South Asia is a vibrant and emerging region in the world, encompassing the nations of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The people are warm and diverse, the cities never sleep, and urbanisation and development are rapid.
Although industry and commerce are strong, and infrastructure projects abounding, poverty is common. The average income in India is US$250 per month, but it is even less for pastors.
C3 has churches in five of the seven nations: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Almost all of our churches have planted at least one other church, some up to seventy.
The Christian Worldview is uncommon, yet church planting and evangelism thrive here. People are coming to Christ in significant numbers every week, even though all seven South Asian nations are on the World Watch List for Persecuted Christians.
The boldness and courage of the churches is testament to their commitment to Christ. In the midst of growing persecution, there is faith and increase.
Rented buildings are common, but building projects are beginning throughout the region. C3 Siliguri’s church building is almost complete, and C3 Amravati have recently begun a school.
Established in 1994, C3 Pune celebrated their 25th anniversary this year, with over 700 people in attendance. In their 25 years, they have planted over 70 churches, and they continue to train countless church planters in the Bible, ministry and leadership skills.
Sanitation & Medical Assistance
Civil authorities have reached out to our churches to request assistance with sanitation and medical teams. Not only is this another way for our pastors to assist in the development of communities, but it’s a chance to partner with local government – a rare and crucial opportunity in South Asia.
We hold pastoral training events in South Asia twice a year. Training is always skills-oriented, designed for practical application in churches, to provide momentum and growth. This year, our training events were held in India and in Nepal, in the local languages to provide greater access to pastors. For senior pastors and their spouses, an annual summit is held to provide targeted support and skills for senior ministry. We find that these are pivotal moments in our calendar year.
Our South Asian churches are strong and vibrant, focused on evangelism and church planting, and situated in a part of the world with incredible potential – South Asia holds 25% of the world’s population – 50% of them under 25 years of age.
The future is bright, but your prayer support is crucial to the spread of the Gospel in South Asia.
If you have questions or are able to support the mission, please email email@example.com.
Our church plant is now in its 8th year. Debbie and I stepped out to plant C3 Subang (now known as Destiny C3) in 2011 with a team of 9 others. The church has since developed into a group of 7 churches catering to the different communities in Malaysia, India and the Philippines. We also run a UNHCR recognized refugee school which to-date is committed to the education of approximately 80 refugee children from nations that include, Pakistan, Syria, Bangladesh and India.
The church planting journey for us began with a lot of apprehension. Was this the right step? Do we have what it takes? Who are we called to? What if we failed? Is this really what God wants for us? We had, as most church planters would, lots of questions… questions that we wrestled with even as we were being drawn by the call.
The questions you ask yourself as you go on this journey can be life altering. The wrong type of questions can derail your journey, while the right questions can clear a path for you.
There are many questions that we asked ourselves on our church plant journey and below are 3 important ones that every potential church planter should ask themselves.
Am I called to this?
Church planting is not just a nice idea or a noble choice of profession. It is a call. Be certain of your calling, because it will form the foundation of your church plant journey. It will be the fuel in your tank that will keep you going regardless of the challenges that come your way. Many people in ministry quit during tough times because they start to doubt their call. We can start to believe that the presence of a roadblock indicates the absence of a call, “maybe I’m not called to this”, “maybe I was wrong”, and before you know it, we are daydreaming about exit strategies.
As Debbie and I began this journey, we had to be certain that we were called to this, and our certainty of the call is what drove us to push through some of the most challenging circumstances that would have otherwise derailed our journey.
When you view your challenges through the certainty of your calling, you see roadblocks not as something to stop you, but something that you are meant to push through.
You view the challenges as necessary inconveniences that you are called to work through that will serve to bring you closer to your destiny. We stay the path not because it is easy, we stay the path because we are certain that we are called by God to be here.
Whose church is this anyway?
Many times, we can, either consciously or unconsciously, view the church plant as our project and God as the external consultant that we reach out to – to endorse our ideas, approve our decisions or help us through the difficult stages of the building. This mind-set often sees us carrying burdens that we were never meant to carry, trying to build by our own strength, which brings us unnecessary stress.
Whose idea was this in the first place? This is God’s idea, His project, His Church and He chose you to be a part of it. This church was birthed in God’s heart long before you even knew what a church plant was. Wasn’t it Him who said, “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it”? Don’t the scriptures say that unless the Lord builds the house we labour in vain?
This is a fundamental truth of church planting, yet it is a truth that we many times lose sight of. We get caught up with the “business” of church planting. We tend to push God into a consulting role rather that seeing him as the chief architect and master builder.
He invited you to be a part of HIS church plant, and whenever we forget that, we end up dealing with frustrations and anxieties that can lead to burn out.
