SAN FRANCISCO - Linda Bergquist is a CSBC church planting catalyst working in the San Francisco Bay Area. When she first moved to the Bay Area in 1996, she remembers a long period when almost everything she tried failed, and everything about evangelism, church planting and church growth seemed difficult.
It was challenging to find people who were willing to try to plant churches in San Francisco, and also to find partner churches willing to help.
One of the churches that did want to help was BayMarin Church in San Rafael. They planted Crossroads Church in Fremont, as well as several others. The church planter for Crossroads, Paul McGovern, is still pastoring that congregation, and has led them to become involved in planting other churches.
Four years ago they partnered with other congregations to help start South Bay Church in San Jose with Andy Wood as church planter. This Easter, a total of 2,292 people attend one of six services at South Bay and more than 80 made commitments either to follow Jesus for the first time, recommit their life to God or explore the claims and teachings of Jesus.
In 2011, Crossroads and South Bay Church were two of the partnering congregations that helped Epic Church in San Francisco launch. This Easter, Epic, where Ben Pilgreen is church planter, had more than 800 in attendance in three worship services, with 27 signing up to attend their newcomers lunch the following week. On Easter Sunday, they also baptized people, and someone made a profession of faith in Christ.
Churches partner with new churches in all kinds of ways. Some pray regularly for church planters and their families. Others assist in mission trips where they help with launch services, distributing invitations to the new church, or by throwing "baby showers" that provide for the needs of the new church. Some congregations help by providing Bibles, children's toys or port-a-cribs. Some partner churches assist financially, helping with facility rentals and salaries for planters.
Currently, Linda is working with several new churches that will need help in all of these ways. Some are listed under New Initiatives at Linda's website, bayareachurchplanting.com. Others are in the planning stage.
Would you or your church like to help new churches get started? When Linda and her family moved to San Francisco, she could hardly have imagined how responsive to the gospel the Bay Area would become, or that it would be a place where so many new churches of different styles and sizes would be planted.
She and other CSBC church planting catalysts assigned to the Bay Area work as a team. They are currently developing the infrastructure needed to respond to the outpouring of God's Spirit in the Bay Area.
"There are over 100 people that I know personally who have set their cell phones to 10:02 every morning," Linda said. "At 10:02, we all pray that the Lord of the Harvest will send laborers to the field. What has happened is that God has responded in great ways.
“With the outpouring of His Spirit on the Bay Area, there is a great need for established California churches to partner with the catalysts and new church planters.
“Don't give up on the Bay Area!” Linda challenged. “Some really good things are happening here.”
The vision statement for the strategy team reads: “That the Bay Area be so vibrantly transformed by an indigenous expression of life in Christ that it becomes a major global exporter of the Christian faith, extending even to future generations.”
“We ask that you would take the challenge to set your watches and cell phones to 10:02 a.m. or p.m. and pray Luke 10:2 with us,” Linda encouraged, “that the Lord of the Harvest will send laborers to these fields.”
Praise God for what He has already done in the Bay Area, and for a new church in Oakland.
Praise God for the people who have been planting churches
Praise God for the hundreds for prayer warriors who uphold the ministry of the Bay Area strategy team.
Dr. Linda Bergquist