5Stone Plant in Chanute, Kansas

Steve and Stacy Galt are returning to their home town of Chanute, Kansas, to plant Grace Community Church with FiveStone Churches. Planting in Chanute brings Steve and Stacy back to the town where they were born and raised and built their relationship. We really care about the people in Chanute, said Steve. We're looking forward to coming home. Chanute could use another church that faithfully preaches, teaches  and lives the Scriptures.

Grace Community Church will build on four core values:

  • Seeking Uncompromising Biblical Faithfulness –  recognizing the need for God’s guidance and instruction via the Scriptures, without assuming that the church will be biblical because it affirms the Bible’s authority.
  • Living Gospel-Centered, Worship-Fueled Lives – the gospel is not only the way into Christianity, but it is the fuel for faithfulness and obedience. The deepest and most enduring joy in life comes through what Jesus has done. This leads to faithfulness and obedience.
  • Pursuing Authentic Christian Community – In many churches, people look good on the outside while they might be struggling on the inside. The church should be a place where everyone is allowed to be open, honest and real about the struggles of life. 
  • Spreading Joy in the Biblical Mission – the church should be made up of missionaries in the community. The church should spread the joy and worship of relationship with Jesus Christ. The church is to work as instruments within the context of the local community.

Several families and individuals have committed to building the core planting team in Chanute, and several others have committed to supporting the church plant through prayer and financial gifts. The new church anticipates hosting its first public worship service in the fall. Steve, Stacy and their two children—Hannah and Josiah—expect to move to Chanute in August after closing their ministry responsibilities at their church in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Steve has more than 10 years of increasing pastoral ministry experience at two churches; he has a master of divinity degree from Luther Rice Seminary, a master’s degree in biblical languages and exegesis from Wheaton College and a bachelor’s degree in theology from Moody Bible Institute.

To read a blog article about the Chanute church plant, click here.

Encounter Church: First 5Stone Plant in Canada

Encounter Churchthe first FiveStone plant in Canadais coming to Kingston, Ontario. The city of 125,000 in eastern Ontario is home to the Canadian Forces Base and Queen's University

Planting pastor Andrew DeBartolo has served as an associate pastor at churches in Kingston and in Vaughn, Ontario. Kingston needs another gospel-preaching church, he said. Our vision for a new church is focused on loving the Lord and making disciples of Jesus Christ. We want to encounter Him.

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Andrew said he was not interested in doing the work of church planting on his own, which is a primary reason why he pursued a relationship with FiveStone Churches. I value mentorship and accountability. I like the core values of FiveStone Churches and I like being a part of a network of churches that values relationships. I'm grateful to have those relationships as we grow the church plant.

Encounter Church expects to emerge with its first public worship service in the spring.

Andrew has a bachelor's degree in pastoral studies from Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto. He and his wife, Kathryn, have two sons, Malakai and Levi.

More about Encounter Church is available in a blog article here and on the church's website here.

Church Planting in Bakersfield, Calif.

Bakersfield, Calif., is the location of a church plant to be started in the FiveStone Churches network, through the pastoral leadership of Cary Nack.

Vanguard Bible Church will be planted under the conviction that the Lord’s church should aggressively take ground—make disciples—for the Lord’s glory and for His pleasure. The word vanguard calls up an image of devoted followers of Jesus Christ who are at the forefront of a movement.

The Lord has called us to expand His kingdom in Bakersfield, Cary said. There’s an immense need for more churches that are effective in ministry. We need more churches that are making strong disciples. Only about 20 percent of all churches are growing, and many churches are plateaued or declining. Many churches are closing their doors.

The city of 360,000 is 110 miles north of Los Angeles and 280 miles south of San Francisco. Bakersfield is growing fast; its population was 185,000 in 1990.

There are many thousands in Bakersfield who don't know Christ, he said. We envision a church that will bring many people into discipleship relationships. We plan to offer opportunities to serve and to lead. Our vision is to see Bakersfield and Kern County radically transformed by the Gospel.

