Church Planting Blog - Gateway Leadership Initiative

More and better followers of Jesus: that’s the mission of the church.

If that’s true, then we have to reach people that others aren’t reaching.

In order to do that, we have to do things that others aren’t doing.

Restored Church, located in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, got its start in an urban section of row houses where the neighbors included a prostitute, drug dealers, a Wiccan witch, and two Megan’s Law sex offenders. One small bible study of 15 people is now a network of 8 house churches with an average Sunday Gathering of 100 people. In our neck of the woods, that’s a miracle for a 1 year-old Protestant congregation. Our only rule is “No Perfect People Allowed,” and we point people to Christ’s perfection on our behalf. We’ve celebrated 23 baptisms so far!

Billboard_Tweet_GretawireTheTimesLeader_081414TheTimesLeader_092914On August 27th, our small church plant took out a billboard. The story went global includingAOL, Yahoo!, The Blaze, ABC Nightly News, The Huffington Post, The Christian Post,London’s Daily Mirror, and Greta Van Susteren (Fox News). We made the front cover of The Times Leader (our city’s newspaper) twice! The billboard promoted a 4-week sermon series by summarizing the main idea of the Song of Solomon with these words: [“I <3 Sex” – God]. We preached 4 messages: one overview of the Song of Solomon entitled “Sex is _____,” two more entitled “Sex & Marriage” and “Sex & Singles,” and one final talk on homosexuality entitled “Disagreement ≠ Hatred.”

Religious people sent lots of hate mail, but that happened to Jesus too.

We weren’t trying to appease the religious.

We were communicating truth to our city.

Our Sunday Gathering attendance grew by 70% over the month of September. I asked one visitor why he came out, and he said, “I saw a billboard.” He told me that he had walked away from God and church for 12 years, but now he wanted to return. My atheist friend came to church for the first time since 10th grade. A couple came to help renew their marriage of 28 years. Young singles recommitted to sexual purity. New Christians discovered the joy of finding answers in Scripture.

Stories of hope and gospel impact keep coming in, and God keeps doing his thing. Our next house church cycle starts this week, and we can’t wait to keep making more and better followers of Jesus. It’s all about him!


Dan Nichols
Restored Church
Wilkes-Barre, PA