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Hi Friends and Family,

For many of you this is your first time visiting and we want to start off by saying thanks for dropping by! We hope this site can be a place where we can dialogue together about our adventures in church planting. So we welcome your questions, insight, and comments.

You’ll find a number of posts we’ve already begun. Feel free to read as much or as little as you’d like. Also we encourage your participation in this so let us know what you think – if you agree, disagree, or want clarification.

Thanks again for all your love and support!


Nate and Sam


Hi Everyone,

We have a couple of updates as far as donations go.

1. If you’d like to donate and you’re in the U.S. you can do so right from this website. Check out the Donate Online link on our home page directly below the title line – from there you can find a link to the Family in Christ Community Church website. Once you find yourself on their site you have a couple of options – you can either make a one time gift or you can schedule regular monthly giving.

2. If you’d like to donate and you’re in Canada and you’d like a income tax credit, we have a solution. Unfortunately we cannot do donations through the web, but we’ve networked with the CRC Home Missions office in Burlington, ON and they are willing to receive donations on our behalf. Once received they’ll forward them on to Family in Christ. If you’d like to choose this option be sure to explicitly note that it is for the residency of Nate and Sam in Denver, CO. Here’s the address you can send it to:

CRCNA Home Missions

3475 Mainway
PO Box 5070 STN LCD 1
Burlington, ON L7R 3Y8 Canada

All that being said we really appreciate all of your support both financially and in prayer. We have been blessed thus far with many gifts and we trust that God will continue to supply all of our needs.

Hi Everyone,

If you’d like to keep up to date with our thoughts, experiences, and joys of church planting subscribe to our blog by clicking on the “Sign me up!” button on the left side of our home page.

Thanks for visiting our site!

Our blessed year has included: an anniversary celebration in Washington D.C., our graduation from Calvin Seminary, C.J. our 8 month old chocolate lab, interning in Albuquerque, NM, and clarity about moving to Denver to become church planters. Thanks be to God!

Please continue to consider partnering with us as we look to plant a church in Denver. For regular updates and to keep in touch feel free to subscribe to our blog (click the subscribe feature on the left hand side of the home page).

We hope your Christmas Season is filled with Joy!

Sam and Nate

As we talk about church planting with people we know and love, there are a couple of key questions that almost everyone asks. Let’s explore them:

  • Why plant new churches? Why not work to revive existing congregations that are struggling?

1. We have a biblical mandate to evangelize.

Quite simply – planting churches is the best way to carry out the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). Here Jesus calls us to make disciples and to baptize, both of which help incorporate individuals into a community of faith. C. Peter Wagner, a leading missiologist (a person who studies missions), argues, “Planting churches is the most effective evangelistic methodology known under heaven.” Not only do we have a mandate to evangelize, but we also have biblical examples of reaching those distant from faith through church planting. The key example is found in Paul’s missionary journeys as he worked to establish churches in nearly every city he visited.

2. We have a need for more churches.

In the last 100 years the church-to-population ratio has declined drastically. The number of churches has increased just over 50% while the population in the U.S. has quadrupled. In 1900 there was one church to every 357 people, but in 2004 there was one church to every 909 people. There is a need throughout North America for new churches.

Some may argue that the U.S. and Canada are already evangelized and therefore we should focus our evangelistic efforts elsewhere. This argument is simply false. In the U.S. there are 120 million secular/undiscipled people. The U.S. is the largest mission field in the Western hemisphere. The U.S. is the fifth largest mission field on earth.

3. Our present methods aren’t working.

We have a need for new churches. Some might argue that we need to revitalize the struggling congregations in our denomination before we plant. While we agree that such revitalization is needed, we struggle with the concept. Often saving dying congregations is more difficult and ultimately more costly than planting new ones. When we consider being good stewards of God’s Kingdom resources we find that it is often more responsible to plant new churches.

Not only does it make financial sense to plant new churches, but it is also proven that planting new churches is the best form of evangelism (note Wagner’s quote above). Studies show that on the average 60-80% of the members of church plants were not previously attending any worshiping body, while churches that have been established 10-15 years gain 80-90% of their new members by transfer from other congregations. In short, the average church plant will bring 6 to 8 times more new people into the Body of Christ than an older congregation of the same size.

Also, new churches are better at reaching new residents, younger adults, and new social groups than are established churches. Why? Simply because new congregations provide access, ownership, and leadership opportunities to these fresh faces right away, while older established churches often require people in such groups  to wait several years before they are viewed as prospective leaders.

  • Why plant in the Denver area? Why not in Chicago or Western Michigan where you guys know more people?

There are many reasons why we feel called to plant in Denver. First, God has led us to the Denver area. We first kicked around the idea of church planting in Denver over a year ago. But felt God leading us to accept an internship opportunity in Albuquerque, NM, but while here in ABQ we found ourselves within classis Rocky Mountain. At a classis meeting last October we were approached by three successful CRC church planters and the regional director of Home Missions. They asked to consider planting a church in the greater Denver area. After much prayer and many long conversations we do believe that God is calling us to the Denver area.

