Category Archives: RECLAIM

Our Person of Peace

In my last update on the Silver Lake Church Plant I mentioned that we are still fundraising and building a team. We’ve got a benefit auction coming up in September. We’ve also just started core team meetings in LA!

With the start of our efforts in LA I also began to pray for God to send laborers into his harvest and to bring us a person of peace.

Mission experts have discovered that the “person of peace” is a crucial concept from scripture that is key to reaching new communities with the gospel. When Jesus was training his disciples to spread the gospel in new villages he told them to look for certain sons of peace that would help them accomplish their mission:

“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’”

The person of peace is someone who shows special hospitality to God’s workers. They don’t necessarily already have faith in Jesus, but for whatever reason they feel motivated to help the people doing God’s work. They open their homes, they give generously, and they have relationships with people who need Jesus.

As we have prayed for God to build us a team of laborers for the harvest, we have asked that people would be willing to move with us to LA to plant this church. God is beginning to answer this prayer, as we have about a dozen people meeting to pray as part of our weekly core team meetings. We also have been praying to find people of peace.

Recently we found several people of peace, and I’d like to tell you about one of them.

My new friend Reggie is a person of peace.

Reggie owns a deli on the corner of Sunset and Glendale Blvd. He’s been in business there for about a year, and even though he doesn’t typically go to church, he is very grateful for all the Christians that have helped him get his business off the ground.

When we met Reggie we were actually walking past his shop to try to find a nearby coffee shop for our new core team to meet in. We asked him for directions, and he asked how he could help. His deli is usually open until 7pm, but within 5 minutes of meeting us he offered to stay open late once a week so our group could meet. He didn’t need us to buy anything or do anything for him… he just wanted to help. And he had parking in the back for us. And finding parking on Sunset is a HUGE deal! 🙂

We believe that a healthy new church will grow if God is the one to do it. Although we’ve been working hard and making plans, miraculous encounters like this are better than all of our efforts combined!

Please pray that we would have more miraculous encounters with people of peace.

Please pray that the Lord would bring laborers to this harvest by growing our core team.

Please consider getting involved and supporting our efforts.

  • Anyone is welcome to join us at Reggie’s Deli (1910 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles) at 6:30pm on Wednesday nights.
  • You can also give or even set up recurring financial gifts at centralchristian.org if you select the church planting option from the appropriate drop down menu after clicking “sign-up” to give.
  • We’d also love to invite your participation at our benefit auction on September 9th, whether by donation of items ahead of time, or by coming to bid and have fun.

God is building his church. People are encountering Jesus. It’s all for his glory. Thanks for your support.

-Andrew

Silver Lake Express Benefit Auction

As you know, after years of praying and preparing, Katie and I are moving to Silver Lake to plant a church that is committed to making disciples in the city of Los Angeles. Our first core team prayer meeting is tomorrow night at Reggie’s Deli in Echo Park, and we can’t wait to see where this leads.

By planting a new church that is faithful to the biblical standard, but contextualized to the unique need of the local culture, we hope to succeed where others have fallen short. Toward that end, we need financial backing.

We would like to invite you to help us make an impact on the Silver Lake community by participating in a private fundraising auction for the church plant on Friday, September 9th starting at 6:00 p.m. Your participation will help us to make this auction a success.

Please consider how you can help:

1) Become an event sponsor with a cash donation to cover costs or purchase auction items to sell.

2) By contributing new items, services or gift cards. Vacation stays, gift items, tools, furniture and event tickets are some items that can be considered.

3) Make plans to attend the auction, called The Silver Lake Express, which will be held at the home of Frank and Helen Barnett.

There will be a silent auction, mini auctions, iPad raffle giveaway, gift basket raffle, balloon raffle and more. Tickets for entry to the auction can be purchased in advance and will include a street taco dinner and dessert bar. The deadline for event donations is September 2nd . More event details will be forthcoming in a follow-up post next week. If you have any questions, please call Concepción Harris at 661-945- 7902 or email her at charris@centralchristian.org.

Progress in Planting

A lot of exciting things are happening with the new church in LA since the last time we posted. Katie and I just finished our teaching responsibilities with the end of the school year, and we are now transitioning to the next chapter in life and a new season of ministry.
We are so pumped for this journey, but we know we can’t do it on our own. Here are a couple of updates so that you can be praying for us.
We are still building a team. We have about 15-20 people who are at various phases in the process of potentially joining our launch team. God has to miraculously provide in each and every situation for this to work. For example, one of our teammates named Katie has an important job interview in North Hollywood next week. We are still trying to figure out housing possibilities in the Silverlake area. Please pray that God would call more people to this mission, and then open doors for their participation.

