We’ve got some exciting news!REGISTRATION IS OPEN FOR EXPO 2020
(March 2-5, 2020 in Orlando, FL)
We know March seems like a long time away, so why register now?
We can think of a few reasons…
If those reasons aren’t enough, we have about 100 more! FOR A SHORT TIME ONLY, you can get tickets AND hotel rooms for just $100 a piece! ($100/ticket; $100/room night)
We are so happy to be able to offer you these prices. But almost all good things come to an end, and this pricing will, too. So why wait? Get in on the best event of the year right now!
Have you ever tried to put a puzzle together? It seems like the most important part of the puzzle isn’t even part of the puzzle. It’s that big picture on the outside of the box. The picture tells you where you are going, defines your goals and helps you to know when you are on the right track. I have never tried to put a puzzle together without looking at the box. Even the idea just seems ridiculous. And yet, in the Summer of 2007, it felt like that’s exactly what God asked me to do. I was asked to help plant a church whose mission was to reach a community that was highly impacted by incarceration. I was in graduate school at the time and working in student affairs at a local university. Planting a church was the farthest thing from my mind, and I said no fairly quickly. As soon as the word came out of my mouth, I felt an impression that my quick answer was not just inconsiderate to those who asked but also dishonoring of the Holy Spirit. I realized that I had only given my answer, forgetting to seek God’s answer. Although, I am sad to say it wasn’t my first instinct, in that moment, I remembered that this wasn’t my puzzle to put together. Instead, I would be a piece in the greater work that God was doing. I decided to ask for some time to pray and seek God’s wisdom. During that time, I felt a clear calling to serve in this ministry, but I had no idea that part of God’s big picture would be 12 years of service in capacities I could never have imagined.
These last 12 years have been spent developing followers of Christ, sending out and supporting over 20 global partners, sending out 3 church plants and teams domestically, and supporting multiple local partnerships in our community. We are beginning to see more of God’s puzzle come together.
While I believe God ultimately controls the pieces to our church’s story, I also believe He empowers us with wisdom to place the right staffing pieces in our ministry puzzle in the right times. That’s where Stadia and the Church Staffing Assessment specifically have become a vital resource for Gospel Community Church.
We first engaged with Stadia in order to assess a church planting candidate we were considering back in 2014. The process was extremely thorough and gave us a tremendous amount of insight. It also helped us to identify areas of potential growth within our candidate that proved fruitful down the road.
At the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019, GCC again worked with Stadia, but this time, we took advantage of the church staffing assessment in order to evaluate the readiness of two pastors on our staff to lead multi-site locations.
I’m happy to say Stadia does not take the assessment process lightly. Before candidates arrive for the multi-day onsite experience, they have already completed personality, cultural and psychological profiles. They have been given biblical literacy tests and have been required to do hard work including looking into their inner lives all the way back to their family trees. All of this information is available to the church leadership. This is important for the assessment process because for our churches to move forward in health we need pastors and staff members who are not just careful with their doctrine but with the way they live as well (1 Timothy 4). The pre-work required for the process provides valuable jumping off points for the team of assessors when the candidates make it on-site for their evaluations.
Although the pre-work is excellent, the on-site evaluation provides even greater clarity. Candidates are usually working with team members they have never met before, spending many hours a day working together and preparing for the tasks at hand. They are being challenged on their methodologies or working outside of their areas of gifting, but by the end of the on-site experience, these challenges primarily lead to multiple eyes on each candidate that help to identify strengths and weaknesses that could have otherwise gone unnoticed. In the end, candidates, and churches come away with solid recommendations on competence, character, culture, and readiness to support and fulfill a mission. The reports also include individualized development plans that provide candidates with a path towards growth and health instead of leaving them with identified weaknesses but no practical ways to address them. This tool helps the candidate to walk away with forward momentum toward positive growth.
Each of our ministries is a puzzle that God is putting together, and in His time, God allows us to be a part of choosing some of the pieces and placements for those who would join us in ministry. Our experience with the Stadia’s staff church assessment process helped us to identify the right piece for the right time, for the puzzle that God has given us. Leading the men and women on your staff can be difficult. Sometimes, we are too close to see the obvious needs of our staff. Stadia and their staff assessment helps churches to keep their focus on building the puzzle that is the Kingdom of God, the puzzle that only He has designed. If you are in need of a way to evaluate and confirm your current staff members I highly recommend Stadia’s Church Staff Assessment.
