By Fred Leonard
Everyone loves generosity. Everyone loves for churches to multiply. It may appear that the recipients of the generosity or the multiplication are the winners. However, I am here to say that the givers are even more blessed. We do well to remember and to believe the words of the Lord Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35, NLT).
At Mountain View we are so blessed to be in a season of multiplication.
- We are sending the Mountain View Sunnyside campus pastor John and Sarah Richardson to plant a new church this fall called Prodigal. Joining him in the new church plant are the worship pastor with the worship team, the children’s director and a large group of people.
- Our youth pastor Ken and Anna Wilkinson, who have served for almost 13 years at our main campus, are moving to Mountain View Sunnyside Aug. 1, 2017, to be the new campus pastors.
- Executive pastors Dave and Connie Thiessen, who have served with me for 23 years, are going to Mountain View Sunnyside to assist Pastor Ken from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31, 2017.
- June 1, 2017, we launched our newest campus, Centro Cristiano Mountain View. This campus is fully in Spanish and is led by pastors Jose and Maira Sanchez.
- We have hired John Leonard (no relation) and Brianna Ragsdale as new youth pastors. They will be married July 23, 2017, and start in the beginning of August.
- After two years of praying and asking the Lord, we hired pastors Tony and Roxanna Petersen to begin July 1, 2017, as our pastor of discipleship.
There are many key ways a church flourishes in the midst of such multiplication and is able to consider it a blessing. Here a few:
Living for the glory of God. We seek after the glory of God. We know that all is for God and for his glory. We live out Rom. 11:36: “For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.” We focus on God.
Focusing on the good news of Jesus, the gospel. We know that the gospel is the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus died for us and paid the penalty for our sin. There is no hope, no future, no salvation apart from Jesus (John 14:6) and we focus our lives on proclaiming the gospel, for it is the salvation of everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16).
Living as a house of prayer. We focus on prayer personally and corporately. Prayer is the most intimate part of our most important love relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We recognize that Jesus is the head of the church, and we are called to get our instructions from him. We are dependent on God to tell us what to do and how to do it, for the church is a house of prayer and his bride.
Living empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit empowers us for life and for mission; we don’t have to do it alone (Acts 1:8).
Living the mission. Lost people matter to God, for Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, and we are on mission with Jesus (Luke 19:10, John 3:16-17).
Continually training leaders. We continue to train leaders, and this allows us to reload our campuses and ministries with gifted young leaders.
Linking arms with other churches in the city and in our family of churches. We are unified with churches in our city and with our family of Mennonite Brethren churches. This allows us to do more together than we could ever do alone. Gary Wall, our Pacific District Conference minister, with our PDC Home Mission Board and Don Morris, our USMB national director, with the C2C board have been an encouragement to us and to our young leaders. We can work together, fund projects together and see churches planted together. Denominational family is a gift from God.
Fred Leonard is lead pastor at Mountain View Community Church, Fresno, Calif.