We are still fundraising. So far we have raised about $65,000 in cash and about $6,800 in monthly commitments, in large part thanks to the generous financial support of Central Christian Church and its people. We still need roughly $85,000 more in cash on hand and ~$6,500 in monthly commitments to set us up with the resources necessary to plant a church with the capacity to sustain itself in an expensive urban context.

Right now you can set up recurring gifts at CentralChristian.org if you select the church planting option from the appropriate drop down menu after clicking “sign-up” to give. We will soon have our own church accounts set up and we’re having a fundraiser dinner at the end of summer, so watch out for details

We are still praying. We just finished an 8-week class and prayer group at Central Christian Church that over 60 different people got involved with, and Katie and I spend dedicated time in prayer for every single individual who considers joining our team. We believe that prayer is the most important part of this equation.

As the first step towards reaching this city with the good news of Jesus Christ, we are starting a weekly prayer and training group in Silver Lake on Wednesday nights in mid-July. Anyone is welcome to join. This is where the real work begins. Reach out if you’d like to be part of this new adventure.
Please share this post with anyone you know that you think might be interested in praying, joining us, or supporting us in any way.
Until all LA encounters Jesus,
– Andrew

Planning and Planting

Hey friends and partners!

Andrew and I have been a little quiet on the blog front recently, simply because we’ve been hitting the ground in lots of other ways—meeting with team members, financial partners, ministry leaders from around LA, and trying to stay faithful in our current commitments. But we want to keep you in the loop on how to pray, so I thought I’d write a little something.

Many people who’ve been considering joining the team that will move and plant with us have asked, “How do I know with certainty I’m called to do this, and finalize this type of decision?” This question is something I can identify with, because it was such a part of my journey as Andrew and I first considered this new venture.

As Andrew and I began praying about church planting, there was a series of steps I took in the process. First, I tried to learn as much as I could about church planting, and began to clarify my own misconceptions. As the vision became clearer, I began to pray about and evaluate what areas of my heart were not surrendered to the Lord.

Where was the Lord calling me to become more willing to sacrifice? And even with a greater depth of surrender, what type of lifestyle would or would not be sustainable and realistic for me?

What types of people had God put on my heart? Was I more able to reach them through my present forms of ministry, or were there opportunities elsewhere God was calling me to pursue, in order to reach them?

Was I being faithful to listen to the voice and heart of God in small daily ways? If I were going to try to reach and love people in a different place, was I being purposeful to do that here and now?

I began to seek counsel and wisdom from many mentors and friends. Was this something they could see us doing, or were we too immature and naïve in considering it? Would this align with the gifts and heart God had given us?

God began confirming our call and sharpening my focus in these areas. Along with these things, I had really practical logistical questions to ask God—what would we do with our house? By going, will we be hurting people here, or will they affirm this call and joyfully partner from a distance? What did I need to do in my career to prepare—and where should I apply, if I wanted to switch employers?

As I began to pray about these questions and put in some footwork to find answers, God showed up powerfully. We found a trustworthy renter for the house. One of the friends I was most concerned about approached me (without me even mentioning my concerns), and she affirmed her excitement and blessing in our journey. My professional mentors helped me to complete educational milestones at an advanced pace so that I would be fully finished with my goals and ready to move on. My trust grew in the Lord with each step along the way. I’d look back and say, “Really? That one worked out that clearly? Ok! Let’s keep walking forward!” I’d seen Him answer prayer before, but this was uncanny. The picture that comes to mind is one of a good Father holding his child’s hand as they navigate rocky ground together. Whatever you’re facing in your journey with Jesus, I’d encourage you to just begin asking yourself and your Father a few questions, and see how He would guide your faith.

If you’re willing or interested in stepping forward with us on this journey, there are a few different ways to partner.

First, if you’re local, we’re beginning a missions prayer/church planting class at Central Christian on Sunday mornings at 9:00 in the Gallery. It begins this Sunday, April 17th, and we would LOVE to have you there. It might help you sort through your own heart in reaching God’s people, and it will for sure keep you posted if you’re willing to partner with us in prayer.

Next, no matter where you live, we would love if you would particularly pray this month for all the meetings we have scheduled with pastors and churches who are considering partnering with us. These are big steps, and we would love prayer over them.

And finally, if you’re willing to partner with us financially, here  is the best place to do that. Click “sign-up” and select the “Central Church Plant” Fund from the drop down menu when given the chance. You can do a one-time gift, or set up a recurring scheduled gift.

Thank you, friends!

Katie Alesso

ICYMI: A Vision of Multiplication

In case you missed it live at Central Christian Church, you can hear the heart and vision for our new church plant in the video below.

If you want to learn more, join us starting April 17th. I will be leading an 8-week class during the 9am service at Central Christian Church in which we will explore the Biblical basis for Church Planting and Missions. We will spend some serious time praying for this new church and for other missionaries around the world. E-mail cchapin@centralchristian.org to sign-up!

