Attending a church service at Calvary Chapel Rosarito is a dynamic experience from the very beginning. As you walk into the courtyard, you’re immediately faced with the fact that this church genuinely wants you here. They want you to feel at home. They want you to feel like a part of their family. They want you to eat with them and talk with them and laugh and cry and sing with them. Their friendly greetings and hearty handshakes and warm smiles are a message from God through His people. What they’re really saying is, “You matter to us, because you matter to Him.”
And that’s not where things stop for Pastor Mike Vincent’s church in Rosarito, Mexico. If you’re a newcomer (or if you’ve brought a newcomer along with you) you’re given a gift of a book or music. But what really hooks people is the fact that this church is alive. After all of the warm greetings, you’re seated in a pew and the celebration begins. The church’s bilingual worship time is a thing of beauty, a small taste of the believer’s future singing praises with people from “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9) as Gospel-centered lyrics swing back and forth between Spanish and English in an upbeat, celebratory style. And this is functional as well, with a fair share of the church’s congregation being English speakers; Pastor Mike preaches in English through a Spanish translator as well. And with each message comes a clear presentation of the Gospel with an opportunity given for the lost to respond.
People are getting saved at Calvary Chapel Rosarito in such numbers that, about a year ago, Pastor Mike implemented a new believers’ class during their first service on Sunday mornings. Those who put their faith in Christ at CCR are encouraged to skip the sermons for a month and head to a four week class where they learn the basics of the Christian faith, culminating in publicly declaring their commitment to Christ by being baptized at the church’s monthly baptism. In fact, at a recent church baptism, 11 out of the 16 believers baptized had been saved for under 2 months!
So Pastor Mike’s vision for CCR is to gain converts to Christ and disciple them; but his big-picture goal is not to fill his church. In fact, he’s seeking to send them out! Pastor Mike is a church-planter at heart, because that’s what he sees in scripture, and that was what was modeled in his own life as a believer. “I was sent out myself, and it was a really exciting time for me,” he says. “I kept seeing it happen around me [at his home church, Calvary Chapel Saving Grace in Southern California], and from the very beginning I had it in my mind to start doing it myself.”
It took awhile to get the process going, getting his own church established in Rosarito and raising up leaders being the first steps. After the first two church plants to come out of CCR didn’t end up panning out, Pastor Mike became more proactive in training, implementing a church-planting class to train people in the skills it takes and the hardships involved in the process that he knows so intimately. The class is an extensive 2 year program, with weekly 3-4 hour classes led by CCR’s pastors. In addition, prospective church-planters need to be actively involved in ministry as pastors and, where possible, staff members. They need to lead at least one ministry at the church as well as a home group. It may seem like a long process, but this type of training is invaluable according to Pastor Mike. And the fruit of this work speaks for itself; out of 19 church planting teams that have been sent out of CCR (15 in Mexico and four in the United States), 16 are still presently meeting. Those are amazing numbers!
And so the process continues for Pastor Mike Vincent and his team at Calvary Chapel Rosarito. They preach the gospel, sinners come to Christ, new converts are discipled, and church-planters are sent out to new locations, where they repeat the process all over again. Preach, disciple, send, repeat; this is the heartbeat and rhythm that drives this booming church in Rosarito, Mexico.