Nate is one of the founding Pastors of Gospel Community Church and has served with GCC since its inception both on staff and in unpaid capacities. He currently serves as Executive Pastor. He and his wife Rebekah have been married for 11 years and have two amazing, rambunctious children, Scarlett (3) and Jackson (8 months). They have called Lynchburg, VA home for 17 years. Nate received his BS in Psychology, and his MBA from Liberty University. He is an active learner who enjoys discovering all he can about all kinds of things and is especially interested in his family, traveling and the Cleveland Indians.
God-sized dreams are bigger than we could ever imagine accomplishing on our own. Momentum Christian Church in McDonough, GA, launched their first campus in 2007. God gave them the dream to be a family of smaller churches mobilizing people to transform their communities with the Gospel. Last August, they opened their third campus. Dreaming God-sized dreams has led Momentum out of their own buildings, out of their own state, and out of the U.S. to Los Bajos, Ecuador, where they teamed up with Stadia to plant Centro Familiar Monte Horeb Church. Listen as lead pastor, Bart Stone, shares what God has done through Momentum.
More & Better Day of Giving: Bart Stone - Vimeo
As Stadia continues to pursue the vision of every child having a church, the commitment to “every” convicts us. As U.S. population grows while churches close, thousands of new churches are needed every year. Recent studies put the number of new churches needed in the U.S. at 8,600 per year.
But we don’t just need more churches. We need better churches- ones that that effectively reach their communities with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ and then multiply for greater impact.
Momentum is a great example of a Stadia church plant utilizing our full portfolio of services, bucking the national 60% success rate for new church plants nationwide and skyrocketing to a 90% success rate. We need more churches like Momentum with a vision to reach their communities and to extend the Kingdom well beyond their region reaching other countries with the Good News of Jesus – churches better prepared to thrive in the long-term.
Would you help Stadia on our Day of Giving this September 25? (OR you can do it NOW, because the early bird gets the worm!) Click the button below and be a generous church planting partner today.
Please join Stadia in planting More & Better churches, because together, we won’t stop until every child has a church.
Back in May, I traveled to Morada Nova, Brazil on behalf of Stadia with a couple of leaders from Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park, IL. The purpose of our trip was to check in on the new church that Parkview helped to plant through the Stadia and Compassion International partnership and to get some video for an upcoming Child Sponsorship Event.
While we were there the temperatures reached 110 °F. It was very hot. The sun in South America is more intense due to being so close to the equator. The high angle of the sun creates oppressive afternoon conditions. It was very noticeable while we were there. In this particular part of Brazil, the climate is very dry and there is very little rainfall compared to the more tropical conditions of the Amazon Rain Forest. As a result, shade is an important commodity in this part of the region. You can imagine how the sun can weaken those who labor and trudge along. It is easy to become dehydrated and doesn’t take long before your whole body is crying out for relief. The people in this village work long hours for pennies on the dollar to try and support their families. It is difficult to say the least.
As we arrived at the new church building, which is by far the largest and most complete facility in the town— with classrooms, kitchen facilities, restrooms, soccer fields and a large worship space— we were greeted by the pastor of the new congregation and many of the children involved in the Compassion programs. They were very excited to meet the leaders from their partner church that lovingly provided the new facility. They had planned a full afternoon of activities for us. The children would sing us some songs, we would eat lunch together, and then we would share in a unique ceremony of sorts. We were asked to each plant a tree sapling in the courtyard of the new church representing each member of the partnership. I was asked to plant a tree in honor of Stadia, the leaders from Parkview planted a tree in honor of their commitment, and the Compassion director planted a tree in honor of Compassion. It was a touching ceremony. Our prayer that day was that these trees would provide shade from the scorching sun for years to come. A fitting prayer with so much rich imagery.
