New Planter Spotlight: Derrick Parks

Derrick Parks IS THE HEAD PASTOR FOR Epiphany Church of Wilmington in Delaware. WE ARE HONORED TO PARTNER WITH HIM AND THE CHURCH COMMUNITY BEGINNING IN 2018.

How have you seen God working in your life?

I have seen God change me through the gospel by affirming character as I reflect on the scriptures. I get to see the continuous narrative of God's faithfulness in the scriptures as I read them. God has been calling me to trust the narrative of the scriptures in my life.

God is working on my patience in seeing the narrative unfold. I can want the things that I want, when I want them. I forget, too frequently, that Christ is for his church prospering are than I am. I need to rest more in the reality of God's incredible faithfulness.

How have you seen God working in your family?

My initial thoughts about cultivating a healthy relationship with my wife and kids were too anemic. I believe that if I just prioritized my family then we would have a healthy relationship. I believed if I set up date nights for my wife and attended all of my children's activities that we would have a healthy relationship.

Planting this church has taught me that those things just aren't enough in order for us to cultivate a healthy relationship. Spiritual warfare is a real occurrence that I was not prepared for as it pertained to the health of my family relationships.

God began to challenge me to cover my family in prayer more that I have done before. Our prayer life, not strategies, has been the new key to our relational health.

How have you seen God working in your church?

God has been working in the life of our church in powerful ways. We have a diverse and vibrant community that has not stopped seeking to serve Christ, the community and the church. God is preparing us to be his church.

The most impactful thing that I have learning during the process of planting this church is that Christ is the one who builds his church. He is the one who draws people to himself. He is the one who gives people the passion to serve his bride. By the power of the spirit he is the one who causes people to grow in maturity.

Therefore, I have learned to stop trying to kill myself trying to accomplish the work that only Christ in his resurrected power could accomplish. I am now able to rest in the work that I am able to do and to request the power of his spirit in all of the work that I cannot accomplish.

Church Mission & Vision

Our mission is to join Jesus in seeking the glory of God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit by being On the Block, in the Middle of it, showing off the glory of Christ. We desire to see “Murdertown USA” become “Mercytown USA.”

Wilmington is in desperate need of more gospel communities to be planted there in order to transform the city. The inner city structure of Wilmington has been declining for several decades. Although Wilmington has a great church history, with one of the oldest churches in America being there, Wilmington is in great need of the gospel of Jesus Christ to transform its deteriorating conditions.

We envision People Restored to Grace, Communities Renewed with Love and a City Revived with Hope.

We want to reach individuals living in poverty that are influenced by hip hop culture between the ages of 14-45. We have identified the West Center City section of Wilmington as our target area. We believe that the West Center City section is prime for the gospel of Jesus Christ to infiltrate hearts. 

Success looks like having individuals from our community walking to church and being involved in discipleship groups. Success looks like five new families a year partaking in the sacrament of baptism.

In the next five years we hope to see the violence in West Center City reduced by 50% through the partnership and collaboration of our church with the city. We hope to see a thriving church flourishing in the city of Wilmington.


 If you would like to reach out to Derrick, you can visit the church's website at www.epiphanywilmington.org.

New Planter Spotlight: Jonathan de Groot

The de Groot Family

The de Groot Family

Jonathan de Groot

Jonathan de Groot

Jonathan de Groot IS THE HEAD PASTOR FOR Christ Church Glasgow, Glasgow, scotland. WE ARE HONORED TO PARTNER WITH HIM AND THE CHURCH COMMUNITY BEGINNING IN 2018.

How have you seen God working in your life?

I've been grateful for God's work in my life as I have grasped more of God's amazing grace through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have become more aware of my own sinfulness and have grown to understand, in a greater way, his covenant love for me. As I look back on my life as a Christian I am aware that God has guided me, his ways have been right, and he has enabled me to persevere through trials and the testing of my faith. In seeking to be faithful to him and unashamed of Jesus Christ and his words, I have needed to depend on God more and more. I trust my past experiences of life and ministry have been the necessary preparation for what is to come in the future. I am conscious that there will be many opportunities as well as challenges, besides great joy and satisfaction, in following Jesus and making him known.

How have you seen God working in your family?

