Jesus describes Himself as the Light of the world. As His followers we are asked to let His light shine, through us, to a dark and dying world. We’re called to do this in the Antioch / Pittsburg / Bay Point area.
WHY ANTIOCH / PITTSBURG / BAY POINT?
When Jesus gave His first disciples the assignment of preaching the Gospel to all the world, He started by instructing them to begin at home (Jerusalem) and to work their way out to Judea, Samaria and then the uttermost parts of the earth.
Antioch / Pittsburg / Bay Point - is a strategic area for locating a church plant for several reasons: 1. It is the home of people in need: These cities have higher crime and lower income rates than other cities nearby. 2. It has a diverse population: With approximately 35% white, 35% Hispanic and 20% African American, this area has the potential to ripple the Gospel outward in all directions. 3. It’s nearby: Therefore it can be readily resourced with supplies and manpower for special needs and events.
OUR GOAL: To begin a “Church Planting Movement” (CPM). A “CPM” requires an exponential increase. It compounds when one church becomes two; two churches become four; four churches become eight and so on. This type of increase only occurs when new churches are started by the churches themselves and not by the initial church planters.
WHY: To continue to fulfill the Great Commission mandate, by making disciples in our “Judea” by reaching people far from God and making them disciples who are equipped to do the same for the glory of God. “CPM’s offer the greatest potential for the largest number of lost individuals to come to Christ and to enter into communities of faith.
HOW: By using a two-fold approach
Approach # 1: Starting a network of multiplying house churches
• Sharing Christ: The Gospel is a “virus” that must be spread. Statistics say that new believers are most effective at sharing their faith, because they have the most friends and family that are far from God. We believe that Jesus intended new believers to be “born pregnant”; that is, they are ready to reproduce more new Christians, from day one. Our church planting method capitalizes on the capacity of new Christians to “go viral” in the same way. New believers will be equipped and challenged to share their testimony, with their family and friends, immediately after they accept Christ. This “viral” growth is happening in other continents around the world.
What’s more, as our “Training For Trainers” mentors have demonstrated, it has already begun to happen here in the United States!
• Planting House Churches: As with Jesus’ assignment to his followers, we will strategically enter new neighborhoods and communities by: ● Praying over targeted areas as we regularly walk the neighborhoods ● Identifying receptive individuals. ● Sharing the Gospel and beginning house groups that become house churches ● Equipping group members to share their faith. ● Challenging new and older believers alike to immediately begin applying what they have learned. ● Encouraging and overseeing house church members, as they plant new house churches.
Approach #2: When 15 house churches have been formed, we will begin “Monthly Gatherings” of house churches. They will occur on selected Sunday afternoons, at a designated location. “Monthly Gatherings” will include:
● A time of worship with our worship band ● Sharing what God is doing at individual house churches ● Training for making disciples. ● Commissioning for another month in the “harvest.” ● sharing a meal together. ● encouraging and challenging members to continue to reach out into the harvest, for the glory of God. ● Beginning new house groups that become house churches ● Equipping group members to share their faith. ● Challenging new and older believers alike to immediately begin applying what they have learned. ● Encouraging and overseeing house church members, as they plant new house churches
THREE KEYS TO CHURCH PLANTING
1. Launch Team - Lead Pastor, Jay Ashcraft: Jay’s primary gifts are preaching/teaching, leadership, evangelism and equipping the saints for ministry. He has ministered at a variety of churches including most recently at Valley Community Church in Pleasanton, California, where he served for 13 years. Previously he served at First Baptist Church of Narragansett, Rhode Island for over a decade. Jay and his wife Jan (both graduates of Denver Seminary), have recruited and developed staff and volunteers and launched multiple ministries from the ground up in Nebraska, Colorado, Rhode Island and California. The staff and core team will be made up of people who feel called to reach out to the Antioch / Pittsburg / Bay Point, California Area. They will personally invest their time, talents and treasures toward reaching this area for Christ. 2. The Support Team - The support Team is a team of people who will partner with First Light staff and core teams, to fulfill the Great Commission by: • Praying for God’s purposes to be fulfilled through this Church Network. • Giving financially toward the work. • Volunteering at outreach events and eventually at monthly gatherings. 3. The Local Community - The First Light Network of Churches will exist for the sake of the local community. This network of churches will grow as people are reached, disciples are made and partners are incorporated into church families.
While one way to think about providing support is by recognizing the expected costs below. Another way to “quantize” the effectiveness of First Light Ministries, is to think in terms of the number of house churches planted. In this way, an individual or organization, can choose to invest in the planting of one or more individual house churches, at a cost of $1500 per house church. This type of support could be provided on a renewable basis. Our prayer is that we will see one or more house churches planted every 5 months and that these numbers will continue to grow exponentially. Naturally, this will depend on the movement of the Spirit of God, who can do exceedingly abundantly above what we ask or think.
START-UP EXPENSES: Computer, monitor, training and travel.............................................................$10,000 Mailers, fliers, Banners, Food Supplies, Entertainment.....................................$3,000 Office Expenses: business cards, stationery, website, office supplies.........,.....$3,000 Lead Pastor Salary:..........................................................................................$35,000 Worship Leader, Band and Equipment Expenses,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,............,,$3,000 Health Insurance, retirement, mileage reimbursement ......................................$9,000 Building Rental Fees...........................................................................................$6,600 Total: ....$69,600 Start-up Model - Since this Church Plant “start-up” is in the context of an ever expanding Church Planting Movement (CPM), the same amount of financial need will be incurred each year. After the initial three years, donors may want to evaluate whether to commit to continuing their church planting expansion initiatives.