Moving Forward!

New Beginnings

August 22, 2010 we started our church, Firestone Baptist Church.  We have had several good years as the Lord has grown the church.  In the beginning of 2014, our church decided that we wanted to move forward with looking for a new location.  We have been renting a school on Sundays since virtually the beginning of the church.  Though we have been very thankful for a place to meet and for reasonable rent, the location is one that people commonly have a hard time finding.  It is also a place where we cannot put out permanent signs on the building or surrounding area letting people know about the church.  Several other variables also make it a less than ideal location. Ultimately, it is not a place we could call home, so we as a church decided it was time to move.

 

After several months of searching and after several locations NOT being willing to work as a church location and others just being way too expensive, we finally found the location that we are now meeting in.  We are extremely excited about this new location!  Our church is now located right in the HEART of the Carbon Valley area.  It is also right in the middle of downtown Frederick, CO. In order to have a space big enough for the “auditorium” and to meet the codes required for an assembly by the town of Frederick, the inside of the building has required much remodeling. God has been more than gracious to us with this new building and has already given innumerable blessings. We would love to share some of those here:

 

  • Professional volunteers hanging the 2 hour firewall
  • Professional volunteers hanging drywall and texturing
  • Professionals installing all wiring
  • 110 padded chairs donated
  • Pulpit donated
  • Sound Equipment donated
  • Floor donated
  • Drop ceiling donated.
  • Countless hours of labor by many from both inside and outside the church

 

We have been amazed to see God’s people from near and far come to help our little church!  We thank the Lord for the many blessings that have been given to us!  Below are a few pictures that relate much of the process of the rebuild. The pictures are followed by an explanation of some changes and future plans for our church, so please keep reading!

 

Carbon Valley Bible Church Carbon Valley Bible Church 1Carbon Valley Bible Church

Carbon Valley Bible Church

Carbon Valley Bible Church Carbon Valley Bible Church Carbon Valley Bible Church Carbon Valley Bible Church Carbon Valley Bible Church Carbon Valley Bible Church

Carbon Valley Bible Church

Carbon Valley Bible Church

Carbon Valley Bible Church Carbon Valley Bible Church

 

Again we are so thankful for the Lord’s graciousness to us during this transition.

 

Changes

Since the move we have had to make several changes.  However, there are a few things that have not changed: our philosophy, teaching, preaching, and service structure.  We are still a Bible preaching/teaching church focusing on discipleship.  We have the philosophy of “Churches Planting Churches.”  Our goal is to continue to evangelize and build relationships within the Carbon Valley community and then beyond.  We strive to continually base every single thing we do upon the Word of God!

 

We want to let you all be aware of a specific change we have made as a church and explain why we have made that change. We have a new church name!

 

Let me explain some background. The area where we meet is often called tri-town or the Carbon Valley area. There are several towns in the immediate vicinity and two of them–Firestone and Frederick–blend together in most areas of the city. In other words, the boundaries overlap often, and few people know where one town ends and where the next one begins. The location where we previously met is located in a portion of town that is really confusing as to whether or not it is in the town of Firestone or whether it is in the town of Frederick.  Needless to say because of the confusion, we had no worries about what we called our church before now. For four years, although we met in Frederick, our church was called Firestone Baptist Church.  Since we had originally planned to meet in Firestone and had already named our church before moving to that building, we just kept the name.  However, now we have moved to downtown Frederick.  In all reality a building could not get more into downtown Frederick than where we are located!   Everyone knows that our location is for sure in Frederick.  As this is my first church plant, one of the lessons I’ve learned is to never name a church after a street, person, or city!  Now we have to change the name.  It would be quite odd to have a Firestone Baptist Church in downtown Frederick!

 

We have had to come up with a new name.  Having to come up with a new name brought up several considerations:  What lessons have we learned about names?  What name do we want to name the church?  What do we want to communicate to the community?

A Good Name

Scripture teaches us in Proverbs 22:1,

 

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,

and favor is better than silver or gold.

