By Don Overstreet, church starting group church planting catalyst, serving High Desert, Inland Empire, Long Beach Harbor and Los Angeles Associations
Navy Chaplain Demetric Felton is stationed at Camp Pendleton Marine Base just north of San Diego. He and his family live in Temecula. I met with him in April, having been referred to him by Joshua Smith, CSBC African-American church starting specialist. Chaplain Felton told me he had two years until he could retire from the Navy and just wanted to explore the possibility of church planting in the future. We talked about some potential places where he could start a church, and I also challenged him to consider starting a church in the area of Temecula where he has lived for two years and is friends with people who are not attending church anywhere.
A few weeks later he called me and we had lunch, along with his wife. They told me they had been thinking about church planting. They had driven by the various communities I had mentioned but did not feel led there. Then they told me they definitely felt led to start a Bible study in their home to see if they could start a church where they lived. They started talking to friends, praying over the community and seeking God's face.
They did everything the right way. He talked with the pastor of the church they were attending, and they met with Deryl Lackey, the director of missions for Inland Empire. They developed a purpose statement and strategy plan for the new church, Beyond the Walls Community Church, and held their first service in June.
Now they are averaging 40 people in their home for church on Sunday afternoon. Chaplain Felton preaches at the base on Sunday morning, then comes home to lead the new church that is forming in his home on Sunday afternoons. They will be baptizing five people soon and are looking forward to conducting Sunday services in a middle school close to their home.
If you would like to help Don Overstreet or one of our other catalysts or church planters, please contact the Church Starting Group at 559.229.9533, x 263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your generous contributions to the Cooperative Program and California Mission Offering which make possible new churches like Beyond the Walls Community Church throughout the Golden State!