To say that 2017 was an eventful year is a serious understatement.
The year began calmly enough with a trip to Texas where I taught a group of people who invest huge amounts of money into church planting (what I taught was how to spend far less and get more results at the same time.
Four Life-Changing Events
This year was a sea change for Ruby and I. It started badly but good things are happening. We are in a new chapter of our lives.
– In February Ruby experienced a heart attack that threw us a huge curveball. Thankfully it is the one type of infarction where the heart muscle is capable of rebuilding itself. It appears to be doing so.
– April saw me in California buying a new house. Ruby found it online (among others), my daughter, Kelly, and I sealed the deal.
– In August I accepted a part-time position with Exponential.org. I’ve worked with them in the past for no money. They insisted on paying me. I actually negotiated the amount down from what was offered. The great thing about Exponential is that they offer about 1,000 free books, videos and other tools to church multipliers.
– On November 12th we handed Hope Chapel Honolulu over to our new pastors. It will be our home church even after we move. I’ll carry the title, “Hope Chapel Honolulu Missionary to America.” We plan to launch a string of house churches in San Diego after we move there in January. BTW, I turned 72 the day after the handoff.
Some Things Haven’t Changed
We haven’t moved yet. Some people see us on Sundays and assume we flew in for the service. The actual move is January 16. Also, I will continue to work with Mission Hope International, traveling (at no cost to them) to countries where church planting movements are starting. The mailing address has changed, but everything else remains the same. The only difference is that we are emailing these newsletters to better protect the money the Lord entrusts to us. If you know someone who isn’t receiving them it is because we never got their email address.
I’ll continue traveling for Mission Hope. 2018 I’ll teach in Japan (twice), Sri Lanka, England and Russia.
There is a groundswell of interest in Christianity. The good news is that pastors understand the need for thousands of new churches.
Along with that I’m working with Every Nation Fellowship, Southern Baptists in Hawaii and about a dozen young church multipliers that I met in teaching situations along the way.
I do free coaching by video and in person wherever I can.
The Shape of Things to Come
Did you know that Christianity is growing in America while our share of the population is shrinking?
Between 1990 and 2006, the US grew by roughly 52 million people. The population grew by the number of people attending church, but he number of Christ-followers didn’t increase at all. Recently, we’ve been growing in numbers, but the population is growing faster. While growing, the evangelical segment of the US population fell by about 1 percent between 2007 and 2004. All this while we built some of the largest congregations in history, but even they are not that effective as fewer than 10 percent of all Christ-followers attend churches numbering more than 1,000 people.
The growth we have comes from church multiplication. Yet only 4 percent of churches ever plant another. And, most are planted by congregations of fewer than 500 people. In fact, 20 percent of new churches come from a “mother church” hosting less than 100 people. This is why I travel so much. If we want to change culture (evangelicals salt the earth with biblical values).
The good news is that while only 16 percent of Millennials follow Jesus, I’m meeting dozens of Millennial church planters through Exponential. And, of course, younger people follow Jesus by the millions in church multiplication movements around the world.
Thanks for your support. Please keep us in prayer as we move to a new chapter in our lives.
Ralph & Ruby
You can continue to donate via our new address, or by using the PayPal button at the bottom of the page
Mission Hope International
P.O. Box 6434
Kaneohe, HI 96744