My wife, Elena, and I have been in church planting for 25 years. We recently attended the 25-year celebration of the first church we started. It was satisfying to reunite with old friends and see the congregation doing well. The attendees included some of our original team members and some of the church planters we had sent out from that first church. Elena and I stayed at that place of worship for eight years, during which time we sent out two other church-planting teams.
Every once-in-a-while I get the question, “Why should we plant new churches?” Here are some of the answers I have given over time:
One time on a flight from Baltimore to Sacramento I was sitting next to a guy who asked what I do. When I told him that I help people start churches he said, “Really, I’m starting a church – how do you do that?” So, we talked for a bit as I briefly described the process. I began asking him questions about his goals, etc. When I asked him, “So what kind of church are you trying to start?” He said, “An Atheist Church.” Long story short, he turned out to be the guy from Sacramento that sued to get “One nation under God” out of the pledge of allegiance.
We have a number of active church plants going on right now from a wide background of ethnicities. Having been a church planter, I know how lonely that can sometimes get. I also know the encouragement that other churches were to me at times, and also how we were able to encourage other plants and planters once we were established. Here are some ideas of how you and your church can be involved. If you would like us to pair you up with our amazing planters, please let me know and we will do so asap.
Some of you might not know this, but I actually have two full-time jobs. My volunteer job (better yet my calling) is to co-lead HOUSE SF alongside my husband Craig Matos. However, on top of that I also work a 9-5 job in the health-tech industry as an Office Manager. In my 9-5 role I look after our office facilities, on-boarding, and oversee our entire culture for the company. The company I work for is a non-profit that helps under-served communities receive better healthcare through technology and education. I’m very thankful I have the opportunity to be in both the workplace and church leadership. It helps me to stay grounded and connected to our city.
I recently took a trip to the city to visit two of our newest church plants - House SF, led by pastors Craig and Anne Marie Matos, and New Vine Community Church, pioneered by pastors Ted and Sandy Kang, and of course, their amazing teams.
A story helps to paint a picture. It invites you on a journey, and it’s always full of twists and turns. As a HOUSE we love to hear stories. Whether it’s meeting someone for the first time and hearing the story of how they came to San Francisco, the stories represented within our own church family and being encouraged by all the amazing things God is doing behind the scenes, or even a good story from a complete stranger talking about their own personal journey through the good, the bad, the ugly. There is something powerful that takes place when we share them.
Craig and I have attempted to write down our story. It helps us to remember where we came from, why we started, and serves as a healthy reminder of what God has done and will continue to do.
When we got a call from Bill’s mentor, Don, that cold, winter day in 1987, I knew things were probably about to change. He asked, “What would you think about moving back to San Diego and planting a church with me?”
We were living in Massachusetts at the time, enjoying the fruit of our labor at our first church plant. We loved our city, our people, the snow (kinda), good friends, Dunkin Donuts and life on the east coast. Why in the world would we move? God.