 

Our ultimate goal is to choose a name that honors the Lord, one we can stand behind, that we can present without questions, and one that will allow people from our own community to consider without having preconceived notions.

I would like to present a few words on preconceived notions: I find that few people really know why they believe what they believe.  Many people have a stigma about certain things, although they do not really understand why they have that stigma.  Typically the stigma is there because of the interpretation of an experience or because of what other people such as parents, former teachers, or peers have said. In reality individuals often do not have solid reasons why they hold onto a stigma!  They do not know why THEY believe what THEY believe, but they place a stigma based on an experience or another’s opinion.

 

In 2009 as we were praying about what the Lord would have us call the name of the church when we first planted/started it, the choice was not really simple.  It was actually stressful!  Many thoughts presented themselves for consideration, including but not limited to, our true beliefs and agreement with Baptist doctrine, the area of the country we are ministering to, existing Baptist churches and their reputation in our area, and the perspective of our supporting churches.  After much discussion and prayer, we decided to call the church Firestone Baptist Church. Even though we were concerned about the Baptist reputation in the area, we wanted to try to change the stigma because we believe Baptist doctrine is truly Biblical. We hold to the Bible first and foremost, and we believe the Baptist DOCTRINE agrees with that.   (As a side note, please understand if you are reading this, that I said Baptist DOCTRINE!!! That does not mean we agree with every Baptist church’s stance on personal standards or every Baptist school’s “rules.” There is a HUGE difference, and many equate the standards and rules to the doctrine…That is another discussion for another time.)

 

To fast forward the story, let me tell you what we have done over the course of the last 4 years.  Often we have surveyed people of the Carbon Valley community about several church related things. One frequently asked question which typically generates the same response is “What do you think of when you hear the name ‘Baptist’?”  At first, the answer shocked me, but I eventually got used to it!  Why? Because almost every time a person answered, “You mean like Westboro Baptist?”  Now if you know anything about Westboro Baptist of Topeka, Kansas, you know this is NOT an association that any True Believer would want to be associated with!  This thought struck me:  “So the stigma that has been going around here in the Carbon Valley area, and probably beyond in this part of the West is that all Baptists are like those of Westboro Baptist.”  Immediately I thought, “I do not want to be a part of that, which means we have a LARGE uphill battle to ‘convince’ people that even though we are Baptist, we are not the same as the stigma behind Westboro Baptist, or that of some other Baptist churches.”

 

What we have learned is that people will not allow even a chance for educating, convincing, or changing their preconceived stigmas. They already have biased opinions and will simply STAY AWAY!  Numerous times throughout the last 4 years, we had people tell us that they would not visit our church JUST because we had “Baptist” in our name.  As a church we felt like these facts were very important to consider in renaming the church!

 

We have also learned, that even many people who call themselves Baptist do not really know why they call themselves Baptist.  They do not really know the differences between Baptists: Southern, Northern, Freewill, Landmark, Conservative, American, Independent, etc. For more on the list of the 100’s of Baptist Denominations, please go to this link.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Baptist_denominations. To them the general denomination of Baptists is what that they have grown up with or around.  They do not understand that there is a significant difference between each of those sub titles! Anyway, we wanted to make sure people knew where we stood, without having a misunderstanding of who we are!  I know that sounds confusing, but that was a consideration.

 

We made several requirements for our new name.

  • The name needed to Glorify God.
  • The name needed to point people to a doctrinal standpoint.
  • The name could not be one that already indicates a specific denominational agenda or fad moving through “church culture.”