When you are standing in the sun that close to the equator there is nothing to protect you from the power of the sun’s rays. You can literally feel your skin burning. In Psalm 121, it speaks of the sun “smiting” or “striking down.” However, when under the shade of a tree you can feel your energy return. You experience the sensation of relief. In the Psalms, God is referred to as “shade” many times. The Hebrew word for “shade” is “tzel.” Psalm 63:7 speaks of the “shadow (or tzel) of God’s wings.” Also in Scripture the image of “shade” is used to mean “protection.” For instance, in Numbers 14:9, Joshua reassures the people that the Canaanites will not be able to win against them because their protection (shade, tzel, literally) has been removed from them. Without shade, it is impossible to survive in that land, and if their shade has been removed, they are defenseless. The oppressive sun is an excellent metaphor for the conditions many people live in throughout the developing world in South America. Every day they can feel stricken down and oppressed by their poverty. Just needing some place to regain some strength, some hope, some protection for their children
When a church in the U.S. partners with Stadia and Compassion International through planting a new church, you are literally providing shade to people in remote and under-resourced and under-served areas. Through child sponsorship you are helping children growing up in these oppressive conditions find shadow in His wings. Many people are unaware that Compassion will only facilitate sponsorship for children that are connected with a local church. Meaning, if there is not a church in their area, Compassion cannot facilitate sponsorship for the children who need it the most.
This is where Stadia comes in. We help to locate and vet called and affirmed local pastors in South America who are discipling young leaders to be sent out to lead new churches. Once a pastor is identified, we help to connect the new congregation in South America to a church in the U.S. The U.S. church will fund the building of the church’s meeting space, after which Compassion can establish a Child Development Center in the new church building. The partnership is powerful and God-ordained, because it is the shared conviction of both Stadia and Compassion International that the local church is God’s plan to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We believe that Every Child Should Have A Church.
This is how you can help make sure that Every Child Has A Church:
For a one time gift of $87,000 a church in the U.S. can partner with Stadia and Compassion International to build a church and ministry center where Compassion programs and community services are conducted throughout the week and worship is held on the weekends. The same U.S. church partner is then able to hold a Compassion Sponsorship Event during a Sunday morning gathering so that 200+ children within close proximity of the new church in South America can receive holistic care provided by that church!
Would you consider partnering with us to provide protection from the heat of oppression and shade from the rays of poverty? Would you help us ensure that Every Child Has A Church and the opportunity to fully realize the promise given to them in the Psalms?
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow (tzel) of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” ~ Psalm 91:1-2
Toney, and his wife, Stacie, have been in ministry for over 25 years. The majority of Toney’s ministry has focused on planting new churches in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Stacie has been in Children’s ministry for more than 20 years and currently serves the church they started in Pittsburgh, PA as Children’s Pastor. Toney and Stacie have two great kids. Their son, Tanner, is finishing up his major at Ozark Christian College and will be moving to Tokyo, Japan where he will be a part of a team to plant a new church. Their daughter Haley will graduate HS in May of 2020 and plans to enter ministry after college and work with children and teens. Toney’s role with Stadia is to build relationships with churches and planters in the Northeast region and to help Stadia plant more churches that intentionally care for children in the Northeast and around the world.
In 2003, my then-girlfriend (now wife) Becky found a church online and suggested we check it out. We went to the local movie theater and encountered the launch of Common Ground Christian Church in Fredericksburg, VA. This was my first exposure to church planting. I was invigorated by the energy, passion, and mission of the church and Becky and I dove right in. By 2006, I knew I would be invested in and passionate about church planting for the rest of my life. I knew that there is nothing else on the planet with a more important mission, and the purpose, hope, honest faith, and deep community I had found at Common Ground were things that I wanted everyone I came into contact with to experience.
In 2009, Becky and I moved to my hometown, Annapolis, MD, because of a shift in my career. In Annapolis, we met Josh and Sarah Burnett, who had just moved to town to start the process of planting a new church. Becky and I knew we’d found a new home.
In October 2010, I was serving as the part-time worship pastor on launch Sunday of Revolution Annapolis, a safe place to ask the hard questions about God and faith. Revolution had a church planter in residence, Scott Ancarrow, and along with his wife, Amber, they were planning to start yet another church in Baltimore, 26 miles north of Annapolis. In September of 2013, when the Ancarrows launched The Foundrywith the absolutely beautiful backdrop of Baltimore’s harbor, I was there helping them as their part-time creative arts pastor (while still serving at Revolution! I REALLY love church planting.)
