Posts Tagged ‘assessment’

God is in the Highs and Lows

We experienced some highs and lows this week. The week started with our incubator training for church planters, which is always a highlight. Then this weekend I was an assessor for a Discovery Center for sixteen church planting candidates. Usually we spread those events out, but this time they happened on the same week.

Dawn’s Dad, Alfred Moore Passed Through Heaven’s Gates

Alfred Moore

In the middle of the week, in the middle of all this activity we sadly lost Dawn’s dad, Al. Alfred Moore went to be with the Lord at 2:12 AM EDT on Thursday, May 4. Dawn’s mom, Alice is thankful that Al didn’t experience any pain and that he didn’t suffer long after they discovered he had advanced stages of cancer. Dawn is with her mom and brother now in the Philadelphia area. When I talked to them today they mentioned that the Lord has given them peace as they mourn Al’s home going.

We appreciate your prayers for the Lord’s peace and comfort during this difficult time as we experience another significant loss so close to our daughter’s passing. The funeral will be on Saturday, May 13th.

God is On The Move Even Through These Difficult Days

The Lord is working in the midst of these momentary light afflictions. I’m grateful for the opportunities to invest in the lives of our leaders, pastors and church planters.



Incubator Church Planting Training

Three of the guys going through our incubator church planting training just started their church in the last few months. Many of them echoed the sentiments of our friend Petri, who is planting a church in Ensenada. Petri said that the principles we are training them in are coming just at the right time for him. He is taking what he learns during the incubator and sharing it with his core group.

One of the pastors in the group, Abraham said he was going to use what he learned with his leadership team as they had a meeting planned during the week. Many of the pastors there mentioned they hoped to implement what they were learning in their church.

Thank you Jesus for all the good things you are doing in the midst of our pain.

God is On The Move in Discovery

The Discovery Center

Then this weekend I was with eight couples who have a passion to seeing the Lord’s kingdom extended on the earth. Not all the couples are young, but they are youthful and have dreams and vision for a better tomorrow. It gives me energy when I’m with them. I also love being with the assessment team. They are great friends and we have a good time serving together. This is the joy of the Discovery Center.

Most of the candidates that are approved will go on to prepare themselves further and then plant a church in the next year. The hope, the vision and the passion to see the Lord bring change and tranformation to the lives of people in a new community is life giving.

God is with us, even in the middle of our pain. He is alive and he is on the move, which gives us life and it gives us hope.

In His Grip, Dave

Discovery Center Assessment
The church planting candidates working through an exercise during the Discovery Center

The church planting candidates working through an exercise during the Discovery Center

Eleven candidates experienced two and a half days of adventure, learning and a level of stress. Hopefully, it was worth it. I think it was.

The reason they put themselves through an evaluation process where they are grilled by those of us assessing is because they are interested in planting a church. Even the assessors go through long days during the assessment process.

This evaluation process that we call the Discovery Center isn’t something easy to endure, but it is worth it. The goal is to do the best job we can as an assessment team to determine if the candidates have the skills, knowledge, attitudes and gifts necessary to plant a church. If we do a good job it can save those who don’t have the necessary gifts a lot of heartache, and it can also be a great source of encouragement and confirmation for those that are called to plant a church.

On the last day when we let the candidates know whether they received a green light or not I find it gratifying to see all the smiles. There are some who receive some news they weren’t hoping for, and of course in those cases there is disappointment. In this particular assessment there were a lot of smiles and even some tears of joy!

There is a huge need for new churches to be started. In fact, it’s the best way to reach nonbelievers.

Tim Keller says, “The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for 1) the numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and 2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. (“Why Plant Churches” article by Tim Keller, 2002)

Pray for a New Church Planting Project
Obed & Cesiah Lares

Obed & Cesiah Lares

One of the couples that came to the Discover Center Obed and Cesiah Lares are going to plant the next church that we are partnering with Pastor Daniel Nuñez and Ministerios Transformación to plant. What a wonderful opportunity to get to know them, and to see how the Lord is leading and guiding them.

We hope to be able to launch the new church plant with Obed and Cesiah in the next 6 months! Join us in prayer as the Lord brings all the loose ends together.

God is on the move in our midst. I love seeing God working in the hearts of men and women.

In His Grip, Dave

God’s Amazing Work of Grace in 2015!
Dave with Victor and Sol Bravo in front of their church

Dave with Victor and Sol Bravo in front of their church

As we approach the end of 2015 it’s a time to reflect on all that the Lord has done! A time to remember all we have to be thankful for.

I’d like to share some of the highlights from this past year.

One of the favorite things I’ve been able to do over the past four years is partner with Lo Mejor del Trigo to start a new church. This March we were able to come alongside our friends led by Pastor Daniel Nuñez to help start church number 24 for LMT. Pastor Victor Bravo is leading this church in Rosarito, Mexico – Plan Libertador. I recently had the opportunity to interview Victor and his wife, Sol and upload it on YouTube. You can view the video below.