If you’d like to support us financially, you can write checks to Central Christian Church with the memo “Central Church Plant” or you can give online by clicking here, clicking “sign-up” and then selecting the “Central Church Plant” fund from the drop down menu when given the chance.

Please keep praying!

What Will This New Church Be Like?

Since we announced our plans to start a new church, Katie and I have gotten a lot of questions about what this new church will be like. Do we have a building? When will we start Sunday services?

An important thing to know about a church is that a church isn’t a building or an event. A church is a people. For the Christian, a church isn’t something you go to, rather it’s something you are.

So while building a church includes details like finding meeting spaces and gathering for worship, it’s so much more than that!

Right now we are honing our strategy and building a team to accomplish the task. Our goal is to build a network of Christ-honoring, disciple-making relationships in the community. This evangelistic social movement must take place before a typical worship service ever exists.

Our Strategy: 3 Ways to Bridge the Gap

To understand our strategy, it’s helpful to understand a bit about the local culture:

While every culture has barriers to the gospel, they also have fantastic bridges to the good news. The Eastside of Hollywood is a diverse mashup of successful urban professionals, struggling young artists, and the poor and marginalized of society. The millennial culture is highly motivated and very socially aware. These young adults chase their dreams, celebrate equality, build community, express concern for the marginalized, and see value in vintage fare.

We want to see this community renewed as urban professionals and young adults experience the good news of Jesus in such a way that they would serve all people, including the poor and the marginalized, for the glory of God. We are aiming our ministry at the culture shapers (artists, filmmakers, writers, musicians, etc.), and calling them to help us build God’s Kingdom on earth by serving the least of these.

Our heart for the city is patterned after God’s heart for Babylon, when he told the Israelites,

“Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”

Social Justice, Intentional Relationships, and Empowering Leaders

We plan to lean into these cultural values with three specific strategies.

1) Inviting non-Christians to serve with us as we pursue social justice.

By engaging locals in community service projects at the schools and in their neighborhoods, we hope to build a bridge into the community as they witness our genuine Christ-centered love for the people of the city. We can create opportunities to change the way people think about faith in Jesus Christ by incarnating the gospel through social justice. We don’t even know what this looks like yet, because we’d rather ask our community how it wants to be served than dictate the plan to them.

2) A Culture of Intentional Relationship-building

As we build Christ’s reputation in the community by serving we must effectively capitalize on these opportunities to build Christ-centered relationships. Our team will live, work, and play in the neighborhood. Prayer meetings and group Bible studies will all take place at natural community gathering spots, and we’ll know the names of our neighbors and our baristas because we have them over for dinner. We will offer the unconditional love of the gospel to a lonely and individualistic culture that craves community.

3) Empowering all believers for the work of ministry

In order to have a culture of intentional relationship-building we must equip all believers with the theological and relational tools needed to be disciples that make disciples. Every member is a minister and every person has a part to play. New team members will immediately be integrated into a relational process of training and will be empowered to use their vocation and their story to make a difference for the gospel.

So in a nutshell, before we ever launch a typical church service we are going to first make the effort to belong to the community. We are going to make friends, serve the good of the city, and empower a team of people to do the same.

Reach out if you are interested in being part of this team. I’d love to chat more.

–Andrew

Prayer Requests

  • Continue praying for Katie and I (And our growing team!) as we make preparations to move into this community.
  • Pray for the people of Silver Lake, Echo Park, Atwater Village, and East Hollywood to yearn for God.
  • Pray that God would build of network of people and financial support to accomplish this work.

If you’d like to give financially to this effort, click here, click “sign-up” and select the “Central Church Plant” Fund from the drop down menu when given the chance.

Join us at Central this Weekend!

Katie and I want to thank everyone who has been praying for us and sending us encouraging messages! We have been overwhelmed by the show of eager support for us and for this new church plant!

This weekend Katie and I are going to share our heart and vision for the new church during the weekend services at Central Christian Church in Lancaster (3131 W Ave J, Lancaster, ca, 93536) I’ll be preaching on Saturday (3/12) at 5:00pm and Sunday (3/13) at 9:00am and 10:45am. Pastor Matt and the church elders will praying for us and will share their heart for us and for church planting.

Please join us this weekend if you are in the area, and feel free to invite anyone who is interested in learning more about this adventure!

So many people have asked us about ways to financially support this ministry. Thank you so much!! If you are interested in supporting us you can give to Central Christiam Church and write “church planting” on your check memo line. You can give online by clicking here, clicking “sign-up” and then selecting the “Central Church Plant” Fund from the drop down menu when given the chance.

Finally, please continue to pray for Silverlake and for the new church!

For the glory of God and the good of the city,

– Andrew