Whenever I find myself stressing more than usual, it’s always because I’ve taken the burden off God and started carrying it myself. I’ve made it about me, my success, my project, my church, and that was never God’s intention. I ask myself, whose church is this in the first place?
Remind yourself often, that this is God’s project, His church plant, and He is the master-builder. Cast all your burdens upon Him.
What’s unique about my calling?
Since everyone is unique, there will be a uniqueness about your calling. You may start off looking like another church, but there will be a look, a feel that is uniquely yours. Each of us are given different “talents”. God delights in the multiplication of the talents but the means through which that multiplication comes may differ from church to church, community to community, nation to nation. What’s unique about the community that God put you amongst? Unity may not necessarily equate to uniformity.
One of the great dangers of church planting surfaces when we are focused on trying to duplicate the calling of another.
Yes there is much that we can learn from others, there may be strategies and ideas that we can get and apply from other churches, but we must be faithful to the uniqueness of our calling, that’s where we will find our greatest breakthroughs.
In the midst of our church planting zeal and eagerness to learn from and emulate the successful ministries of others, we had to stop to notice what God was doing in our midst, the kind of people that He was sending our way, the doors that He was opening, especially the unexpected ones. Sometimes we can look for what we want God to do and miss out on what God is doing.
When we stopped to ask ourselves what was unique about what God was doing in our ministry, we started to see doors open for ministry that we never had considered before.
So there they are: three questions for the church planter. There are many more, but these are at the top of my list and I trust will be in yours as well.
You might know them as MAMILs (Middle-Aged Men In Lyrca) but there are many Australian families who call them everyday heroes.
Formed in 2010 at C3 Oxford Falls, the home church of Ps Phil & Chris Pringle, the C3 Cyclists are passionate about making a difference in the lives of sick kids through the Humpty Dumpty Foundation. Their annual fundraising ride through rural Australia is always a test of strength and endurance under soaring outback temperatures, and this year was no different.
Their 2019 Country To Coast Tour took the cyclists from Tamworth to Newcastle over 5 days – a gruelling 740km journey which ended at John Hunter Children’s Hospital on October 20th.
Thanks to the generous donations of hundreds of supporters, the cyclists were able to raise $47,809, which has enabled the Humpty Dumpty Foundation to donate life-saving equipment to paediatric, neonatal and maternity wards in need.
Brisbane was flooded with volunteers last weekend for C3 Bridgeman Downs’s annual Love Brisbane event – a community-wide working bee to benefit locals.
From revamping the local drug & alcohol rehab centre, to backyard blitzes for returned servicemen, the volunteers spent all day loving on Brisbane.
Check out some highlights below.
Photos by C3 Bridgeman Downs.
For the third year in a row, C3 Church City Darlinghurst has raised funds for farming families in the Dubbo area, who have been hit particularly hard by drought. This year, United Petroleum has also risen to the occasion by matching the $25,000 donation with $25,000 worth of fuel.
On Friday 15th November, volunteers from C3 made their way to Dubbo to distribute the goods, including:
- 100 fuel cards to the value of $500
- 15 tonnes of free food and water
- thousands of fresh meals
- consumable items
Overall the day was a huge success.
Dubbo, we’re with you! Farming families are the heartbeat of this sunburnt country, and our continuing thoughts and prayers are with you.
Photos by C3 Church City Darlinghurst.
Ever had an impromptu conversation with someone that changed your life? Well, that happened for us in a coffee shop right outside of Presence in 2018.
In fact, that conversation didn’t just change our lives, it changed our church. No drama, just truth. It’s my honor to write this blog. I hope that in reading it, your lives and churches will be changed too.
During our last morning’s breakfast, Jeff’s phone vibrated. It was a message from Ps Jurgen Matthesius asking if we wanted to grab coffee just before the first session. Although I had an outfit change waiting at the hotel, and my jet-lagged self wanted some down time, we decided the impromptu coffee was well worth the fashion sacrifice.
So off we rushed! Of course, Ps Jurgen beat us there. He was cooly waiting at the counter, ready to treat us to an almond milk flat white and a large long black. We sat there, chatting through a few minutes of pleasantries, when Jeff went for the jugular. There we were, having a fun visit, and Jeff jumps into the deep within the first five minutes! My eyes grew wide at the quick change of vibe, but I decided to follow along. After all, time was short! We had nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“So Ps Jurgen, you have this unbelievable gift for recalling scripture. I read my Bible and study a lot, but I don’t even come close. What’s your secret?” Jeff asked. Ps Jurgen reached into his man bag and out comes an intensely worn paper edition of The One Year Bible. He answered, “I read this through every year. Each year, I just change versions. That is the secret. That’s it.” As their conversation continued, I immediately went on Amazon and bought a One Year Bible. I wanted it waiting for me when we got home. When we arrived home, there was one waiting for Jeff as well. Turns out he had ordered one too!