God has been good in blessing me with a wife and three children. Our family is excited about starting a new church. My wife Sheona has always supported me, feeling equally called to serve alongside me in the work of the gospel. While our chief desire has been to serve God and other people, we have been aware of the need to take care of ourselves amidst the demands of ministry. By God's grace, he has given us the strength and looked after us and our children. As we have grown older, we have learnt lessons, often the hard way, but they have enabled us to make changes for long term sustainability in ministry. It has been a privilege to see how the experience of moving towards a church plant has impacted my children. They have learned the need to obey God’s Word and stand up for Jesus even when it is difficult. The experience has also helped to shape their understanding of why the church exists and brought great encouragement to us, as parents, and others as we have listened to them praying for God to use our church so that people in Glasgow will come to know Jesus as their Saviour.

How have you seen God working in your church?

For the past 10 years I have been a Senior Pastor serving within the Church of Scotland but, because of my Biblical convictions, I made the decision to leave and have stepped out in faith to begin church planting in Glasgow. While there are good churches doing good work in the city, the percentage of the population attending church is small and there are many areas where there is little or no gospel witness. During my time in Glasgow, I have increasingly felt a burden for the many people who have little opportunity to hear the gospel as well as an increasing conviction that we need more reformed and contemporary churches which can engage with people where they are. While plans are at an early stage, God has been gracious by giving many tangible confirmations in this new ministry. In seeking to church plant we have lost the security of home and income, but God has been good and we can testify to his provision in many ways. The process has been a challenging and testing one for us but the most vital lesson we have learned and also need to keep being reminded of is fact that God is sovereign and it is Jesus Christ who builds his church. So while we have a plan, we are aware that it is God’s work and not ours, “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1 Cor. 3:7).

Church Mission & Vision

Christ Church Glasgow seeks to be a Christ-centred church to make disciples of all nations and impact Glasgow for the glory of God. We want to obey the Great Commission by establishing a sustainable church in Glasgow by 2020 and be a church that plants churches that plant churches. Glasgow is a mission field and a strategic city to reach as the biggest in Scotland and the fourth largest in the UK. Glasgow is vibrant, thriving and cosmopolitan with significant influence and cultural impact, but Glasgow’s greatest problem is spiritual. The city has as its motto, “Lord let Glasgow flourish through the preaching of thy word and praising thy name”. While everyone wants Glasgow to flourish, many know nothing of the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ. We want to preach God’s Word and praise his name amongst the many people who are lost in our great city. Since Jesus came on a rescue mission and sends us out on his rescue mission, our new church has an intentional mission to reach unbelievers. We don’t want to be like passengers on a cruise ship concerned for our own comfort; rather we want to be the crew of a lifeboat concerned about saving others. We need to be a church engaged in our particular urban context where people can hear the gospel, see it lived out and come to believe it for themselves.

If you would like to reach out to Jonathan, you can visit the church's website at www.christchurchglasgow.org.

New Planter Spotlight: Mark Robertson

The Robertson Family

The Robertson Family

Mark Robertson IS THE THE HEAD PASTOR FOR The Heights Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Ohio. WE ARE HONORED TO PARTNER WITH HIM AND THE CHURCH COMMUNITY BEGINNING IN 2018.

How have you seen God working in your life?

It's been a joy to experience the movement of the Spirit in my own heart, played out in a renewed sense of excitement for the gospel and transformed lives in our community. I have experienced, by his grace, the depth of my own sin before him, but that has resulted in experiencing, by his grace, just how much he loves me. This has been reflected in my preaching of the Word, in my discipling the flock, and seeking the lost in our neighborhood. I am refreshed and excited about what God can do!

How have you seen God working in your family?

My family has always enjoyed being part of the family of God, but lately my wife especially has been using her gifts to share the love of Christ with the body of believers. She feels an urgent need to care for others in the church, and our children have picked up on that as well. Having started something from nothing, they have been able to see the different members of the church care for each other radically, and it's created in them a sense of belonging and intentionality that they might not have felt in a more established church. We have understood the need as a family for worship in our home, the necessity of prayer, and the joys of singing his praises in the house and even in the car!

How have you seen God working in your church?

I have learned that God is gracious in bringing together a variety of personalities and gifts to allow the church to flourish in areas of hospitality, service, and worship. We need the guy who plays the guitar - we need the couple to open their home - and we need those who will get in the trenches with us and do the hard work of caring for the poor. I have learned that we need all of these things - and somehow God has brought them together. Now people see our church and see a dynamic representation of who God is and what he wants to do in the world. I could not have done that alone, or even with a few folks, but we need the whole body of Christ coming together, shining the light of Christ in myriad ways.