Praying for Peace in La Paz
Dave, Dawn and Hannah with Peter & Jenny, Victor, Fanny and Xaris in La Paz

Dave, Dawn and Hannah with Peter & Jenny, Victor, Fanny and Xaris in La Paz

In May Pastor Victor Gonzalez moved to La Paz, Baja California Sur with his wife, Fanny and their daughter Xaris to start a new church planting project. This is a huge win for us as it took a lot of effort to get this project started. This will be the first Presbyterian church with the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico in this city of 250,000. We are praying for many to come to know the Prince of Peace in La Paz.

Keys to a Transformed Life!

This summer a number of pastors, leaders and missionaries went through a workshop on Keys to a Transformed Life with us in San Antonio de Las Minas near Ensenada. The Lord broke through in their lives and brought healing and renewal as we dealt with root issues. As the Lord heals us, we become more effective in leading others towards wholeness in Christ.

VBS fun!

VBS fun!

Summer VBS Fun

Another highlight during the summer was having a group from Skyview Presbyterian Church come to work with the Nueva Jerusalen church in Ensenada. This was the second year in a row that the church has come to help with VBS. As a result of a return visit we saw relationships deepened, and the ministry of the church strengthened. Hallelujah!

God’s Healing Through Medical Missions

God also gave us the opportunity to lead two medical missions outreaches in Ensenada. The medical clinic attracted more people than any outreach Dawn and I have ever been apart of. It was exciting to have such loving and caring doctors and staff treating the patients. The medical attention opened the door for us to pray with each patient and see a number of them put their faith in Christ.

Assessment & Coaching for Church Planters and Leaders
Our group of assessors and church planting candidates

Our group of assessors and church planting candidates

This Fall we held two major events for church planting in Tijuana and Baja California. In November 11 church planting candidate couples went through an assessment center. The need for workers, for church planters remains great, so it was a huge win for us to be able to successfully hold our first assessment center.

Then to finish the year off in December we held our first Gospel Coach training. The Lord gave us a good group of pastors, leaders and missionaries. It was an important first step as we work towards developing a coaching network to support all the pastors, leaders and church planters we are working with.

So Much to be Thankful For!

These are the highlights. There are too many wonderful things that the Lord did to mention them all. It’s so good to think back on God’s outstanding work. The church is advancing! It’s a reminder that we are more than conquerors in Christ!

Dave & Dawn

Dave & Dawn

Dawn and I are cognizant of the fact that we couldn’t be involved in these activities, and we wouldn’t have success if we didn’t have a wonderful group of friends and ministry partners surrounding us! We give thanks for you. Your prayers and your encouragement are vital to the advance of the gospel on the Border, the Baja and Beyond!

We can’t wait to see what the Lord will do in 2016! Hallelujah!

Help Us End the Year Strong

Join us in prayer so that we will end the year strong financially so that we’re able to capitalize on the exciting opportunities in front of us in 2016!



In His Grip, Dave

Our Battle is not of the Flesh

Last week my daughter, Hannah and I were working on one of her memory verses for the week. It seems like a fitting verse for some of the trials we are going through. 2 Corinthians 10:3 – 6 addresses the cosmic warfare going on around us each and every day.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 ESV

Paul is making the point that since the warfare we are involved is not carnal or of the flesh, our weapons are not of the flesh. The bad news is that we are in a war, but the good news is that those in Christ are on the winning side. The weapons we have been given are powerful.

Take Every Thought Captive
Candidates that went through the church planter's evaluation

Candidates that went through the church planter’s evaluation

They are powerful enough to destroy strongholds. These weapons demolish arguments and smash prideful warped thinking that comes against the knowledge of God. Then Paul exhorts us to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”

That is the challenge we face. We can give into believing the worst about our situation. It’s like a downward spiral when we start listening to the lies of the evil one.

Let us encourage one another to choose the high road in God’s grace. To believe that God is at work even in the difficult trials that we go through.

Our family has found that inevitably when we have a big important event for the advance of the kingdom that we are attacked. Those working with us also become a target. We just held our first church planters assessment event, which is a huge and important step in starting more new churches in Tijuana, Ensenada, Mexicali and Los Cabos.

Family & Friends Under Attack

The days leading up to the assessment our family was attacked as we went through another difficult trial. One of our church planter candidate couples experienced some challenges in their finances and their job situation, which kept them from coming. They were one of our top candidates, but they had to bow out. Then two of our assessors came under fire and their health was attacked and they were not able to participate.

Despite these efforts to thwart our progress the evaluation of the church planters went according to plan and was a great success.