When you ask for advice from your overseer, follow his advice!
To be super honest, I had ALWAYS judged One Year Bible readers. I felt like they weren’t consuming God’s word, just checking it off. However when your overseer speaks, you shift your thinking! Jeff and I began reading immediately. Just two months in Jeff said, “Sunny, every member of our church needs this. Just imagine what could happen!”
So, on December 16, 2018 we handed out 900 beautifully wrapped NLT One Year Bibles to every member of our church. Since then, even 9 months later, the feedback has been astounding!
Just like Jeff imagined, we walk by conversations regularly – members going on about that day’s reading. Small groups are being formed JUST to discuss the One Year Bible. People that occasionally read their Bibles are now reading every day. People that NEVER read their Bibles are reading all the time!!
Our church isn’t only growing in numbers, the people in the church are growing in wisdom and understanding.
It’s been incredible! Honestly, it’s the best investment we’ve ever made.
On December 15, 2019 we will be handing out 1000 beautifully wrapped NIV One Year Bibles to everyone in our church. Just like Ps Jurgen suggested – new year, new translation. We are confident that the results will again be astounding. Until then, we are on the edge of our seats!
God will move again, we know He will: “I will build my church and all the powers of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Over the years I have allowed some men and women in the Bible to be my mentor. They have inspired and challenged my life in terms of my character, calling and leadership. In recent years Mordecai has captured my heart and I believe he is the unsung hero of the book of Esther. I particularly appreciate how the book concludes with an epilogue headed;
“The Greatness of Mordecai”.
I remember when this title first grabbed my attention and provoked me to consider why Mordecai was described as great. There’s a book in the business world, “From Good to Great”, which James Collins wrote to help good companies transition to being great companies. I like to think we can all learn from Mordecai and how to transition from being good leaders to great leaders. Here are three things that I aspire to be and to learn from Mordecai:
- The Virtue of Greatness
Greatness starts as a private virtue before it is expressed in the public arena.
Greatness is about outstanding influence and importance however it always begins with greatness of character. YOU DO GREAT things because YOU ARE great.
Greatness of deed always begins with greatness of heart.
Mordecai was influential and important because he had greatness on the inside. He was a principled man who had strength of calling, character and convictions. Mordecai’s principles led him to make uncompromising decisions which paved the way for both his promotions and his adversities. In all that he did, Mordecai embodied the scripture: But the noble man devises noble plans; And by noble plans he stands. Isaiah 32:8
- Greatness is found in Serving Another
The book of Esther describes Mordecai as the Jew who was second in rank to King Xerxes (10:2). The fact that a Jew was placed in such a prominent position in the courts of a Persian king when the Israelite people were in exile was a divine act of God. At the moment when King Xerxes took his signet ring off and placed it on Mordecai’s finger (8:2), Mordecai was given the responsibility to rule and to lead.
Whether we serve in ministry or in the marketplace we are often called to support another leader, and this by no means minimises our ability to be great.
In the role that my husband and I have as Executive Pastors we posture ourselves to wisely and respectfully steward the responsibility that Ps Phil and Chris have given us. Our desire is to successfully lead as we serve the vision of another.
- Greatness is Working for the Good of the People
Mordecai was great; “because he worked for the good of his people and spoke up for the welfare of all the Jews” (10:3). I am so moved by this statement. Mordecai was great because he was kind! I always want to be a kind leader. Someone who looks out for the welfare of others – for our team, our location pastors, our staff and of course the people in our church.
First and foremost, leaders need to work for the good of the people.
Often leaders can be vision, goal or project focused and people can be the resource to make this happen. My sense is that Mordecai was not like that. He spoke up and fought for the welfare of his people. As a leader I want to be like Mordecai, so I try my best to always encourage, to show care and to be kind.
The mark of greatness is found in loving others.
Planting churches is not an option for the adventurous – it is a mandate for all of God’s church.
In this mandate we see mirrored, or, more properly, fulfilled, the creative and obligatory decree of Genesis 1:28 – that of being fruitful and multiplying. The authority given in this original proclamation is given new impetus, authority and focus in the words of Jesus that all authority in heaven and earth has been given to him. That is why we can and should Go. We are participating by the expansion of churches in the New Creation project of God.
The making of disciples, the last command of the Risen Christ, is best accomplished in the expansion and formulation of new churches/locations/campus – the fact being more important than the form.
The prophet Isaiah called out:
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitation be stretched out;
do not hold back; length your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your offspring will possess the nations,
and will people the desolate cities.”