 

Ultimately, after much prayer, consideration, and discussion, we chose the name Carbon Valley Bible Church. We do not apologize for this.  May I go on further to say that we still have a strong Baptist distinctive.  We love our Baptist Doctrine.  We love the Historical Baptist Heritage.  We love the roots of the Baptist History that span the last 2000 years.  The history of the Baptists is rich.  We do not however, really care for the direction of the modern Baptists.  If we were to label ourselves, we would put ourselves more in the category of the Historical Baptists.  Charles Spurgeon said the following:

 

“We believe that the Baptists are the original Christians. We did not commence our existence at the reformation, we were reformers before Luther or Calvin were born; we never came from the Church of Rome… and our principles, sometimes veiled and forgotten, like a river which may travel underground for a little season, have always had honest and holy adherents. Persecuted alike by Romanists and Protestants of almost every sect…” (From The New Park Street Pulpit, Vol.VII, Page 225)              You can read that quote from our website at http://www.cvbiblechurch.com/wearebaptist.html.

 

We abide by the Baptist distinctives. If you are not sure what the Baptist distinctives are you can also purchase the book listed on that webpage as well. Yes, we are Baptist…we just do not have the name Baptist in our church name.

 

In addition, we feel that the changing of the name allows us to have better conversation with the people in our community as we try to consistently outreach in this area where God has placed us.  Unfortunately, some churches and organizations may think that this needs to be a point of separation from us.  They may believe that we are becoming liberal.  They may believe that we are becoming progressive.  May I assure you . . . we are not!  We are not changing our preaching.  We are not changing our use and saturation of Scriptures throughout our preaching and teaching.  We are not changing the course of our music.  We are ONLY changing the name…and well, our building location.

 

We again make no apologies for changing the name.  This is one of the beautiful things about being an independent church.  We are able to act upon what we believe God wants us to do.  We do not feel that changing the name is a point of separation. However, if other organizations, other churches, or other believers choose to do so, we will be saddened.  I would ask them at what point does Scripture say the word “Baptist” has to be a part of our name?  Often, people or organizations who separate over these types of issues make problems within the church and within Christianity anyway.  They focus on minor standard and preference issues instead of the solid doctrines that God wants them to focus on.  Those types of attitudes can ultimately allow Satan to get a foothold in Christianity and make a widespread problem where there should be no problem.  I challenge you not to get hung up on minor issues!  Don’t worry more about man and what man thinks; rather, put your thoughts on what is truly right and acceptable unto the Lord.  Division over minor issues does not bring true Glory to God!  We feel, if anything, we would rather be more grounded with a name of Bible than the name of Baptist. You can’t argue with the Bible! Yet, we are still Baptist…Independent Baptist, and have no apologies for that fact either.

Future

From this point forward we will be Carbon Valley Bible Church.  This name gives us the commitment to reaching the entire Carbon Valley Community.  This area consists of Firestone, Frederick, Dacono, and Erie.  We also have the ability to reach Fort Lupton and Longmont.  This name also allows the community to see that our foundation is based solely on the Word of God, and not on the tradition of men.

 

You can see that there really has not been many changes to our church!  Feel free to check out  our new website CVBibleChurch.com.  If you are in the Carbon Valley Area, we would love for you to drop in!  We preach Christ Jesus Crucified and Resurrected.  Our foundation is the Word of God.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call 303-736-9959 or you can email at cvbiblechurch@gmail.com.

 

Serving Him,

 

Pastor Jason Kokenzie

 

Carbon Valley Bible Church

303-736-9959

CVBibleChurch.com

cvbiblechurch@gmail.com

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Why the Future of Pastors is Bi-Vocational!

After reading a recent article on church planting and bi-vocational pastors, of which I will link at the bottom, I have to say not only do I see this trend happening in church planting, but I see this happening everywhere in established churches.  Right now the economy is so bad many college graduates are not even going into their career field because of the lack of experience that those careers require.  Also, the average college graduate has en estimated $30K-$100K of debt depending on how far they go in their education.  This is obviously effecting giving to the church.

With economy getting worse and people giving less to the church, I see that the 20% of the people who are giving 80% of the money has now slimmed down to about 10% of the people giving 80% of the money.  This change will greatly effect the position of the full time assistant pastor as well as the full time senior pastor.

