I am a church planter and lead pastor of a new church in Burlington, Ontario called Starting Point Church. Starting Point launched in February, 2013 under the church planting umbrella of the Sanctuary Church of Oakville and Toronto Church Planting.
Previous to this role, I served as a youth pastor in FEB and AGC churches. My wife, Tanya, and I served for 4 years at Orangeville Baptist Church (FEB) north of Toronto, 10 months at Burnett Fellowship Church (FEB) in Maple Ridge, BC, and at Compass Point Bible Church (AGC) in Burlington, Ontario.
Neither my wife nor I were raised going to church, and both of us became Jesus followers during our high school years. Although we greatly enjoyed the people we worked with and served over 10 years in youth ministry, the Lord started to tug on our hearts in 2011 to consider planting a new church that would focus on reaching unchurched people and the next generation of believers that are struggling to stay in engaged in some more traditional contexts. After about a year of running from this sense of calling (because we were comfortable and terrified!), we stepped out of the boat in March of 2012 and notified leadership at our church that we were feeling led to a new journey. With their blessing, we began working on what would eventually become Starting Point Church.
We have four children, aged 13,11,7,6, and our oldest son has Asperger’s syndrome. We did not want to uproot our son and family from our support network as change is incredibly difficult for a child with Aspergers, and the city we were already living in had an unchurched rate of more than 90%. For these reasons, we decided to plant in Burlington.
Our core team consisted of 9 people that shared our vision whom we knew from our previous church, and with fear and trepidation we started making plans for preview services in late 2012 and launch in early 2013. With no idea about how many people would show up at our preview services and launch, we were blown away with how God used our door to door surveys and marketing to reach more than 200 people in our preview services. We launched in February 2013, and now average close to 100 in weekly attendance, more than 60% of whom indicate they were previously not attending church. To date, 23 people have made decisions to follow Jesus, including my little sister, the first in my family of 5 to come to faith! We baptized our first 3 people in the fall, but have many more who have expressed interest and are still waiting for one silly reason or another. More than 30 of our Sunday morning attendees are also attending a mid-week connect group/Bible study, and more than 40 of our people are volunteering at church in one role or another. More than 100 people tune in to our sermon videos each week, and we continue to see first time attenders who connected with our church through our use of Facebook.
We have many challenges at the moment, which include trying to develop and recruit more leaders for children’s ministry, youth ministry, worship ministry etc. We are also very tight on operating finances as a church and church planting couple. God continues to provide for us though, and we are grateful to God for all he has done, is doing, and will do!