Written by Shawn LaVie
It’s been an honour being involved with an expanding church in Prince Edward Island. Led by Pastor Howie MacMaster, Center Point Church is re-launching a second church located in Charlottetown – PEI’s historic capitol, at the Cineplex theatre, making Center Point PEI’s first church to meet at a Cineplex. From its humble beginnings in 2010, located in Montague, it’s been on Pastor Howie’s heart to expand and grow the church in Charlottetown.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
– Matthew 18:20
Part of his plan to accomplish this mission was to assemble a group of church members who also shared Pastor Howie’s passion to grow the church. I just happened to be one of those members with a passion to see the church grow. It was an absolutely extraordinary experience for me, coming together with other members of the church with a common goal. I felt encouraged by the other members – as well as extremely grateful to be involved. I slowly was able to see what God was doing in their lives, and how God had gifted them to propel us forward.
I sat down with Pastor Howie to ask a few questions and discuss his thoughts.
Interview with Pastor Howie
Shawn: Can you tell me what the experience has been like relaunching Center Point Church?
Pastor Howie: It has been one filled with prayer, excitement and at the same time, a bit of fear and a ton of work. Prayer is vital, bringing it to God at all times, asking Him to give wisdom and clarity and discernment, is so important. There is joy in obeying God, but also a bit of fear. The key is to allow God to dim the fear with a confidence in Him. After working through that, and making sure this is what God is leading, then it’s time to get to work for His glory! People do not realize that starting a church is a ton of work, and there are so many details that need to be planned and fall into place. Overall, the experience has been joyful as we grow confident in God’s leading.
Shawn: Tell us about the experience assembling a team of church members to help grow God’s kingdom.
Pastor Howie: Assembling a team is so vital and should not be rushed into or taken lightly. There is a difference between a launch team, and a core group. A launch team is initially started first, and then a core group grows later. Sometimes what can ruin a launch is not having the right people in the right places. So the key is to gather a launch team that is diverse in their gifts and abilities. Get a team gathered that will compliment each other—that way all areas are covered. When assembled, place people where their passions are and things start to come together.
Shawn: Can you give the Love Is Moving readers advice on planting or relaunching a church – if God has placed this on their heart?
Pastor Howie’s Church Planting Advice
1) Make sure God has called you to it 100%, because it is challenging, and if He hasn’t led you to it… you will quit.
2) Make sure people affirm that you are a church planter. There are many tests with organizations to see if that is you.
3) Don’t go at it alone. Have people involved with praying and keeping you accountable
4) Remember this is not about you–so don’t build the church on you and your personality, build it on Jesus, because He has said He will build His church and the gates of Hades will not prevail.
5) Learn from those who have done it before and get their advice; that way you can avoid major mistakes and pitfalls.
6) Gather people together who love Jesus and the Church and let them own the mission of planting, listen to their ideas and what God has put on their heart.
7) Give God the glory in all things! Keep on persevering because the enemy is real and he will send many challenges your way, so be prepared to get some battle scars.