Why I am glad we became Church Planters


church plantingIn 1996 we left ministry in Northville Michigan to plant a church in Bedford township or Temperance, Michigan, a bordertown adjacent north to Toledo, Ohio. NCA and  sent us out with love, prayer, and support in every way.  It has been 21 years.  I am so glad Wendy and I stepped out in faith, left the comforts of being a full-time youth pastor, and went on the journey.  Today we have 2 campuses, 4 weekend gatherings, with 50+ small groups, and an amazing staff.  We have built a few times, and have seen many, many people come to Christ, we have started another campus, and God is moving in lives and growing people’s faith.. Here is why I am so glad I did not “chicken” out from the challenges of church planting.

  • I needed to grow in faith.  I had to trust God for everything. My faith grew. I can believe God for so many things as I have seen Him so faithful. I would not have the faith I have now, if I did not plant Compelled Church.
  • I struggled being bi-vocational.  The struggle helped me. I had to be better with time, plan more efficiently, and think ahead. I had to budget money carefully.  We learned to live on less, and not lose our joy.
  • I understand the pressures and challenges of our bi-vocational pastors because  I was.  It is hard.  No one gets how hard it is.
  • My children were part of the church plant and have experienced this, and it is part of their ethos and worldview.  They know God is real. The love the church, and love ministry.
  • The stories!  People’s lives changed by Christ. I know God would have called someone else if we would have said no to the call here, but I get the privilege of being part of the spiritual journey of many. What an honor.
  • Christ is so real to me.  I will never forget that this is his church. He is the head.  He is in charge and He builds the church. I live at His service.
  • Compelled Church has been an encouragement to other pastors and leaders. They gave in those early years, they invested, they encouraged, and their fingerprints are on Compelled.  I know that encourages them to continue to help and support church planters.
  • We planted another campus in Toledo. Many have come to Christ, come back to Christ and God’s people had an opportunity to be missional and believe God for another “church”.  The campus pastor, Tim Rabara, was saved, discipled, and sent out from Compelled Church.
  • We have also supported other church plants, taken dozens of mission trips, given hundreds of thousands to missions, because of this church plant.
  • We have had the opportunity to send many into ministry and missions over the years. Dozens of young people and adults, serve in ministry in so many places. What an honor to be part of their journey.
  • We have made  priceless relationships in the community, as we lived here, imbedded our lives here, went to the public school here, participating in sports, and the community.  God has leveraged those relationships in amazing ways. I have some amazing stories.
  • I met amazing mentors that poured into my life to helped me, and speak into my life.  I will forever be indebted to Dean Grabill, my brother Steve, Todd Winkler,  Otis Buchan and NCA, Hugh Duncan (he never stopped encouraging me, contacting me, writing me, calling me), Dennis Clanton, Marty Eddinger, Jim Rentz, Tim Dilena, Steve Miller, Joel Stocker, Brad and Tom Trask, more friends and mentors than I can even list!
  • Everyday has been an adventure, in the lives, and community of faith. I would not trade it for the world. The last 21 years have been a roller coast ride of amazing, with God’s faithfulness in each season, the great ones, and the tough ones, He is faithful.

Don’t underestimate the power and leading of God.  If you want to investigate more about church planting, multi-site, shoot me a note. I would be overjoyed to invest and help in anyway I can into future planters.   nate@compelledchurch.tv

Some church-planting pics for fun.

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Five Year Anniversary for Compelled Multi-site Launch


ti and nate.JPGFive years ago we set out on an endeavor to plant another location of Compelled Church. God gave us an amazing site pastor, worship leader, and key volunteers that have stuck in out, worked hard, never quit, and today we are expanding a growing church with life-changing ministries and relationships. Continue reading “Five Year Anniversary for Compelled Multi-site Launch”

Decline of Compassion Must be Resisted


Anyone sense that the emotion and character attribute of compassion in our country is declining?  Racism continues to hurt so many, aggressive and angry political statements, violence and anger, the plot with so much horrible violence on too many shows and movies, and the consistent personal battle we all face with selfishness and self-attention as we strive for better hair, nails, bodies, money, cars and better houses, and the inward desire to have everyone think we are awesome. Many churches have bitter infighting, families continue to implode as spouses refuse to die to self and sin, abandon their vows, and random acts of violence fill the headlines of our newsfeeds.  We must resist the darknesses attempt to eradicate compassion from our lives.

Believers, we cannot lose our compassion. It is critical to the mission of Christ that we stay connected to the heart of God, and compassion is the manifestation of His love.  Compassion is the fuel for action. Compassion keeps us thankful, keeps us caring for others, keeps us sharing faith, keeps us loving our families and spouses.  Compassion keeps the church on the tracks of mission, so we don’t end up arriving somewhere we never intended to go.

