Napa/Sonoma County Fires

Dr. David Whitaker, Executive Director, NextGen Churches

We are all concerned for the Napa/Sonoma and surrounding counties affected by the fires.  Let's join in prayer for these communities and the first responders. Let's pray for the broader body of Christ as they are challenged in serving their families and communities in the midst of loss. NextGen Churches is partnering with our churches in Santa Rosa (Spring Hills and Redemption Hill Churches, who are coordinating with FEMA and other local churches) as they serve those affected by this devastation. Their immediate needs are financial, to provide hygiene products and food for those being sheltered, food for the first responders, and housing for those who have lost their home. NextGen has established a fund through which we will assist our churches as they serve their communities. This is the best way to serve their immediate needs. Long-term, once the fires are contained and cleanup starts, we will be coordinating teams from our association of churches to work alongside our NextGen churches in Santa Rosa as they serve in their community. Please stay posted for future teams we will be establishing. Feel free to contact us if you want your church placed on a future list. This is an opportunity for us to bring feet to our "good news".

Church Planting Update

Daniel Huskey, Lead Pastor, The Parish Church

When the Lord first called our family to the North Bay to plant, we knew that the task set before us was going to require an amount of faithfulness and patience like we'd never experienced before. After being on the ground for a little over a year, we can see why. Despite nearly 10 years in vocational ministry and almost 2 years spent in a ministry context specifically designed to prepare and train us for church planting, this season of ministry has been unlike anything we've ever experienced. But by the grace of the Lord, our worship, devotion, and affections for Christ are growing in ways we never could've imagined.


Planting in a culture steeped in and even spearheading a large swath of the post-Christendom movement has caused us to stop and rethink a lot of what we "thought" we knew about church planting. We've quickly realized that most of the rubrics that have been developed for church planting in other parts of the country, or even other parts of California, don't translate well to Southern Sonoma/Northern Marin Counties. This doesn't mean that there isn't a lot to still be learned from our faithful brothers and sisters laboring well elsewhere, but it does mean that we have to be extra sensitive to how well those lessons translate to our specific context. This means that we've had to ask: How do we take the gospel to people that are far from God in a culture where inviting them to a church service simply isn't a viable option?

And this is where the rubber stared hitting the road. Along with our core team, we've been able to gain inroads into our cities and start gaining traction through relationships. We've seen the faithfulness of the Lord in sending workers for the harvest (people who have joyfully and excitedly joined our core team) and giving us favor in various arenas of our cities. We continue to strive forward in making disciples who increasingly submit all of their lives to Jesus and teach others to do the same. 

We are just 2 months away from launching our core team into Petaluma to start our inaugural Missional Community (the primary organizing structures of The Parish Church) and it seems that the Spirit is saturation our neighborhoods in preparation of us getting here. It's an amazing blessing for us to see the Lord call other people to the vision that he initially planted in our hearts years ago. We're excited to be in this season of ministry and are hopeful in anticipation of what the Lord is going to do!

We're so thankful for our partnership with NextGen. Your prayers, support, and equipping have no doubt played an invaluable role in our desire to show and share the gospel of grace in our cities so that every man, woman, and child would have a daily encounter with Jesus. That's no small vision, but we serve a great God! Thank you, NextGen, for your passion to equip church planters and for being faithful to the Biblical mandate of planting churches! We're excited to continue to serve alongside you as we join Christ in the renewal of all things.


Welcome Lead Pastor Steven Gatdula to Valley Baptist Merced

On August 20, 2017 Pastor Steve and Lorraine Moldenhauer passed the "baton of leadership" to Associate Pastor Steven and Jeddah Gatdula. The Gatdula's met during a medical missions trip in the Philippines. Steven grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and Jeddah grew up in Laguna Calamba,  Philippines. After having a long-distance relationship for thirty months, they got married in Annapolis, Maryland on January 4, 2010. Steven studied at the Master's Seminary in Los Angeles, California from fall 2011-Spring 2014 where he earned his Masters of Divinity in pastoral ministry. God blessed them with three children during their time in seminary.  In September 2014, God brought the Gatdula family to Merced and Steven was installed as the associate pastor at Valley Baptist Church. By God's grace, they had their fourth baby in their first year of ministry. After serving for nearly three year, the church voted pastor Steven to be their next lead pastor. Both Pastor Steven and Jeddah are extremely blessed to be serving at their church and are looking forward to a lifetime of ministry in Merced, California.  To God be the glory!