The piston that came out of our car engine

The piston that came out of our car engine

Then last week our family came under more attack. Hannah was driving back from some time of fellowship with some of her girlfriends. She was driving on the freeway when all the sudden the warning lights in the car went on. She pulled over to the side of the road as soon as possible. Smoke was pouring out from under the hood.

Hannah was afraid.  She called us and we were obviously very concerned for her safety. I rushed out to find her, and I called the tow truck to help us with the car. When the two truck driver saw the car, and all the damage caused by the heat he said we were fortunate the car didn’t burst into flames.

The end result was that the engine literally blew out. A piston put a big hole through the engine. Now we find ourselves fighting with the company that holds the warranty to get the car covered. It should be covered, but it appears they are doing everything they can to wiggle out of it.

I have to be honest, these things are discouraging. Dawn and I start worrying about what this could mean for us.

The day after the car incident is when Hannah and I were working on memorizing 2 Corinthians 10:4,5. What an excellent reminder about the war that we are engaged in. We seek to take every thought in obedience to Christ.

Join in the Battle Through Prayer
Taken from Sunset Cliffs in San Diego

The piston that came out of our car engine

A big part of this cosmic battle is prayer. Our family needs to pray, and we are motivated to do so. We realize that we need our friends like you to stand in the gap, and to join us in prayer. Pray for a quick and easy resolution with our car situation. That we can get it fixed and with minimal cost to us.

We also need prayer for ongoing protection against the attacks of the evil one. He prowls as a lion seeking whom he may devour.

I give thanks that we worship a God who is victorious and that we can share in his victory!

In His Grip, Dave

More Churches on the Border, The Baja & Beyond
Our group of assessors and church planting candidates

Our group of assessors and church planting candidates celebrating a successful week

Our desire is to see more churches in Mexico. A church planting movement on the border, the Baja and Beyond. We can’t reach that goal without more workers. This is the main reason we hold church planting assessments. We want to find more qualified ministers of the gospel to start more churches.

Lord, Hear our prayer for more workers.

Thank You for Praying!

The Lord answered our prayers big time this last week. Thanks for responding to our plea for help. Our first assessment center for church planting candidates in Tijuana was a huge success.

candidates doing a team exercise

Candidates during a team exercise

Eleven couples went through the assessment process. Eight of them were from Baja California, one from Monterrey and two from Juarez. We also had assessors in from all of those places.

We work long hours during the four days the candidates are evaluated. I might add that there is a degree of stress for the candidates, because they know they are being evaluated. The assessors also encounter stress, because we feel the weight of coming up with an accurate evaluation.

Despite the long days, our candidates and assessors displayed much grace during the process.

In our work with the two main ministries we are partnering with the church planters have to be approved before they can start a new church planting project. This is an important first step! It’s a huge win for us that the Lord gave us such a good week.

Our next step with these church planters is to provide training for them. We will also begin working on developing new church planting projects in Ensenada and Tijuana especially.

The Importance of Prayer
Prayer played an important part of the assessment process

Prayer played an important part of the assessment process

Dawn and I felt the prayers this last week for our family as well as for the ministry in Tijuana. Some days were tense, but the Lord watched over our family and all of those involved and kept us safe.

Your prayers play an important part in the advance of the ministry on the border. Thanks so much!

The Lord encouraged my soul as he gave us success this week. Rejoice with us in God’s great work.

In His Grip, Dave

P.S. We are looking for a car for Hannah, now that she has started her IMPACT 195 discipleship training school. Pray that we can find a inexpensive car, or that someone would donate one.



A Big Event Starts Today! We Need Your Help!
Taken from Sunset Cliffs in San Diego

Taken from Sunset Cliffs in San Diego

Today in Tijuana we are starting an evaluation process for church planting candidates. I have 40 people coming in between candidates and assessors to run this assessment.

This is a big event for us as we partner with churches in Mexico to see a church planting movement advance.

Dawn and I have noticed that when we have important events that the attacks start. The battle is on.

One couple has already had to bow out, because of a huge trial they are going through. One of our assessors has suffered an infection which is keep him from attending. My family has already experienced some difficult trials as we head into this week.

Lift Up Holy Hands to the Lord!
Praying for transformed lives in Mexico

Praying for transformed lives in Mexico

As we begin these four days to evaluate the skills, knowledge, attitudes and gifts of these church planting candidates we need your prayer covering for all those involved and for our families. God hears our prayers. Our battle is not against flesh and blood.

Lord, thank you for the victory that we have in Christ! Help us live in that truth. Jesus defeated sin, death and Satan on the cross. Hallelujah! 

For though we walk in he flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the wagons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. – 2 Corinthians 10:3,4 ESV

We need your help to hold up holy hands as we come against the forces of darkness. We are more than conquerors in Christ.

