Recently, Stu Streeter spent a few days in Medina, Ohio, with the team from Heartland Community Church as they prepared to multiply the reach of the Gospel into a neighboring community through launching a second campus. Drew and Carissa Steinhart will serve as campus pastors and are currently building a team to launch sometime later this year.
One of the crucial early steps for any church or leader following the call to multiply is to send their leaders through an assessment process the NAB church planting team hosts alongside our church planting network partners, Excel and C2C Collective. Four potential planting couples from the NAB were at the most recent assessment in Dallas, Texas, alongside Stu from the NAB International Office, Central Plains Regional Minister Dan Heringer, and Joseph Thomas, lead pastor at Neshimany Valley Baptist Church, who served as a first-time staff observer. We asked the Steinharts to help those in the wider NAB family get a sense for the experience of multiplying and the early steps in that process through assessment. The following are some reflections from their experience.
Stu: Tell us a little about your church and what God has been up to in your midst.
Drew: About five years ago, Heartland Community Church began to sense that God was calling us to start new churches to reach lost people with the good news of Jesus Christ. Our leadership knew early on that it didn’t want to send out a church planter on their own with limited support and resources. We realized that just as God was calling our church to unite around the mission to multiply, we also wanted to be fully relationally and financially invested in the starting of this new church. We decided to use a campus launch model for multiplying our church in order to obediently and effectively join God in what He’s doing in our city.
Stu: What has that journey looked like for you as a couple?
Drew: Last year, Carissa and I were asked to seek God’s guidance regarding the opportunity to serve Heartland’s first campus, with myself as the campus pastor. As we prayed about the opportunity, we felt an invitation to step out and trust God by joining Him in what He’s already doing in our community. Watching our leadership discuss different models for multiplication over the past few years helped me see how much of a blessing the campus model would be for a young pastor. Heartland’s investment in the new campus has allowed us to ask questions of others whose strengths complement our weaknesses. Knowing that we are not alone as we try to follow God’s leading into this new journey has been incredibly freeing and a tremendous blessing for Carissa and me.
Stu: Talk a little bit about the actual assessment process for our US plants, which is called Discovery Center.
Carissa: Going into Discovery Center, we had no idea what to expect – our boss asked us to go, so to Dallas we went! As soon as we kicked off our three days together, however, I knew that it was exactly where we were supposed to be. We met an incredible group of people – both staff and other candidates – and felt truly loved and cared for.
Drew: The Discovery Center staff serves as a mirror, window, and a door to help candidates see themselves clearly, get a vision of what could be, and, when ready, be sent into the next phase of their journey as church planters or campus pastors. The intentionality, attention, and care of the Discovery Center staff was a gift to both Carissa and me and an excellent use of our time.
Carissa: Together, Drew and I re-discovered that, although we are wired very differently, those differences are a powerful force for the Kingdom (and for our marriage). I felt affirmed and valued as a woman in ministry alongside my husband, which was incredibly refreshing.
Drew: I enjoyed building relationships with other couples who feel called to church planting. Even though we travelled from Cleveland to Dallas to participate, we ended up connecting with another great NAB couple from Buffalo, New York, that we had a lot in common with. Being with others who sense the urgency of starting new churches and have a passion for sharing the good news of Jesus was a strong reminder that the story God is writing at Heartland – with Carissa and me – is the same story He is writing in so many places across the world. Returning home from Discovery Center, I was more excited than ever to continue the hard work of starting Heartland’s first campus. We would hands-down recommend the experience to anyone exploring church planting or a campus model.
In all, the NAB had four couples at the Dallas Discovery Center, and all four are currently working on plans to launch new churches in their communities in partnership with their NAB region and the NAB International Office. Our next assessment opportunity is July 29–31 in the Sacramento, California, area. This fall we have assessment opportunities available September 24–26 in Calgary, Alberta, and September 30–October 2 in Cincinnati, Ohio. To get more information or investigate taking your next step toward church multiplication, email Stu Streeter at firstname.lastname@example.org.