We're Officially an Acts 29 Church Plant

Netcast Church Beverly, MA
Matt Chewning
Feb 23, 2011
Series: Church Profiles
Categories: Church Planting Articles

Briefly describe your story of your call to plant a church.

I started serving in youth ministry at Daystar Christian Fellowship in Greensboro NC in 2005. At the time, we had just hired a new associate pastor who had a big vision for the youth of our city. We gutted a church building and turned it into a youth facility where Jesus would be made much of. Within 1 year we went from about 30 students to almost 500. Because of the growth, it opened up a ton of opportunities to disciple young people, preach, teach, and shephard students. During that time, God began to plant in my heart the desire to move back to Greater Boston to plant. He did this through dreams at first and then began to confirm it through my wife. Because I was very young (24 years old) I knew I was not ready to proceed. So, I submitted the calling to 4 of my pastors and asked them to release us when they felt my family was mature enough to pursue this. About a year later all 4 men came to Beth and I indepedant of eachother and encouraged us to pursue the calling. From there we wanted to connect with a Network and submit to a process that would clarify the call or kill the call. We honestly were a little undecided about whether we wanted to do this. At the time, I was climbing the corporate ladder and was living the "American Dream" with a new house, new cars, 4 kids, and a well paying job. That is when we connected with the Acts 29 Network. The Network and assessment team did an incredible job seeing areas of immaturity, pride and a lacking in understanding the gospel outside of salvation. However, they said that they did see a calling on our family so assigned conditions for us to fulfill over the next year before moving to plant. We left our church, I quit my job, and began fundraising and interning at an Acts 29 Church Plant in Winston Salem NC called 1.21 Church. God was so gracious to our family during that time.

How did you build up your core? What advice would you give to guys in the core-stage?

We started to engage our demographic and culture through Q&A video's online. Since we were still living in NC and hadn't moved yet, we wanted to somehow connect with the area we would eventually move to. So, we connected with a college missions team and had them gather some of the biggest questions and issues that people had towards evangelicalism. Then I began to answer some of the questions via video, and post them all over the web via twitter/facebook specific to our demographic. This created a buzz that was unexpected. Before we even moved, I had already made a ton of connections with our area using social media. So, then as we moved and started getting settled, I was able to meet with these people in person. Some were believers, others weren't. This was key to both gathering a core and getting an understanding of what my culture believed about Christianity, Jesus and the church. From there, I connected with a guy online who runs all of th e local city facebook pages and has about 180,000 followers. He isn't a Christian but we became friends and he is now on our core team (Still not a believer, but Christ is wooing him). By God's grace he gave me access to all of his pages (again, access to 180,000 local people) and allowed me to plug Jesus and the church plant whenever I wanted. This opened up incredible opportunities from meeting with people, to getting in local magazines, to gathering a core.

What were the biggest challenges you faced in planting your church (and/or currently facing)?

The biggest challanges to us was the instability and change of schedule. Because being a church planter is who I am and not what I do, it was very hard for me to balance my life, family and the church plant. I would either feel like I was working too much or not working enough. I knew that my family was priority so I would at times feel that I was neglecting the church in order to be available to the family. Other times, I would feel like I was neglecting the family to tend to the church plant. It took a while to feel like I had a balance and I am still learning how to do this. Also, before we moved, I never really believed in a sabbath. It took about 2 weeks for me to realize the necessity of rest. I struggled with emotional highs, lows and occasional depression until I realized how important rest is.

How did you become involved with Acts 29? What have been the biggest benefits of being in the network?

My involvement with Acts 29 started with Driscoll. I started to listen to him years before I felt called to plant. Then as I studied reformed theology I got more fimiliar with the influencers of the Network. So, when we began to feel called to church planting, it was only natural to pursue a relationship with Acts 29. I trusted them. The biggest benefits that the Network has had for us has been in the brotherhood, coaching and assessment. Had I not connected with Acts 29, I would have no pursuit of humility (I am not a humble man), no understanding of the Gospel, and all about building a Sunday show so people would come and hear me speak about a moral lesson from the bible. By God's grace, the Network has helped me love Jesus and understand the gospel in ways I never though possible before.

What advice do you have for men who are wrestling with the decision to plant?

1. Make sure you are called.
2. Assessment is necessary. Humble yourself to a process.
3. Trust your wife. She sees things you don't.
4. Do not let fear dictate your decisions.
5. Seek older Godly wisdom from men who have told you "No" before.

What's the most important thing you'd want to share with a new church planter?

I would say; be patient. When God calls you to something, it very rarely means "NOW". Recognize that Jesus is more interested in your sanctification than he is in your church plant. Humble yourself to the process that God puts before you and don't rush anything. Christ will build his church and you may be one of those men whom he uses to do it. However, if you under-estimate the work of Christ in the process and only focus on the end goal, than you will miss what Christ desires to do in your heart, your family and your sanctification.

How do you pastor your family?

I am still learning this. Pastoring my family is much different than pastoring the church. I don't preach to my wife and kids, I don't have constant spiritual conversations with them, we don't do a formal bible study or have a consistant family worship time. I take Pauls words serious when he says, "Follow me as I follow Christ." I pastor my family by loving and following Christ. I use teachable opportunities to teach my wife and kids about our sin the cross, God's grace, love, and His sovereignty, etc. I pastor my family by modeling repentance to my wife and kids by being quick to appologize and turn from sin when I sin against them. I pastor my family by modeling a love for the bible by loving the scriptures. I pastor my family by serving my wife and kids.

Outside of the Bible, what is the most helpful book you have read for church planting?

Either Planting Missional Churches by Stetzer or The Reason For God by Keller.

Church Profile: Netcast Church
Launch Date: January 2011

Mission, Vision, Values of Church

Mission: Encouraging the world with the hope of Jesus.

Vision: A diverse community pursuing intimacy with Christ and influence in the city.

Core Values:
1. Diverse.
2. Community.
3. Intimacy.
4. Influence.

Our desire for Netcast Church is to be a Jesus worshipping, sent people (Matthew 28:16-20); Empowered and filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8); living in diverse community with each other (Acts 2:42-47). We believe that doing this will help us fulfill our mission of seeing people transformed by the gospel and equipped to live missionally in their worlds

What are some examples of God's grace that you have seen in your life and/or the life of your church?

How God used 1.21 Church and Daystar to give us a good balance of being missional and yet not unattractive. How God provided every financial need at just the right time. How God has built an incredible team at Netcast in just a few months. How God has used Acts 29 in my sanctification and the sanctification of my bride.

How can we pray for you?

Pray for wisdom as I am in way over my head right now.

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