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September 9, 2020
Parachute Church Planting
By New Churches Team
Called to City
Dan and Amber Sweaza met in Bible college in Texas. Soon after, they were called to a church in Florida, where Dan served as a youth pastor for ten years. They began looking for opportunities to take their students on mission trips in English-speaking locations, and were connected with a church planter in Canada. The couple decided to do a scouting visit and fell in love with the city while they were there. When they came back home, they were both feeling that pull to Calgary, but did not discuss it until a visiting church planter came to see them.
The Sweaza’s explain that they were called to the city of Calgary and it’s people first, and then called to church planting. They were not planning on planting a church and looking for a city. “Church planting is the vehicle God has given us to reach Canadians with the gospel,” shares Dan.
Learning the Culture
When church planting in a different culture, it’s important to understand that the place you are going has a completely different culture, set of values, government, and history than where you are coming from. The Sweaza’s goal was to learn as much as possible about Calgary’s culture through immersion and to integrate as fully as possible, rather than assuming they could remain who they were and just move their home to another place.
To do this, the Sweaza’s had great local mentors who had helped other Americans plant churches in Canada. They also spent about 9 months simply learning about the culture and the people before doing anything specifically related to church planting.
Facing the Challenges
Parachute church planting does not come without some challenges. The Sweaza’s shared two specifically.
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Source: Parachute Church Planting