In July 2014, I joined the Stadia team because I was given an opportunity to be a part of helping start dozens of churches. My dream from back in the days of Common Ground was coming true. Missiologist C. Peter Wagner said, “Planting new churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.” I knew this was true because I had seen it in action, and with Stadia, I could help more and more visionary leaders like Josh Burnett and Scott Ancarrow implement the vision God had given them and thrive.
The first time I sat in a room with the whole Stadia team, we were at Verve, a church in Las Vegas. I couldn’t believe I was in the room with this group of church planting veterans and thought leaders. I couldn’t believe I was going to be a part of an organization that had already established a track record of 90% of their church plants still thriving and sharing the Gospel at their fifth birthday. It was appropriate being in Sin City for that meeting, as this was a group of women and men staring Satan in the face and saying, “You can’t stop this.” (More specifically, we said, “You can’t stop this because we won’t stop until every child has a church.”)
I don’t fall in love easily. I’m pragmatic. I think about all the possible outcomes before I abandon myself to that emotion. If you are familiar with the Enneagram, I’m an eight. However, when I fall in love, I fall hard; like all-consuming, never want it to end hard. In middle school, I fell in love with Krist Novelselic’s bass playing on Nirvana’s Nevermind album. In college, I fell in love with Becky Foster and asked her to go out with me weekly, if not daily, from March of my junior year until she finally said, “Okay,” in October of my senior year. Fortunately, she said, “Yes,” the first time I asked her to marry me. I fell in love with church planting like that, too.
When I’m in love, I want to know everything there is to be known about the thing I’m in love with. Want to know about any number of famous bassists (yes, that’s a thing) from the last 40 years? I can probably help. In that room in Las Vegas, I found myself in the same room as many of the people I have been reading about and learning from. They were working with Stadia. Why? Because Stadia is committed to planting more and better churches, and we are aggressively answering God’s call to serve churches and leaders. We need experienced church planters, strategic-thinking project managers, detail-oriented bookkeepers, veteran coaches, people with fresh eyes and sharp minds – and we need people like you who are generous with their finances.
My wife and I give to Stadia, and I hope to continue increasing that amount for the rest of my life. We give because we know first-hand as both church planters and Stadia employees that what Stadia does for leaders will help them thrive and fulfill the mission of sharing the Gospel with their communities. Stadia comes alongside leaders and equips them, supports them, consoles them, and celebrates with them as they strive to change their towns by loving like Jesus loved and serving like Jesus served.
At the very outset of 2019, Stadia announced that we would be providing church planters with our services free of charge and with no strings attached. That has led to an explosion of new partnerships with other organizations with a vision to see communities transformed by new churches. It has led to an influx of new potential church planters the likes of which we have not previously seen. This year, we will plant more churches in the US than we ever have, and next year, we are gearing up to try to double this year’s number.
How many children will grow up with a church home because of these new churches? How many marriages will be saved? How many hungry people will get meals? How many tutors and mentors will be deployed into local schools? How many more times will we be able to cheer together because someone says, “I believe” for the first time?
If that isn’t something worth investing in, then I don’t know what is! I can’t wait to see the baptism pictures, the silhouetted shots of hands in the air as people sing praises together in a room that the previous year had only been thought of as an elementary school cafeteria.
Will you join Becky and I in generously supporting the starting of new churches by investing in Stadia? Join us on Stadia’s first-ever More and Better Day of Giving, September 25, 2019.
Since 2003, Matt has been involved as a volunteer leader and/or staff member in the early stages of four church plants. Two of these churches benefited from Stadia, so he has experienced first-hand how partnering with Stadia benefits churches. Matt has his MBA and has worked in project management in the medical research and development field. Previously Matt has served Stadia as the Director of Global Church Planting and Operations Executive. His passion is to maximize church planting through leadership and bringing clarity to the leaders he serves
Marketing and Strategic Services Executive, Stadia
Statistically, it’s rare when an older adult comes to faith in Christ. Some research indicates that less than 4 percent of people who come to faith in Christ do so after the age of 30. But research also shows that church plants are more effective in reaching people with the Gospel – in lots of ways. Imagine if it was your grandparents accepting Christ for the first time. Listen as recent high school graduate, Elijah Wilkerson with Stadia Church Plant, Engage Church, shares the story of how his grandparents made a life changing decision.
