Every generation needs new churches (new wineskins) to connect with the next generations. That is why DOVE International began in 1980. At that time, my wife, LaVerne, and I loved Jesus and spent hours each day loving kids who hung out at our house. After a few years of trying to fit these young believers into the churches in our community and not being successful, the Lord opened our hearts to the possibility of starting something new. In 1980, we started a Sunday morning service with twenty-five people in a home in our community. Ten years later, the church had grown to include 2,300 people; now more than 620 churches in twenty-two nations. I am so glad we took this step of faith.
People everywhere and of every age need Jesus. Others may know Jesus but are having a difficult time relating to an established church. It could be for various reasons. Some people have had hurtful experiences, which hinder their ability to trust the leadership of the church. Some do not like structured services or the formality of it. Some people find it overwhelming to attend gatherings among a group of strangers. Many people find it difficult to build relationships with others within large congregations. Some people are simply unmotivated to get up Sunday mornings and attend church services. Whatever the reason, a large segment of the population is unchurched. And every person needs to experience Christian community in a local church.
I believe that starting new communities of faith is one of our Lord’s top priorities. He said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). If the Lord has called you to plant a new church, begin now to prepare for this new adventure. Pray and ask God for His timing to share your vision with your present church leadership. Remember, how you start is so important. Your present church leadership can help you start something new with a right spirit and in the proper timing. God bless you as you take steps ahead!
Larry Kreider serves as International Director of DOVE International and LaVerne is a member of the International Apostolic Council of DOVE. Larry and LaVerne have served together in Christian ministry and leadership for over 45 years. DOVE, a worldwide family of churches and ministries, has successfully used the New Testament “house to house” strategy of building the church with small groups for more than three decades.