We Won’t Stop!
I remember climbing into the flood-stage Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg, VA on a surprisingly chilly May day to be baptized by Bret Koontz, associate pastor of the church I had just discovered. That church, Common Ground, was 7 months old at the time. I knew things were different when my head popped out of that water and I struggled not to be swept away in the muddy current. What I didn’t know was that the experience of coming to know Jesus in a church plant would so completely transform my thinking that helping others have the same experience would become my life’s passion.
Fast-forward nearly 20 years, and I have had the opportunity to baptize several people, including my wife and daughter, in church plants where I have served. And most incredibly, I’ve been able to serve with Stadia Church Planting since 2014 and get a front-row seat to how God is calling and empowering leaders to start new churches all over the world so that more and more people have my same experience: a life-altering encounter with Jesus, savior and God of the universe. At my second staff retreat, we lit 52 candles, representing the 52 churches that Stadia had helped start that year. It was amazing. One new church per week. Looking back on that cherished memory from Dr. Tom Jones’ living room, I realize now that I had no idea what God was getting ready to do. I realize now that my vision for how the Great Commission is accomplished was too small.
In 2019, Stadia and our partners helped amazing leaders plant 243 churches around the world. These brand-new churches are loving their neighborhoods as Jesus loved in 11 countries across the globe. In Latin America, 6,816 children have been sponsored in new churches planted as a part of Stadia’s partnership with Compassion International. Each of those kids represents about 30 people hearing the Gospel and having an opportunity for that eternity-altering moment with Jesus. That’s around 200,000 people!! How many of them will come up out of their baptism water and dedicate themselves to caring for and expanding the reach of the bride of Christ?
If you’ve spent any time around Stadia Church Planting in the last few years, there’s one phrase you’ve probably heard many, many times: “We won’t stop!” Two years ago, we celebrated Eastown Church in San Ramon, CA, our 500th church plant. In the first quarter of 2020, we will be celebrating our 1000th church plant (come celebrate with us on the Tuesday night of Exponential)! We are planning to help 400 leaders start new churches in 2020 and even expanding to help leaders in new countries. We believe 1,000 churches per year is around the corner. When I was holding one of those 52 candles a few years ago, I wouldn’t have believed that, but now I know. The Kingdom of God cannot be stopped. We have been instructed to go and make disciples of all nations, and Stadia Church Planting is committed to serving the leaders starting new churches all over the world in obedience to Jesus’ commission. We won’t stop until every child has a church!
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.