I have been actively sharing the Gospel since January 2011. My personal ministry looked nothing like what I imagined it would look. Everything I wanted for it did not happen. God was taking it in a different direction. Every moment of surrender was met with amazing opened doors that I would have never planned and could have never imagined. I started reaching into many countries within the 4-10 window and every state within the United States. As I write this, there are only 18 countries in the world that I haven’t been able to reach into. That is significant and I really had no hand in it whatsoever.
In January of 2019, I felt as though God wanted me to get involved in church-planting. I made the commitment to walk through whatever doors God would open and I was supporting a sister church in Monrovia, Liberia by the end of March. As of June, we have planted another church campus in Monrovia and are discipling and vetting a few more men around the world. I realized how organic church-planting is and the need to do this in such a way that the Gospel is rightly contextualized and such that pastors continue to receive training, support, and spiritual investment. I could not find any other missions organization that is doing things in this way. I am starting Christoa Ministries because I am already doing this work, but the work is bigger than me.
There are a couple of questions you might ask. Why not do this under the umbrella of the local church? Why not work to support another missions organizations like the IMB or NAMB? Why not simply support independent missionaries? God was laying something different on my heart.
Why not under a local church?
The process on deciding to start my own non-profit was not an easy one. I believe that the work of discipleship and church planting is primarily the work of the local church. I also recognize that this type of organization is essentially a parachurch organization. This is why the organization must always operate under the doctrinal authority of the local church in which the president is a member. This means that, starting out and while I serve as the president, Christoa Ministries is under the doctrinal authority of the elders at the church where I am a member.
I went back and forth. The reality is simply that most local churches are not equipped administratively to handle such a dynamic ministry and budget. We needed a team of people who are able to handle the financial load and diversity without distracting the local church from simply doing the ministry of the word. In essence, I did not want my local body to be burdened administratively to the point at which it is focussed more on raising money than sharing the Gospel. Part of my burden and my reason for starting Christoa Ministries is that I don’t want local churches to be so burdened that they are focussed on anything other than sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
This method simply gives us the freedom and capacity to train, evaluate, and fund pastors, and grants the administrative capacity to continue training and supporting the pastors we are funding. It also protects the local church from simply multiplying itself and planting campuses of itself- which is limited in its effect and usually ends up exalting a personality. Our desire is to decrease as Christ increases. In doing this, the local church and the pastors of local churches are empowered and equipped for the work of the Gospel. The local church is recognized as the agent God has in place to accomplish His work- not this parachurch organization.
Why not simply work to support other missions organizations?
What we are doing is different. While other missions organizations send career missionaries, we actually begin by sharing the Gospel in a region. I’ve been doing this since January 2011. As people come to Christ, we get to disciple them. Many of the men we disciple become pastors to their own communities. We aren’t using our resources to train missionaries who have to figure out how to contextualize the Gospel. Pastors are locals and already know how to communicate the Gospel. Whereas many American missionaries spend years working to see a single person come to know Christ, local pastors already know how to communicate, already know the nuances of the language, already know the culture, and are already familiar to people in their communities. These are often communities, villages, or cities where our pastors grew up.
According to the International Mission Board, the average global cost to send one career missionary was $59,500/year according to the approved 2017/18 budget. As I write this, our average cost to train, establish, and provide ongoing support to locals is less than $6,000/year per lead network pastor. These pastors are raising more pastors who are planting churches. I love the work of the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board, but we are doing something different. This work would not be accomplished simply by supporting only other existing missions organizations. There is a breadth of work to be done and there needs to be a variety of Biblically centered methods in order for us to participate in God’s building of His church. While my local church does give to the cooperative program, we also want to actively participate in training local pastors. So, I want to do things in such a way that the work is still missions work, but will help to cover the regions of the world where we can’t or haven’t sent missionaries. The relationship between this missions organization and other Biblically centered missions organizations is symbiotic, not competitive.
Why not simply support independent missionaries?
The intention many churches have when they support independent missionaries is good, but there is usually a lack of theological training and personal spiritual development for the independent missionaries churches choose to support. I want to invest in people by equipping and providing spiritual development. This is why we are not simply funding missionaries. We are interacting with pastors worldwide almost daily and training them while discipling more men who will become pastors in their own countries and states.
Thank you all for your support as God opens doors. I want to invite you to explore this website, see what God is already doing, and, if God is leading you, become a charter donor. Fill out the form on the donation page. You will receive your charter donor certificate and first invoice once our articles of incorporation go through. Let’s participate together as God builds His church and as His church walks in the good deeds that have been prepared for her!