Transitions at Valley Baptist Church, Merced

After 35 years as senior pastor at Valley Baptist in Merced, Steve and Lorraine Moldenhauer are joining a mission to minister in rural churches across the West who are between pastors. They started their ministry in a rural church near Redding, CA in 1973.  After serving for 5 years in Spokane, Washington they came back to Steve's home church, Valley Baptist, in 1982. Steve states, "We never intended to stay in Merced this long. We took it a day at at time." The church sponsored Merced Christian School so their four sons spent almost every day at the church until they went off to college. Lorraine became the pastor's secretary in 1988 so it was truly a family affair.  Over the years there have seen setbacks, like the closing of Castle Air Force Base in 1995 when half the church left, but with that came great opportunities. In 2005 the University of California opened a campus in Merced, which brought a big influx of college students and teachers into the church. Steve was privileged to serve on the NextGen board from 2005-09. Seeing how churches flounder when a long tenured pastor retires, Steve called an associate in 2014 with the goal of making an intentional transition out of the pulpit. Pastor Steven Gatdula has served in every area of ministry and was given a unanimous call to be the next pastor of Valley Baptist on August 20.  Pastor Steve Moldenhauer preached his "retirement" sermon on the transition of leadership from Moses to Joshua from Numbers 27:15ff titled "Passing the Baton" on August 27, 2017. Thank you Steve and Lorraine for your faithful service to the church and community of Merced!  We are praying God will bless you both as you step out in faith to minister to rural churches across the west.

How NextGen Helps Churches Increase Income

David Bennett, Director of Finance & Development

Recently, a NextGen pastor approached me and asked what I did for NextGen. "The short answer," I said, " is to help our churches obtain more money so they can accomplish the vision God has for their ministries."  Our goal at NextGen is to be a resource to our churches. We don't believe that churches are obligated to serve NextGen, but rather NextGen serves churches.

There are several way we help churches increase their income.  First we help churches increase their weekly offerings. The average church we work with increases its income by 17% and we do this by taking the church through our 44 point checklist for getting its financial "house in order."

Second, we help churches with Ministry Expansion Campaigns. When churches need to raise millions of dollars for new buildings, more staff and special ministry projects, we equip our churches and come along side them to raise more money. We make sure the congregation is ready for a campaign and if not, we give the church steps so they are ready. Also, we provide an estimate of what the church can raise which helps both the church to plan and to properly set the congregation's expectations. To determine this, we go further than just looking at current church income and its trends. We complete a Ministry Expansion Study.

Third, we help churches obtain planned gifts through wills, estates and other unusual gifts of real estate, collectables, marketable securities and illiquid assets like businesses. Many want to raise income by 10%. Others need $10,000+ donations for a capital or other project. The largest gifts come to churches through estate or other type planned gifts. Even though the national average for a planned gift is about $600,000 (according to Dunham and Associates research). my experience shows that these gifts are rarely under $100,000. We have a simple process for helping people to joyfully give the size of a gift.

Fourth, we provide coaching/consulting. Whether it's a new church looking to raise support or an established church looking to receive more income, we take a church through a three step process. We help the pastor determine what tangible ministries/projects/staff they  want to see in place at the end of year one, year two, year 10 or any tie from he desires. Then we write a step by step plan of action which will lead to that vision. We tailor tactics and strategies to the specific church and its culture to give the highest probability of success. Then we have monthly, 30 minutes calls which have produced the most powerful results. Normally, executive coaching is very expensive, but NextGen provides this service for our churches.

Fifth, we help with retirement income planning. It breaks my heart to see pastors in their 70's who have opted out of Social Security and still failed to save anything for retirement. I've even spoken with pastors who are pastoring churches of over 5000 in weekend attendance with nothing saved. Now I realize that God provides. I also realize that He provide through giving us seeds to sow, or money to save. In addition, I realize that retirement is not mentioned  in the Bible and even seems to discourage the traditional sense of retirement. For example, in Luke 12 Jesus tells the story of the rich fool. The "rich fool" tore down his little barns, built larger ones to store his crops so that he could take life easy. All of us have tasks to perform for Him as long as we are on earth. When our work for Him is complete, He'll take us home to be with Him. However, I realize that as we age, our income generating capacity diminishes. Even if a pastor still ministers as he grows older, many pastors use their retirement income from savings instead of asking their churches for a salary. We are here to help plan so that income from a church would someday be optional.

You may wonder if NextGen could help you generate more income in your church. Feel free to call 916-521-5451 or email me with questions or to schedule a 30 minute call.

David Bennett