We also feel called to the Denver area because these three church planters have promised us their support. They will coach, mentor, and supervise us in our efforts. The Denver area provides us this network of encouragement. Ultimately, the goal is to plant ten churches in the area in the next ten years and we will be on the front end of this movement.

Finally we believe we are called to the Denver area because since we’ve let people know what the plan is we’ve been overwhelmed with encouragement. Whether through phone calls, emails, or quick conversations many of you have shared your excitement about God’s call on our lives. Thank you for that!

We hope this has helped answer some of your questions. If you’d like to chat or have more questions – please contact us. You can post here on the blog or email us – we’d love to talk more with you.

For more reading on why we should plant churches check out the document below written by Tim Keller or click on the link to Ed Stetzer’s blog. Also we’d like to credit these two authors for providing us the hard data and statistics found above. They come from Stetzer’s Planting Missional Churches and Keller’s Church Planting Manual.

Tim Keller on “Why Plant Churches?”

Dear Friends and Family,

Hello! It has been a while since we have seen many of you and we want to update you on our lives.  We are very excited as we anticipate what God has in store for us next!

As you may know, for the past four years we’ve been following God through our studies at Calvin Seminary. As we conclude this chapter of our lives, we sense that God is now calling us to a new adventure – planting a new church in Denver! This area of the nation is heavily unchurched – nearly 88% of its residents are not a part of a local church body.

While recently visiting Denver, we saw firsthand the desperate need people have for the gospel.  This need, throughout the city, haunts us and weighs heavy on our hearts. We cannot escape it. And so, after much prayer and reflection, we believe God is challenging us to bring His life-giving light into this dark corner.  Since research shows the most effective way to share the gospel is by starting new churches, we have committed ourselves to becoming church planters.

But we do not embark on this mission alone. Three established Christian Reformed Church plants and their mission-minded pastors: Rick Ebbers from “The Journey” in Longmont, CO; Paul Jorden from “Family in Christ” in Westminster, CO; and Shawn Sikkema from “Eastern Hills” in Aurora, CO. will be assisting us in this effort.  They are the lead team for The Denver Cluster – a group of church planters and plants that focus on engaging the unchurched throughout the Denver area.

Our time serving Chelwood Christian Reformed Church in Albuquerque has been challenging and rewarding work. We love the people here and yet it is not an option for long time service. Once we conclude our time here in April we will move to Denver to begin our yearlong residency. This residency is an opportunity to learn from experienced, successful church planters while learning to adapt to a new culture. We will spend our time working with one of the local churches, supporting their ministry, and surveying various neighborhoods. All in the effort to discern exactly where God is calling us to serve.  Following this yearlong residency we, along with a core group from our partnering church, will plant a church in a Denver neighborhood.

We recognize this is a daunting task and yet we also know there is a tremendous need. We feel called to bring people the good news of Christ’s gracious gift, the good news that transforms hearts, minds, and ultimately culture itself.

We know that God is at work in the Denver area and that He is directing us to join him in that.  But we also know that we cannot join God in this work by ourselves. We cannot bring the transformative message alone. We need others to partner with us in this mission. We need you to partner with us. We are called as a couple, but we invite all of you, our friends and our family, to join us in this calling.

Please consider partnering with us as we seek to shine the light of Christ into the Denver area. Please partner with us in prayer. We need your prayers. You are all people who play important roles in our lives. Pray for discernment, clarity, and courage as we step out in faith. Pray also for the churches we will partner with in the Denver area. Finally, pray for those who are unchurched. Pray for those who God will reach through our efforts, that they may be transformed by the Holy Spirit.

Also please consider partnering with us financially. Our effort to share the gospel is one that requires financial support. We’ve been informed that we need to raise $90,000 for this year of residency and more beyond that to launch the church plant itself. We hope to raise $20,000 by year’s end and have $50,000 in commitments by Easter 2010. One time year-end gifts are terrific. We are also hoping many of you will consider contributing each month and of course all of these gifts are tax deductible. We look forward to updating you monthly.

We know that these are difficult financial times and yet we recognize that the Holy Spirit is at work and God’s message of salvation must be shared. Please consider supporting our efforts. Enclosed is a pledge card that suggests some potential gifts.  Look it over and pray about it. Pray about how God might enable you to partner in the sharing of the good news to the people in Denver.

We thank you for being such a wonderful support system for us both. We praise God that He has surrounded us with an amazing group of friends and family. Thank you for your love. We love you all and we hope to hear from you soon.


Nate and Sam

P.S.  Feel free to contact us and share in our excitement.

Sam’s Cell: (708) 203-0937

Nate’s Cell: (616) 450-0239

Welcome to our blog! We’ll provide regular updates right here as we begin to walk this new adventure of church planting.

December 2009
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