Mike Breaux and Gene Appel
Church Planting Before it Was Cool
About The Episode
“Back in that day, we didn’t have any church planting resources, any church planting organizations, books on church planting, nothing. So we just prayed.” On this episode we’re joined by Gene Appel, Senior Pastor of Eastside Christian Church, and Mike Breaux who serves on the teaching team of multiple churches throughout the country. Between them, these two ministry giants have over 60+ combined years of church planting wisdom, ministry experience, and encouragement for the next generation of leaders. Mike and Gene share their story of planting Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas in 1993, which was really just the beginning of the story God had written for them. A journey of planting churches that plant churches. They give listeners a front row seat to their first church plant story and close with what they’re most hopeful for with the next generation of planters.
Welcome to Episode 008 of The Unfair Advantage Podcast with Mike Hickerson and Andy Wood.
Insights From Mike Breaux & Gene Appel
Planting a Healthy Church from a Healthy Church
- Central Church was running about 2,300 at that time. We dreamed of starting the plant with 100’s of people from Day 1. In the first year, we wanted to reach over 3,000 people between Central and the new plant. God gave us that on Day 1.
- 700 people showed up to the plant on Day 1, and Central’s attendance was only down by 40.
- “Mike and I both decided early on that I wouldn’t recruit people to stay, and he wouldn’t recruit people to go. We would just cast the vision and pray for God to move in the hearts of people who felt called to do it.”
- We launched the church in 1993 with $100,000. 5 months in – Canyon Ridge Christian Church was already self-sustaining and gave Central its investment back to be deployed elsewhere in the Kingdom.
- Central and Canyon Ridge then ended up planting The Crossing Church in Las Vegas together. The vision was big and we wanted to think beyond ourselves.
Stories of Affection from Church Planting
- “God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.…” Psalm 68:8
- Seeing what God has done in the lives of people. It’s been really cool to watch.
- “Church planters, you don’t do it alone. The people you plant with will likely become lifelong friends.”
For the Future Church Planter…
- The world is increasingly far from God. Our church planters are our greatest innovators. You’re trying new things and other leaders are learning from you.
- There is a rush of passion in church planters who just want to reach lost people.
- The most effective way to reach people is to plant churches.
- Church planting is probably the single most demanding contribution you can make… there is an inevitable clash and tension as you build your family and the church. Build a good support system around you and create appropriate boundaries that help to protect you and your family.
- Create boundaries. Your family is your first ministry.
- Three things to continue asking yourself:
- Who am I? Is my identity found in Christ?
- Why do I do what I do? What motivates me?
- What do I want to accomplish?
Do ministry together! Three gatherings, nine planters, one cohesive journey. Checkout the Ascent Leader Church Planter Cohorts. Get more information today at: https://theascentleader.org/cohorts/
Who Are Mike Breaux & Gene Appel?
Mike Breaux has spent 40 in ministry trying to bring hope to people. He has worn the hats of student ministry, worship leader, lead pastor, and church planter. He currently is on the teaching team at churches in SoCal, Dallas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Indiana. He and wife Debbie live in Nicholasville Ky and have 3 kids and 10 grandkids.
Gene Appel, senior pastor of Eastside Christian Church, a multi-site church based in Anaheim, CA, began his ministry as a 20-year old intern at Eastside. Gene returned in 2008 to lead Eastside into its next dynamic chapter. Since that time, Eastside has experienced rapid growth, consistently being named among the 100 fastest growing churches in America. Following in the footsteps of his late father, a pastor and Christian leader, Gene sensed God’s call on his life to ministry at an early age. He is a graduate of Lincoln Christian University and has done additional graduate work at Hope International University, who conferred upon him an honorary Doctor of Divinity. Recognized by many as a gifted leader with a passion for following Christ and a sensitivity for hurting people, Gene has coached church leaders from around the world on how to lead churches through healthy change. He is the author of several books and also was an award winning television commentator on CBS2 in Chicago. Gene and his wife Barbara are the parents of 3 married children – Jeremy, Alayna and Jenna, and have three grandsons. Gene’s hobbies include boating, fishing, and water skiing.
Quotes From Episode
“Back in that day, we didn’t have any church planting resources, any church planting organizations, books on church planting, nothing. So we just prayed.” – Mike Breaux
“Mike and I both decided early on that I wouldn’t recruit people to stay, and he wouldn’t recruit people to go. We would just cast the vision and pray for God to move in the hearts of people who felt called to do it.” – Gene Appel
“I had no idea what I was doing. I felt so inadequate. I still feel that way and that’s a good place to be as a church planter. That’s when God can flow through you and do things. You don’t have to be the guy with all the answers. God honored that for us.” – Mike Breaux
“Church planters, you don’t do it alone. The people you plant with will likely become lifelong friends.” – Gene Appel
“Planters, thank you for dreaming great dreams for the Kingdom. It takes enormous courage and faith to do what you’re doing.” – Gene Appel
“Following Jesus isn’t really all that complicated. Keep it simple. Love God and love people.” -Mike Breaux
Our goal with the Ascent Leader and our church planting cohorts is to help church planters win early and finish strong. We want to resource you so that you can avoid common pitfalls and simple mistakes. Being involved in a community of leaders like our church planting cohorts is one of the best ways to wrestle through these questions. We’re here to help you, if we can be of assistance to you please feel free to reach out.
Contact our team: firstname.lastname@example.org
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