Throughout this year, we’ve taken a moment to look back at past church plants and to look forward to current church plants. (Browse other features in the Next Chapter series here.) This month, we’d like to continue celebrating how God is writing the next chapter in his church by looking at two church plants from different places and different eras, but that share similar beginnings.

In 1995, Orchard Group helped to launch Crossway Christian Church in New Hampshire. Ever-energetic, church planter Dave Smith worked hard connecting with local businesses, schools, and his new neighborhood. But even he was surprised on the first Sunday service when hundreds of people came to experience the new church in their community.

Early years at Crossway Christian Church

Last year, SLO City Church in San Luis Obispo, California launched in similar fashion. Brent and Jenna Bramer had spent months working tirelessly to connect with as many people as possible. When it came time for the inaugural Sunday service, they were overjoyed to see all who showed up to discover this new church. More than 200 people attended that very first Sunday service, even in a community that is statistically one of the most “never-churched” populations in the nation. Already, less than a year after launch, numerous people have come to new faith in Jesus and been baptized at SLO City Church.

We love to back church planters in these kinds of places, because they produce this kind of spiritual fruit. Through these churches, people discover who Jesus is, what he has done, and why it matters in their real lives.


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