by Joel Comiskey
I was honored to co-lead Saturday’s seminar with Larry Kreider. I spoke 20 minutes on cell church, and he followed with 20 minutes on house church networks. We tag-teamed throughout the day. I sensed a lot of unity between us. But the best part of the my time in Ephrata, PA was hanging out with Larry Kreider before and after the seminar. Larry is one of my heroes. One of the key phrases that comes to mind when describing Larry is: bloom where are you are planted.
God planted Dove Christian Fellowship in Lititz, Pennsylvania some 25+ years ago. Larry showed me the house where Dove started. Then he showed me where he currently lives, which is just down the road from where Dove started. His younger sister lives down the street from him, and his parents live within a couple miles.
From the one house church in Lititz, Dove grew in ten years to 2000 people. Leading a megachurch would be a dream come true for most pastors. Kreider, however, realized that a megachurch would not impact the nations like a church planting movement, so he and the leadership team decided to give it away. Kreider writes, “Giving our church away better suited our vision of a cell-based church planting movement intent on training a new generation of church planters and leaders.”
Dove has now grown into 200+ worldwide churches. Even within a 1.5 hour radius of the Lititz, there are 16 Dove churches. I spoke this morning at Westgate Dove in Ephrata, PA, a church of 500 people.
Dove is the real deal, and one of the reasons is that Larry Kreider has bloomed where God planted them.
It’s quite common for pastors to pack up and leave every 3-4 years. They get itchy feet, problems occur, and they go looking for greener pastures. The greener pasture, however, quickly turns brown, and then it’s time to pack up and move on again. Such ministry rarely has a lasting impact. Kreider, rather, has hung in the saddle, worked through failures and problems, and witnessed God’s power and faithfulness .
As I toured the Dove office structure after the seminar, witnessed their growing book ministry, TV ministry, etc. I was blown away. I was also keenly aware that God is more interested than we are in blessing us and His church. He wants all of us to be fruitful and multiply!
And one of the keys is to bloom where you are planted.