ImageBecause of economics, there are more and more church’s that are no longer able to support the assistant pastor role.  Many of my colleagues that hold this position are now having to get a second job so that they can still be in the ministry but pay the bills.  I also know a significant amount of them that are going to be completely bi-vocational.  If economy tends to go this route, the idea of a full time assistant will be something of the past within 5-7 years.  It is not that the churches cannot afford it, but rather that the people are giving less and spending more outside the church.

With that in mind, this also puts pressure on the position of the senior pastor.  I know several pastors within the last couple of years that have received no increase in pay.  There have also been several who have had their pay cut and drastically.  Some of them have had a 35%-50% decrease in pay.

Where does this leave the church? and where does it leave the pastor? Well again it leads us to the question of where should a pastor focus his long term goals and where should the church focus its money?

This creates a real problem, especially for the older generation of pastors.  My estimate is that the next 15 years there will be very few full time senior pastors.  This is devastating to think that the future of the church will limit the ability for the full time pastor. Most pastors go to college and get their education solely in ministry.  They have no skills or trade that they can fall back onto if the economy continues to fall the way it is.

Colleges and Seminaries need to recalculate their thinking on how their philosophy on training preachers is going to have to change.  They need to redirect some of their training to teaching these young men skills and trades because they most likely will have to become Bi-Vocational.

What Should The Pastor Do Now?

This is a BIG question, of which I will not going fully in detail, but I will give a general guideline on necessary steps.

Giving in the Church

First, it is important to address the idea of giving in the church in general. The stigma is that the pastor always preaches on giving.  I find however, that because of that stigma, the topic of giving rarely gets talked about. Preach it!  because it is in the Bible and it is important! Do not worry about the stigma, preach the full council of God’s Word.

Secondly, it is important to understand a proper concept of giving to missions.  Unfortunately the church has a terrible concept of missions!  What the church does not understand, is that their first mission field is what is in their own back yard!

Acts 1:8 teaches us to understand, focus, love, and have compassion for the souls that are in your own backyard.  Your church is in the middle of a mission field.  However, the concept of reaching those who are in your own backyard is significantly lacking.  The reason being is that we expect the unsaved world to come crashing through our door on Sunday!  We expect the unsaved world to feel comfortable with coming to church.  The problem is that the church was NEVER meant for unsaved people.  God designed the church for the Believer to be encouraged and edified, to worship and glorify.  It is for iron sharpening iron.

We make all kinds of activities inside the walls of our church of which we invite many unsaved people to and expect them to hang around and be comfortable here at our church.  This will never happen.  God teaches us to be IN the world but not OF the world.  If we are going to effectively reach the lost, we MUST go where they are at.  This does not mean that we have to go into sin and live like the publican and heathen.

The fall out rate of people coming to the church to hear the Gospel, getting saved, and truly getting discipled is ridiculously high.  How you get them is how you keep them. If you do not constantly put those type of “activities” on for them, they will not likely stay around. If you properly disciple them before they get saved, they will not feel uncomfortable once they get saved to want to come to church.  There is a pattern of progression in discipleship and it starts before the person ever accepts Christ as their Savior.

If this concept is acted upon, the people will understand more the value of giving.  If they get a passion for their relationship with Christ, and a passion for seeing souls won to the Lord locally, the churches will grow.  As the churches grow, so will the budget.

Local Missions VS. Foreign Missions

Why is it that we get all excited about foreign missions planting churches, but here in America church planting is a foreign concept and something that is not practiced.  We have churches who have 200+ people who never have planted a church, never have thought about planting a church, and have absolutely no desire to plant churches.  Because of this our giving to missions is completely unbiblical.  And unfortunately this also means that our concept of missions is also completely unbliclical.  I believe God LOVES local church planting.  I believe that God does not like big churches as we see when God allowed persecution to come to Jerusalem in the book of Acts.  God used this persecution to scatter the Christians abroad. They ended up all throughout Judea, of which God told them to do originally in Acts 1:8.