A community without compassion is more concerned about home values than the people.  A church without compassion becomes a social club of individuals agendas and power, forgetting the mandate of mission of Jesus. We become without love and without biblical direction. Judgement and critical attitudes push out compassion, and our worship disappears in multiplying areas of our lives. We lose our first love, and then the world loses, as another church becomes a religious, lifeless, closed, clique of the community void of the love or power of Christ.  If we lose compassion we will not be Compelled to do anything with eternal implications, and to manifest the love of Jesus to those who need Him.

A school without compassion becomes a place where students are required to learn for testing, not cared about, for life-long impact, teaching, and discovery.   A government without compassion becomes a burden to it’s citizens and a only financial entity, void of  care for the people. Leaders without compassion, become dictators, and power goes to their head with disastrous results.

We need more compassion as a people. I think it’s safe to say that.  I rejoice when I see people, groups, and communities pull together to show love and compassion to a family, group, or cause. We need more of those tangible expressions of love and compassion.

Compassion requires your time, maybe your money, maybe even your reputation as others will questions self-sacrifice. Compassion often requires us to get out of what we are comfortable with. Most importantly, compassion will require your heart.  We want to move with compassion because we are “compelled by His love” not our desire to earn brownie points with God, or to be seen by men.

Compassion as a people, starts with an honest look at our own compassion.  Jesus had great compassion for other’s. He gained nothing in return. His compassion moved him to heal, to feed the five thousand, and to suffer on the cross for the sin of humanity. His compassion continues to help us through our life, as we trust him through all of our challenges.  How compassionate are you? I believe true compassion comes from the heart of God.  We must look to Him, connect to Him, and ask Him to impart His great love and compassion to our hearts and lives.

I struggle with being compassionate like anyone, but the struggle diminishes, and my compassion grows,  as I connect with the Lord, and allow His love and compassion to be revealed fresh in me.  Let’s commit as a people,to be more like Christ, to be more Compassionate, to be more loving, and people will be changed forever, and we will be part of their story. Let’s search our hearts and lives with Holy Spirit help and honesty.  Rid the attitudes, things, desires, greed, self-attention, or whatever is stealing our compassion and resist the decline of the greatest motivator for the love of Jesus that we have….the compassion of Christ.

A Church is Only as Strong as the Men. We are Experiencing a Revival of Men!


Men seeking God in response to the teaching.
Men seeking God in response to the teaching.
Last night I was blessed and blown away. We have been planning and praying for our men’s ministry we have named “Second Sunday”. Last night Bryan (Our men’s ministry leader) and I took a chance and set up 17 tables. We met with, trained 20 table leaders, ordered the pizzas, made the coffee, prayed, invited, and 108 men poured in the doors. After a great teaching by Jim Byers on the love of God, and receiving it as the foundation for all spiritual growth, a song, the tables began to buzz with discussion. for an hour the men talked about Jim’s teaching and their own spiritual lives. They shared, they made new friends, they connected to the Father and His love. Heads bowed, they prayed for each other and families, the 36 pizzas came, and in 20 minutes they were gone and the football game went up, the Euchre cards came out, the basketball and ping pong started and the new friendships and encouragement continued till 9:30. I could not even sleep when I got home I was so happy and thankful.

I have always taught and modeled as best I could that a church will only be as strong as their men. Compelled Church is a man’s church, and our men our seeking God and reaching other men. I am blessed to be part of this holy move of our loving Father. Looking forward to the next Second Sunday, the men’s breakfasts (yes pastor they still work), and all our men’s huddles that meet through out the week and month.

Nine Ways To Change the DNA of your Church to be more Missional


Nine Ways To Change the DNA of Your Church Salvation Growth.

Leader and Pastor, how can we affect the world better with the way we are leading our church.

1. Ask God to break your heart. See in your area how broken people are. Do a prayer walk. Talk to your mayor, or principal about community needs.  Drive around and notice how full the stupid bars are.

2. Get out of the office Pastor.

Do you know unsaved people?  Have you led people to Jesus? Do you personally disciple an unsaved anyone new in the faith?  Do you do things with unbelievers?

3. Do more outreach’s. They don’t have to be in y our church or on the grounds.

4. Read and pray over everything Missional, outreach, and evangelistic, you can get your hands on. Hang around pastors who are missional.  Get ideas, study other groups, see what your town needs

5. Do something that requires more faith than you presently think you have.  Don’t Play It Safe. Live out your calling with No regrets. Take a risk for Jesus!

6. Get ready to be criticized.  People hate change, love control, and resist challenge. Wear them down for the sake of the Kingdom and keep speaking your vision to see more get saved.

“If you ain’t bleedin you and leadin” Craig Groeshel

7. Take a hard look at the gates of your church    Gate=How people get into your body?

Legalism? Unwritten rules?  Code words?  Unfriendliness?  Recovery Ministries? Why do we do some things we do?

8. Depend upon the power, compassion, anointing, and love of the Holy Spirit. We need his power. He has not just given us the power for gifts, but the power to love, move in compassion and mercy (Micah 6:8).

9. Don’t give up!  Changing the direction of a church/organization takes time.