with our sending church pastors in Maryland. Our financial support will also still be handled by ABWE, so if you are currently sending financial support to them on our behalf, that won't need to change.
Is your home sending church in Maryland involved?
Yes, Grace Baptist Church in Bowie, MD (www.gbcbowie.org) is very involved. We had several discussions with the leadership of the church over the past couple of years to verify this calling by God to plant a church as well as to iron out their level of involvement. We’re thankful that they see our efforts as an answer to their prayers because they had been seeking the Lord’s will as to how to be more involved in church-planting efforts domestically! The church leadership is very involved in the high level planning as well as regularly reviewing how things are going, checking to see how we are doing as a family, etc. We’re very thankful for a home church that understands the importance of reaching into the community with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What about your training ministry with ABWE? Will you still be involved with that?
Yes, but in a limited capacity. The reason this all began is because of the training we received when we joined ABWE. We began to implement the things we learned into our relationships, making discipleship a priority, which God blessed tremendously. My ability to train these concepts only became stronger because of the real-life experiences that I was gaining. Missionaries and pastors need to know how to effectively reach and disciple people! So I am still involved in the seminars that are taught at the ABWE facility in Harrisburg twice a year, but I will not be traveling as much as I was before in the U.S. and globally.
Will you still travel overseas?
It is important for every church to have a healthy level of involvement with overseas missions efforts. God has blessed us with many connections through ABWE and other global ministries to facilitate our new church getting involved right away in these types of things. Helping Christians have a global perspective is part of discipling them. So yes, I will still occasionally travel overseas as a part of helping the ABWE training group but also as a way to disciple people through my local church ministry.
Do you need other churches to partner with you?
Yes, definitely. A local body of Christ is related to other believers in the global body of Christ. We are connected with every other believer around the world through our unifying faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. A healthy church should be involved in helping other churches around the world get started and grow. Praying for our new church, sending people to help with various needs on a short-term or even long-term basis, and helping financially are all very important ways for a healthy, mature church to partner with us.
What’s happening next?
A lot is going on! There is a lot of infrastructure that needs to be built to facilitate the start of a new church. There are legal issues to address to become incorporated, support ministries to be planned and established such as small groups, children’s ministries, etc. Infrastructure issues that you probably don’t think much about need to be worked on such as improving the website, getting background checks completed for children’s workers, establishing different ways to communicate with people via email, Facebook, etc. Even designing the church logo took quite a bit of time! Since we're averaging in the mid-fifties on Sunday mornings now, establishing healthy, discipling relationships is key to getting them to stick. This, of course, takes a lot of time. Your prayers for wisdom and the Lord’s blessing as we grow are greatly appreciated!