We expect a local church planter to be indigenous in 2-3 years.  Now this potentially may happen in the East, but in the West this is a totally foreign concept.  Churches supporting church planters here in America typically have a limited giving to a church planter.  However, statistically a church plant in the West takes 7-8 years to establish a good foundation to potentially become indigenous.  If this state does not happen, those churches drop the support and then the pastor of the church plant is then expected to become bi-vocational.  This can become a detriment to a church plant.  When a church, the elders, and the congregation get a true love and heart for whats in their backyard, then they can have a true heart for foreign missions.

I know this, because of the few churches that supported us during our first few years, the majority of them dropped us after the third year.  I am not saying this in bitterness, but merely to point out the common thought process of established churches in America.  Most of these churches and pastors have never planted a church and therefore do not understand the difficulty of planting churches.

The reason why I mention this is because the concept of local missions is something that is not talked about, it is not acted upon.  When the going gets tough, the church would rather cut the salary of the pastor, then cut the salary of the missionaries.  If you do not have a pastor, eventually you will not have church and you will ultimately not have missionaries to support.  The order of giving needs to be reversed.  Make sure the pastor is supplied so that he will be able to minister to the church without the burden of looking for a second job.   Many pastors do not feel that they are able to minister the way that they feel like they could because they are constantly barely breathing from paycheck to paycheck.  The other aspect is that long term, they have very little to invest in retirement or none at all.  After a recent survey only about 6% of pastor have something for retirement.

The Bi-Vocational Pastor

Finally, pastors need to understand that most likely this economic crisis is going to happen.  There is a significant evidence in our own churches, that the people are not giving as much as they did even 10 years ago. Since this is potentially going to happen, I would encourage you to consider starting a business, building a trade, and building your skills.  The reason why I say starting a business as opposed to working a job, is that this gives you flexibility, but it also gives you the ability to impact your community by getting into their homes.  This is something that you also need to start encouraging your young men in your church who are considering going into the ministry.  If these thoughts are started now, you will be ahead of the game when this financial collapse starts to significantly pick up pace in the next few years.

I have had some lay people and other Christians who have been angry at me for this idea for taking the pastor away from the ministry. However, it comes down to the thought of knowing why you believe what you believe.  It is very obvious from Scripture that many if not all of the apostles had a business. Paul was a tent maker, Peter was a fisherman, Luke was a physician.  Paul had to sell tents, and most likely was able to impact more people’s life for the Lord, because of the tent making business he had.

The other aspect is that this does not have to be separate from the ministry, but very much a part of the ministry.  You are able to because of your business be able to impact, disciple, witness, and shepherd the people that God has allowed in our lives.

What Should the Church Do from Here

This is simple.  Develop a biblical philosophy of missions, giving, and giving to missions.  Your first priority is your church and giving to it.  Your second priority is then giving to missions.  But if you do not establish the first priority eventually you will not have the ability to give to the second priority.

One of the biggest things for a church to do is get involved in local church planting.  Not by just giving financially to church planting, but to physically establish a local church out of their church.  To take 30 or so people from their church and physically establish a new church plant.  The concept of the local church has completely been disregarded in our modern Christian society. Develop that passion for souls right in your own neighborhood.  Reach those people in your own neighborhood.  Lead those souls in your own neighborhood to Christ. And finally get those new converted souls to a “local” Bible believing and preaching church.

The church has become more of a social gathering that a place of true worship, true spiritual edification, and true ministry.  More people are looking to “fellowship” over food and conversation about their hobbies, than for them to really seek each other out and bear one another’s burdens.

Conclusion

There are some churches that will be able to maintain a full time pastor if they can establish a true biblical philosophy in giving and giving to missions. However, the smaller churches, of which I would estimate those church to have a congregation of 250, will have to completely remodel their church philosophy and the pastor himself will have really evaluate the idea of a bi-vocational pastor.

If you have a true and proper concept of local missions and local church, this whole dilemma maybe completely avoided. Again, if you do not have a true love for what is local to you, how then can you ever develop a heart for foreign missions.

Here is the article on the Bi-Vocational Church Planter click HERE

For information on college debt go HERE

For more information about our church go to CVBibleChurch.com