Church Vision

Our vision statement is this:

We are a city on a hill, for the city in which we live;
shining the light of Jesus, for the glory of God.

We like to think about our local context: that we focus on our efforts to strengthen believers in our midst so that they can pour themselves out for their neighbors and for this community. We ask our folks to do three things: Love God. Love Each Other. Love This City.

The third facet especially will vary from individual to individual, but the Christian should be active in all three areas, fulfilling the greatest commandment given to us by Jesus himself. Our hope is by living out this vision, we will disciple-makers in this community, and the believers we have will grow in their Christian maturity.


If you would like to reach out to Mark, you can visit the church's website at www.heightspres.org.

New Planter Spotlight: Rudy Rubio

The Rubio Family

The Rubio Family

Rudy Rubio IS THE THE HEAD PASTOR FOR Reformed Church of Los Angeles in Lynwood, California. WE ARE HONORED TO PARTNER WITH HIM AND THE CHURCH COMMUNITY BEGINNING IN 2018.

How have you seen God working in your life?

God has been doing amazing things in my life since we’ve planted RCLA! He’s humbled me by reminding me over and over that I/we need to be completely dependent upon Him, yet work hard for the sake of the Gospel and the ministry we’ve been called to. He’s grown my marriage, my kids, and to see my family as a whole take on the task of leading the way by planting has been amazing. He’s been working on me by stretching me, in loving folks at all times, making me think twice about the things I say and do, that I would be very mindful of my CORE Team, encourage their strengths and help build up their weaknesses. I’ve witness the Gospel of Christ transform a group of people that according to the world should not be hanging out, but for the sake of Christ and our ministry we are, and everyone is using their gifts to do what we’ve been called. I’m blessed in learning how to maintain a healthy relationship with my co-pastor Chris, appreciating how we complement each other and sharing responsibilities.

How have you seen God working in your family?

My family has always been close, not perfect, but close. We’ve been serving the Lord in ministry for close to 8 years now. It’s a joy to see how we’ve remained faithful throughout the course, though we’ve had stumbles, we’ve matured in our love of each other and Christ. The subject of planting has been something we’d been talking about for the last 4 years and we’d actually put that conversation on hold, thinking we wouldn’t be planting for a while, but God had other plans. There’s been additional pressures and at times even strains, but we’re a close knit family that has been through so much in the past that the things we encounter now aren’t even close. I think that we’ve all matured and in essence our love has grown stronger, my wife and I know when it’s time to sit down and talk about things that need to get addressed, we listen to each other, and make sure Christ is at the center of what we’re talking about and deciding on.

How have you seen God working in your church?

The most impactful thing I’ve learned in planting a church is that things don’t always happen on my time schedule. God has really been teaching me to be patient, to lean more on Him, and to remain flexible in modifying, adapting, and changing things up. I’ve learned that I need to stop and listen more, process longer, pray more often, and then move forward. I’ve learned to step out of my comfort zones in fundraising, asking for help, and being reminded that I/ we can’t do it on our own. I’ve also learned to be ok with being vulnerable, and to have a much deeper appreciation for accountability with multiple men in my life. I used to always struggle with time management and by planting a church it’s taken me to a higher level of doing this not just for ministry purposes, but also school, and especially time with my family.

Church Vision

As a church, we are committed to building a community of believers that are passionate about knowing God and walking in obedience to him. We seek to accomplish this by preaching the Bible in an expository fashion with passion and clarity, and by making disciples of Jesus Christ through small group communities. We are also devoted to engaging and impacting our neighborhood through evangelism, social justice and cultural renewal. We believe the Christian faith is best articulated by the historic reformed creeds and confessions, but we also believe in teaching these truths in a way that is authentic and understood in the language of the people we are ministering to.

We hope to impact our community by targeting the 2nd and 3rd generation Latinos for the first 18 months and when we’ve stabilized CORE Team begin preparing for a Spanish service to target 1st generation (Spanish speaking) community and have two separate service instead of a bilingual service. We’ve already made great partnerships with local government and school district with plans to commence multiple community project bringing them both together as well as involving other churches as we’ve learned from the Compton Initiative (www.justdogood.org). We hope to partake of the efforts to drastically reduce prostitution along the Long Beach Blvd. corridor that runs through Lynwood and Compton and plant a church by our 5th year’s end.