Cary is building a core group in preparation of this fall’s expected first public worship service of Vanguard Bible Church. The FiveStone Church Plant Manual will serve as the template of prayer and preparation for this fall’s expected first public worship service. He plans to cast vision for the new church that will focus on five key words: Word, Worship, Walk, Work, Witness.

Several core values will mark Vanguard Bible Church, including:

  • Preaching: bold exposition with application;
  • Worship: contemporary, passionate, contemplative;
  • Discipleship: intentional; built around Word, Worship, Walk, Work, Witness;
  • Gospel-centered Missions: service plus evangelism;
  • Excellence: honors God, removes distractions, attracts people;
  • Holiness without legalism.

Cary served as the planting pastor of a flourishing church in Illinois nine years ago and also has pastored in Indiana and Texas. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and enjoys basketball, football, guitar, drums and movies.

Cary and his wife, Maija, are parents to two sons and two daughters: Gabrielle, Jonathan, Dillon and Abigail. Maija has a bachelor's degree from the University of Iowa and enjoys leading Bible studies, reading, baking and tennis.

Read more about the vision for Vanguard Bible Church in this blog article.

5Stone Church Plant in Austin, Texas

FiveStone Churches is preparing a church plant in Austin, Texas, this fall. Aaron Reyes, an Austin native, is completing a residency at Christian Fellowship Church in Itasca and is building a core group in preparation of the first worship service

The Austin plant will be formed in four DNA strands: Rooted in the Gospel (Romans 1:16-17); Driven by Discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20); Engaging All to Win Some (1 Corinthians 9:22); and Cultivating Unity in Diversity (Ephesians 4:1-6).

Below are details of Aaron’s vision for the church:

Why plant a church? The best way to spread the gospel and advance God’s kingdom is to plant churches. Church planting brings the gospel to new places, peoples, and neighborhoods. God began impressing this burden upon me about four years ago and He made it clear that Austin was the location.

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Why Austin? Austin is a great city with great diversity. There are many gospel-centered, evangelical churches in Austin, but there is a lack of evangelical churches on the east side of Austin. The east side is the most diverse part of the city. It has Caucasians, Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans across several generations and groups. I want to see God transform individuals, families, and neighborhoods. I want to see people across cultural and economic backgrounds worshipping the one true God.   

How did you land on the church plant’s four DNA statements? The first strand of our DNA, Rooted in the Gospel, is born out of the conviction that believers are dependent on the gospel of Jesus (Romans 1:16-17). Christians do not grow out of the gospel. We must keep the gospel before us (Hebrews 2:1).

The second strand, Driven by Discipleship, stems from the conviction that the Christian life is a life of discipleship. The Christian life is more than attending a local church on a Sunday morning. A Christian follows Jesus (Matthew 28:19-20) and is being transformed into His image (Romans 8:29). This requires action. Believers are called to live life with other saints and to build each other up. I want to be a church known for its discipleship (Ephesians 4:11-16).

The third strand, Engaging All to Win Some, derives from two realities. First, evangelism is not primarily an activity that only the pastor performs on a Sunday morning. The believers must engage others in daily life. Believers must have relationships with non-believers and speak the gospel. Second, if we engage many types of people, we need to learn and appreciate their cultures (1 Corinthians 9:22).

The fourth strand, Cultivating Unity in Diversity, emphasizes unity among believers (Ephesians 4:1-6 and Philippians 2:1-5). Unity will not come naturally in a church that is diverse ethnically, culturally and economically. We need to work at it. The gospel transcends diversity. We want to be diverse and united (1 Corinthians 12:13).

Why plant with 5Stone Churches? FiveStone sees church planting as a process requiring preparation and patience. The leaders of FiveStone care for individual planters. They work hard to prepare and coach before the launch of the church plant.

Why would you want to link with a network? Following Christ should not be individualistic. I want our church to be connected to other churches and individuals. This serves as an example of the Christian life. There are many benefits to being  part of a larger body. I want to have personal relationships with other church leaders and local churches.

Click here to read a blog article about the Austin plant.