In His Grip, Dave


Kingdom Advance
JD Pearring & Daniel Nuñez leading the Discovery Center

JD Pearring & Daniel Nuñez leading the Discovery Center

This has been a huge week as we seek to see gospel expansion on the border, the Baja and Beyond.

In Tijuana Lo Mejor del Trigo is partnering with Transformation Ministries to conduct a Discovery Center (church planter’s assessment) for five church planting candidate couples. I was able to be with them on the first day of the Discovery Center, and there was some excitement in the air as it got underway.

This assessment an important tool to evaluate whether the church planting candidates have the gifts, calling and skills to be church planters. It can save them much heartache if they are not right for the job. It also can be a real boost, and a great opportunity to learn more about their strengths and weaknesses if they called to plant a church. Church planting is not for the faint of heart!

Training Church Planters
Church planting incubator

Church planting incubator training

After we determine that they are called to be church planters, it’s critical that they receive training and support.

This week we are partnering with our MTW team in Monterrey, Mexico to provide training for church planters. Pastor Ivan Casados who is planting a church in a community called Ribera del Bosque in Tijuana is going through this training, and he is in Monterrey this week.

Our hope is to strengthen and further develop our selection process and our training for all the church planters that we are partnering with. Lo Mejor del Trigo has been such a valuable partner, and we love being able to work with them with the hope of helping them to reach their goal of planting 50 or more churches in Tijuana and beyond.

We are also working with the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico. Soon we will be launching a new church planting project with them in La Paz, Baja California Sur. The lead church planter is also in Monterrey going through the church planting training.

A New Work in Tijuana

While we are busy evaluating and training church planters we are also ramping up for the new church plant that we will starting with LMT in March. I saw pastor Victor Bravo this week, and he is chomping at the bit to start this new work. Victor and his wife, Sol are already holding outreach events in the community to share the love of Christ.

Join Us In Prayer for the Church & Our Family
Hannah with her Grandpa

Hannah with her Grandpa

Your prayer is so important to us. The Lord is the one that builds the church. We look to him and trust him. We ask him to guide and lead us along the way.

Thanks so much for your ongoing prayer for Hannah and for our family. It has been a long trial. Our hope is in the Lord and in his faithfulness. We are so encouraged by the outpouring of prayer by our friends.

As this trial has gone on more and more people are asking us what is going on. I’m purposefully being discreet about how much I share. While we need the prayer and a lot of it, I believe it’s important to protect Hannah’s privacy by not sharing too much. It’s a fine balance to try to maintain.

We know that the Lord hears your prayers, and he knows how to intercede for us even when we don’t know quite how to pray. He is answering and sustaining us through you!

In His Loving Grip, Dave

Dave with Daniel Nuñez and two of the church planters, Ivan Casados and Jose Luis Rivera

Dave with Daniel Nuñez and two of the church planters, Ivan Casados and Jose Luis Rivera

On the border and in Baja we are talking about developing an evaluation process for our church planters. Assessment is a great tool that can aid people in making better decisions about whether they have the gifts and skills to be competent church planters.

For us to do a better job in church planting we need to improve our evaluation process. That is a huge need, so we need your prayers!

This week I’m in the Philadelphia area working with World Team evaluating their missionary candidates. The great thing about this opportunity is that I’m able to learn more about how we can do a better job on the border and in the Baja as we seek to develop a strong assessment process and ongoing training for our church planters.

Worshipping with World Team's missionary candidates

Worshipping with World Team’s missionary candidates

I’m impressed by the questions that I found in World Team’s new candidate booklet. They were used by the Dohnavur staff, led by Amy Carmichael, missionary to India in the late 19th century-early 20th century. Carmichael served in India for 55 years without a furlough.

Here’s a sample of some of the questions that they would ask of those interested in serving in missions:

  • Do you truly desire to live a crucified? (This may mean doing very humble things joyfully for His Name’s sake.)
  • Does the thought of hardness draw you or repel you?
  • Do you realize that we are a family, not an institution? Are you willing to do whatever helps most?
  • Apart from the Bible, can you name three or four books which have been of vital help to you? Apart from books, what refreshes you most when tired?
  • Have you ever learned any classical or continental languages?
  • Have you every had opportunity to prove our Lord’s promise to supply temporal as well as spiritual needs?
  • Can you mention any experience you have passed through in your Christian life which brought you into a new discovery of your union with the crucified, risen and enthroned Christ?

In a statement written a few years later, Amy Carmichael put it briefly, “Do not come unless you can say to your Lord and to us, ‘The Cross is the attraction.'”

–From A Chance To Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael, by Elisabeth Elliot.

Maybe we should be asking some of these same questions. In missions if there is any gloss it will quickly wear off, so a love for Christ is of the utmost for his highest.

Paul said it well in 2 Corinthians 5:11a & 14a

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others… For the love of Christ controls us…

I pray that this commitment and drive will be true for all who follow Christ.

In His Grip, Dave