If you would like to reach out to Rudy, you can visit the church's website at www.reformedchurch.la.

New Planter Spotlight: Alvin Litonjua

The Litonjua Family

The Litonjua Family

Alvin Litonjua IS THE THE HEAD PASTOR FOR The Crossroads Church of Dubai in Dubai,United Arab Emirates. WE ARE HONORED TO PARTNER WITH HIM AND THE CHURCH COMMUNITY BEGINNING IN 2018.

How have you seen God working in your life?

My life before Christ saved me had no direction and purpose. I was rebellious and did not care about God. Until one day, I was invited to a church and in that service, I heard the Gospel of Christ preached. I slowly came to realize that I had greatly offended God’s holiness, was dead to my sins, will face God’s judgement and that Christ death on the cross is the only way for redemption. I repented of my sins and put my faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. 

As I continued to walk with the Lord, I started having new desires, practices and purpose. I became a member of a baptist church and was actively involved in the ministry. I pursued seminary training and short after graduating, served our church as the executive pastor for nine years until the Lord led me and my wife to minister in Dubai.

In Dubai, I served as one of the pastors at Redeemer Church and there my love for Jesus, the local church and the gospel has grown so much that there was an increasing desire in me to plant a church in our native tongue in the UAE that would display God’s glory to the watching world.

Currently we have been meeting as a pre-launch team praying and preparing for the launch in March 2018. As the date draws near, my love and joy for God's Word and the people who are to covenant with us has been increasing.

How have you seen God working in your family?

My wife has always been supportive to the ministry I am part of. However, there was a season in our marriage and ministry that she felt like the church was a mistress to her, a competition. I was forcing her to do a lot of things and be someone who she was not which deeply wounded her.

When we moved to Dubai and became part of Redeemer, all of these hurts were exposed when Dave and Gloria Furman ministered to us, and reminded us that marriage is a picture of the gospel, where the husband loves his wife just as Christ loved the church that He gave his life for her and the wife lovingly submitting to the husband (Eph5). Praise God for godly men and women who are willing to pour into us.

Currently, we are seeing growth in gospel humility towards one another. The Lord’s been growing us on how we communicate and are now more open and transparent to each other’s needs, concerns, struggles and desires.

We regularly ask tough, heart questions and speak truth in love (Eph4:15). We seek ways to serve one another in love (Eph5:21-33), remind each other with the truth of the Gospel and have regular accountability partners with other couples. 

Her view of the local church has dramatically changed for the better and is now faithfully serving alongside me.

How have you seen God working in your church?

We are not a church yet, but are preparing towards that end. As a pre-launch team, we are slowly seeing a gospel community take shape. We are currently experiencing gospel and discipleship growth. Each family and individuals are intentionally speaking gospel truths towards one another. They schedule meetings within the week to read the Bible and share meals together. Most of the people who are with us are not from the same region in the Philippines. We are growing in our understanding of the unity that we have in Christ. 

They are from different regions who each speak their own regional dialects and has their own regional sub-cultures. It is a joy for me to see that these relationships are founded by the gospel. I would say, these relationships are supernatural. We are so encouraged to have witness this early on in the plant.

Church Vision

We believe that the fundamental purpose of the church is to worship God and that Crossroads would be a church that displays God’s glory to the watching world. Our mission is to “Make disciples of all nations to the glory of God” and the way to fulfill this is through evangelism and discipleship.

Our vision is not just to reach Tagalog-speakers with the Gospel and see more Tagalog-speaking churches planted in the UAE and beyond, but to reach the nations with the Gospel!

We live in a city where people from around 200 different nationalities have moved to. A huge number of these peoples came from leased reached and unreached people groups. Dubai is 85% expatriates and 15% locals. Filipinos are ranked as one of the largest people groups in Dubai.

Many Filipinos work inside homes of the unreached, serving as nannies, cooks, and helpers, mostly in the service industry. They have built strong relationships with them and even learn to communicate in their language. This is a strategic gospel opportunity. 

I believe that God had brought Filipinos to Dubai to be transformed by the Good News of Christ's redemptive work on the cross and had strategically placed them in key positions to herald the Good News of Jesus Christ to the unreached and least reached.