You know that new churches are one of the best ways to bring people into relationship with God and spread the news about Jesus. Churches planted in partnership with Stadia, utilizing our full portfolio of services, generally thrive in ways that differentiate them from other church plants. 90% of Stadia church plants are still engaged in their mission at year 5, while the U.S. average across various denominations and church planting groups is 60% at year three.
You see, we don’t just need more churches…we need better churches … ones that that effectively reach their communities with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ and then multiply for greater impact.
Would you help Stadia on our Day of Giving, September 25?
OR you can do it NOW! Click the button below and be a generous church planting partner today.
This year, Journey Church of Fernley, NV will celebrate its 10th year of existence. TEN YEARS! Journey is a Stadia Church Plant, planted by Rod and Gay Idle and their daughter, Lyndsay, in September of 1999. Through the training and support of Stadia and a lot of hard work, Journey quickly became a strong voice in our community.
Since its inception, Journey has gone through some pretty great times. It has also gone through some very difficult times. I took over as Lead Pastor in February of 2017 after the Idle clan decided to move back to the east coast to be closer to family. At the time, I was on staff as the Associate Pastor. I decided to throw my name into the hat for the next Lead Pastor and after a few months of pastoral church, the elders decided to ask me to take over the position. As the Associate, I had seen the many struggles that come with being a church plant in a smaller city. Losing our Founding Pastor brought on its own set of struggles and was a very difficult period in the life of Journey.
Journey has had its fair share of difficult times, but in those difficult times, we have always witnessed God raising the right people up at the right time. He has always proven Himself faithful. If I have one word of encouragement for you, it is that “God’s Got This!” This has become a cultural value at Journey. No matter what we are going through, good or bad, we know that “God’s Got This.”
You will hear these words uttered from the lips of our staff and volunteers when those you were counting on fail to show for the 3rd time in a row. “God’s Got This!” You will hear these words spoken at our Finance Team meetings when it looks as if our tithes are not going to be able to cover the bills this month. “God’s Got This!” You will hear these words in an elder’s meeting as we say good-bye to another highly invested family as they move away to another assignment. “God’s Got This!” You will hear the words, “God’s Got This” in almost every difficult situation we face. And the thing is, we have seen God come through every single time.
But it’s not just in the difficult times you will hear this phrase recited. You will also hear these words spoken as we celebrate 5 new baptisms as new believers take another step in their relationship with Christ. “God’s Got This!” You will hear them again as we pray for the guy who just last year was making fun of our Christian bands at our Extreme Tour Skate Competition and now is accepting Jesus as his personal Savior. “God’s Got This!” You will hear these words uttered in our prayers as we minister to the couple who has decided that their marriage is worth fighting for. “God’s Got This!” And you will hear them once again from the man walking into Celebrate Recovery to receive his 1 year anniversary chip of sobriety. “God’s Got This!”
Church Planting (and ministry in general) is not for the faint of heart. But, of course, you already know that. The thing that I have learned in my seven years at a church plant is that when times are good and when times get tough, God has ALWAYS Got This! God always shows up right at the right time.
You will be amazed at how many times God brings individuals in to replace those you once thought irreplaceable. You will be amazed at how God works His calculator to stretch an already tight budget into one that meets every single need right on time. You will be amazed at the life changes that take place in those you once thought were a “lost cause.”
You will be amazed… IF you just open your eyes and see that God’s Got This.
My challenge for you (if you choose to accept it) is to keep your eyes open to how and when God shows you that He’s Got This. It’s easy to get discouraged and take our eyes off of the miracles that happen around us every single day. So make an effort to keep your eyes open. Write down what you see. Celebrate it with your staff and volunteers. Have a Jesus Party with your church every once in awhile to celebrate that God’s Got This! Recount the stories and share in the victories.
You will go through some tough times. Journey has definitely gone through some really tough times; some of them should have probably destroyed the church. But we kept our eyes open and took note of the times where we witnessed the reality that God’s Got This. Because He really, really does.
Graduated from Point University (Atlanta Christian College) in 2008 with a degree in Biblical Studies then from Liberty University in 2015 with a Masters in Leadership, Clint is passionate about character, growth, and the Atlanta Braves. He is marred to his wife Brooke and has 2 completely normal yet perfectly rambunctious children: Emerson and Hadley.