These verses have long captured the prophetic imagination of C3 Churches, and in particular Ps Phil Pringle. They have provided vision and focus. And it is these two things that are essential to enlarge, stretch, strengthen and possess. Vision is necessary to fulfil the mandate, and focus is required to give legs to vision.
At one juncture in the history of the early church it was persecution that forced the church’s hand to, “go and make disciples.”
They were forced to relocate around the Empire, taking the good news with them and forming loose communities, which became the seedbed/precursors to the eventual establishment of churches under the more deliberate intentionalized apostolic ministry of Paul and Barnabas (and others).
It has been sagely stated that the hope of the world is the local church. (And so it was, and so it is, and so it will be.) He meant that as we expand and gather God’s people we are providing hope for the world, the country, the community we find ourselves in. It was the gospel embodied (incarnated) in the life of the believers that became the reason for the triumph of faith in the Roman Empire. Love verses power, and love won.
Ed Stetzer states, “Any church wishing to recover the dynamic nature of the early church should consider planting new churches.”
Whilst recovering the dynamic of the early church may be a little more nuanced than Stetzer’s comment accounts for, we would be well advised to, at least, make a start by doing what he does suggest. New life engenders new life.
The temptation to only maintain what we have may well be irresponsible, and at very least negligent as it tends towards atrophy.
By nature most of us are conservative; we find expanding a stretching exercise, not always comfortable – and neither is it. But the call of being in Christ asks something more of us, more than we think we are capable of, more than seems reasonable, and more than becoming less – as that is what we will become it we don’t think and live out, if we don’t some how, some day, Go.
This blog is part of our online church planting resource base. To find out more, ask your senior pastor for access to Xpress.
 Matthew 28:18
 Matthew 28:19-20
 Isaiah 54:2-3 (ESV)
 I highly recommend Rodney Stark’s, The Rise of Christianity. (New York, NY: HarperOne, 1997). He is a sociologist/historian with unique insights.
 Ed Stetzer, and Daniel Im. Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches That Multiply. Second edition. (Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Academic, 2016), 42
Faith in ministry includes setting goals so incredibly bold that you’re bound to fail unless God moves in a miraculous way. We plant churches and lead churches to expand. And we want to expand greatly. Expansion represents transformed lives, people connected to Jesus and His saving power, and people living their best lives for His cause in our world.
God has designed all living things to reproduce, to multiply and to expand. It’s the way things work. How much more His church?
The Bible opens straight out of the gate with a Creation Commission for all human beings created in the image of God: “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:26-28).
The gospels open with Jesus calling for the same. He taught kingdom expansion in parable after parable. The King is looking for hearts that, like good soil, bear fruit 30, 60, and a 100 fold (Matthew 13:23). The kingdom begins small like a mustard seed and grows into a large mustard tree. The kingdom is seemingly insignificant at first like yeast in a lump of dough but grows In significance as it permeates the world. The kingdom progressively advances like the growing seed becoming first the blade, then the ear and then the full grain in the ear. (Mark 4:26-29). Growth. Increase. Expansion. It’s what the kingdom does. It’s what kingdom people do.
Jesus’ final words in the gospels – the Great Commission – is an expansion of the Creation Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” (Matthew 28:18-20). Reproduce yourselves. Multiply. It’s a global vision for expansion.
I therefore regularly ask myself as a leader if my faith is based on what I think is possible, or on God, who says all things are possible?
My prayers at times are small-minded. I limit my requests to things I think are possible. What if I prayed God-sized prayers?
What would this mean in practical terms for the expansion of your church and your ministry? Rick Warren suggests adding a zero to every goal you set. Do you want to reach 100 for Christ in your community? Then set a goal to reach 1,000. Set a bold goal that is bound to fail unless God moves in a miraculous way. It is in the realm of the impossible that faith works.
None of this happens by accident. We pray and work hard. We develop the skills to reach our communities. Expansion thinking focuses on building big people. Quality people. Big people build big churches.
There is a church growth and church health progression recorded in the book of Acts. It describes the exponential growth of the church in direct relation to the growth of the quality of person. In other words, the Acts Progression shows us that the quantity of people we reach happens because of the quality of people we develop.
“Souls were added…” Acts 2:41
“Believers were increasingly added…” Acts 5:14
“The number of the disciples was multiplying…” Acts 6:1
“The number of the disciples multiplied greatly…and a great many of the priests were obedient.” Acts 6:7
As the quality of people progresses from saved souls to believers, and from believers to disciples and from disciples to the salvation of the Jewish opposition’s most influential leaders, the church grows exponentially. People are added and then increasingly added, they are multiplying and then multiplying greatly.
Seek God, hear what God has to say and then believe Him for big, big things. He is more committed to expansion than we realize. God’s kingdom works by expansion.
This blog is part of our online church planting resource base. To find out more, ask your senior pastor for access to Xpress.