“The man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.’” – Matthew 25:24-27
“How far can we stretch our dollars?” has been a question long considered by the millions of North-Americans fighting to free themselves from debt, looking to live the “American Dream,” or even just striving to keep their head above the choppy waters of life. Different for a disciple, however, is the understanding that God gives us all that we have – gifts, talents, education, experiences, social standing, and money – for the advancement of His Kingdom. Our focus, our effort, and our time is redirected for this purpose and is not wasted by worrying about our own needs, since God promises to take care of them. (Matthew 6:33) And so the question for us is not “How far can we stretch our dollars?” but “How far can our dollars stretch?”
So far this year, by the grace of God, we’ve been able to financially participate in the planting of four awesome churches: Santa Barbara, California (January); Gainesville, Florida (January); Sydney, Australia (February); and Houston, Texas (April)! On top of the monetary support given to these locations, the church has also aided the Santa Barbara church planting with the sending of two awesome disciples – Gabriella Murillo and Chris Baty. But with the question of “How far can our dollars stretch?” in future tense and not past tense, our answer will be found throughout the following paragraphs:
The Sears are going to “cowboy up” and plant the church in Dallas, Texas!
1,357 Miles to Dallas, Texas:
Leadership: Tyler & Shay Sears
Send-Off Date: August 10, 2014
With a population of 6.5 million people, Dallas together with the smaller city of Fort Worth boasts the largest metropolitan area of the south. It is home to several iconic professional sports teams; such as the Texas Rangers, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Dallas Mavericks! More importantly though, it is one of the wealthiest cities in the world – making it a strategic location for supporting foreign missions work in the future.
The Sears have traveled all over the world for the ministry, serving God in Eugene, Oregon; London, England; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and in several regions of Los Angeles. Their mission-minded lifestyle and heart to “cowboy up” through the hard challenges of life will make a gigantic impact in D-Town! Here we learn that our dollars can stretch to produce more dollars!
The Kernan family is very fired up to finally have God’s plan for Toronto revealed to them!
2,580 Miles to Toronto, Canada:
Leadership: Tim & Lianne Kernan
Send-Off Date: May 18, 2014
In 2012, the Holy Spirit planted the Paris International Christian Church through the Kernan’s leadership. In time, persecution from the French government did not allow for the renewal of Tim & Lianne’s visas; forcing them to leave the young Paris church behind. Without a designated mission field to work in, the Kernan’s traveled from Paris to Syracuse, New York; then to Los Angeles, California; then to Chennai, India; and then back to Los Angeles where the Holy Spirit’s plans for them were finally revealed.
Tim and Lianne were born in Canada, giving them visa access to Toronto – a city of 5.5 million people in the greater Toronto Area. Amazingly, this is where Tim and Lianne were baptized in our former fellowship before the church had drifted back into a Mainline Church of Christ theology. The Kernan family is excited for the opportunity to rebuild a sold out church in a city so close to their hearts. From this mission team, we learn that our dollars can stretch to where you least expect them!
The Brooms are headed to the mighty metropolis of New York City!
2,762 Miles to New York City, New York:
Leadership: Chris & Theresa Broom
Send-Off Date: August 12, 2014
Though not a church planting, the leadership change of the New York City International Christian Church represents a significant one. Planted back in 2008 by DJ and Kacie Comisford, led by Chris and Kerrie-Sue Adams, and then eventually Andrew and Patrique Smellie, the NYCICC has focused on growing horizontally – meaning that the church has sacrificed resources at the expense of it’s own growth. This summer, however, Chris and Theresa Broom along with Mike and Brittany Underhill and 23 other disciples, will be moving into New York City to grow the church vertically.
Through this goal, the movement will prayerfully have another “LA Church” that has the potential to train a great number of Evangelists and Women’s Ministry Leaders, plant churches, and provide resources for the movement. One need not mention the incredible opportunity presented in the city of New York – a city many would call the greatest city in the world. With this leadership transition, we see that our dollars not only stretch far, but high as well!
The Sirotkin’s are all smiles about going back to Russia!
6,141 Miles to Moscow, Russia:
Leadership: Oleg & Aliona Sirotkin
Send-Off Date: December 14, 2014
On to a different continent, and on to Russia’s capital city – Moscow! A world-power, Russia has a collective population of 143 million people in an area twice the size of the US. Of those 143 million, 11.5 million reside in Moscow; which is the biggest and most influential city of Russia. Currently, there are dozens of remnant disciples (faithful disciples from our former fellowship) in Russia who have joined together from all over in order to create a base for the Sold Out Movement!
In the early 1990’s, when Moscow was planted by our former fellowship, the 17 person mission team had 850 baptisms in their first year. In November of that same year, Oleg was met and baptized with his wife Aliona soon to follow. With their church having fallen apart, Oleg and Aliona have sacrificed a great ordeal so they could move to Los Angeles’ South Region for training in order to return to Russia and rebuild the great church that they’d once been baptized into! Here we learn that our dollars can repair what has been broken!
9,066 Miles to Chennai, India:
Leadership: Raja & Debbie Rajan
Send-Off Date: August 10, 2014
Chennai, with a population of almost 10 million in a very small area, is considered to be one of the densest cities in the world. Of those 10 million, about 18.6% live in slum-like conditions. The lack of infrastructure in Chennai makes living conditions very poor, and allows for the spread of many viruses and diseases. However, historically, it is to the Chennai-area of India that our brother Thomas (also called Didymus) the Apostle traveled in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thomas is probably best noted for doubting Jesus’ resurrection. Perhaps a better representation of Thomas’ heart, though, is found in his statement, “Let us also go, that we may die with [Jesus].” (John 11:16)
Raja and “Debs” Rajan have displayed a Thomas-like heart ever since they took a stand for the truth in the early days of the new movement. Beginning with just them, they built the church in India up to almost 100 disciples. This summer, our movement’s leaders’s, Kip and Elena Mckean, will be living in Chennai for a short period of time to train the Rajans and officially plant the Chennai International Christian Church! From this we find that our dollars can stretch to bring health – spiritual and physical – to places that are lacking!
Dylan is embraced by the Singles brothers right after his baptism!
How far can our dollars stretch? Our dollars can stretch 1,357 miles to Texas. They can stretch 2,580 miles to Canada, and 2,762 miles to New York City. Our dollars can cross over land and ocean, and stretch the 6,141 miles to Russia. They can infiltrate the most densely populated areas and stretch the 9,066 miles to India! But ultimately, our dollars, when sacrificed for the Kingdom of God, can stretch to an immeasurable distance between here and Heaven as they make an eternal difference for every lost soul they impact! And it will be there where ever disciple of Jesus will return the talents we’ve been given back to our Lord “with interest!” To Him be the glory!