Christ Church Ellensburg Church Plant
Rev. Jesse Martin

A big part of Artizo for me was discerning the call to ministry. Although my father is a pastor, my two-year experience working in a church before Regent left me heading for an academic career. I had no interest in becoming a minister – planting churches was definitely not on the radar for me despite the fact that I am now pastor of two church plants in Washington State. During my time at Regent, I found myself relating everything I was studying to how it would apply in a church setting, and realized then that God may be calling me back to full-time ministry. That was the big shift, and Artizo became a big part of my discernment towards ministry.

Rev. Jim Salladin was my Artizo training pastor at St. John’s Vancouver. Getting to work with Jim one-on-one and being able to pick his brain about different things was really helpful. Artizo is clear on the centrality of the Gospel in the mission of the Church. So everything we do in the Church has to come out of the Gospel. That’s what makes the Artizo apprenticeship unique among other training and mentorship programs. You can take other ministry programs out there and get feedback, and even an internship that gives you experience. But St. John’s and Artizo really instill in us the clarity of the Gospel. This clarity of purpose is very helpful in ministry where things are often so murky. Artizo teaches us that the proclamation of the Gospel is key to what we are called to do as pastors. That seems to be unique to Artizo. Artizo is very clear that what we preach is scripture, we don’t preach our own agenda – and the trainers help us take our agenda out of the sermon so that we are preaching the Gospel.

I was just talking to another pastor this week, and he was wondering what to preach on, and someone at the church said “preach on something happy” – that happens to pastors a lot nowadays, and they are doing it because that’s what they think people want to hear. The Gospel is better than happy. That’s the beauty of the Gospel, you have to preach the hard bits to really understand the joy of the Gospel. Artizo apprentices are taught and mentored to focus on the Gospel. It happens in a number of ways, at the training meetings where we meet with all the apprentices, and it happens during one-on-one preaching training where we preach in front of the Artizo trainer and get immediate feedback.

Another area of proclaiming the Gospel is in a small group setting. There’s a danger with people in a small group: a small group can be just a Bible study – an intellectual thing – or a hangout time where people get to know each other. While I led a small group with Jim Salladin, I learned how to connect everyone’s agendas to the broader Gospel story so that it’s not just a group of people getting together because they are lonely, but connecting everyone together into God’s story, to make Christ be the good news in people’s lives. The experience was very helpful when I planted the Moses Lake church.

I don’t really have the personality that would score high in a Church Planter Personality Test. While doing a curacy at St. Peters and St. Paul’s in Ottawa, my wife and I visited Jess Cantelon at St. James Lennoxville, QC and observed them planting a church first hand. This visit made church planting seem less daunting.

In 2015, a pastor that I had worked with 15 years before contacted me out of the blue and said that I should plant a liturgical church in Moses Lake because Moses Lake could use something like that. We love central Washington state, and came to realize that if anyone is going to plant an Anglican Church, it would have to be people like us who have some roots and history in the liturgy.

Planting a church in a small town is different than planting in a large city. You don’t have the luxury of a large church sending you out. It felt like God was calling us to do that. So we moved back and planted our first church in Moses Lake. Most of the people there have no liturgical background and a liturgical service was a new thing for them. We reconnected with people and invited them to our home. With a liturgical service, we really had to launch first because people needed to experience the liturgical church first hand on a week-to-week basis. So, we just started the services. We walked them through the liturgy and the shape of the Gospel in the liturgy. During my Artizo apprenticeship, Jim Salladin gave me a lot of experience leading the evening liturgy as a lay person. One of the things I’ve been able to do here is train a lay leader who helps lead the first half of the service.

The biggest part of Artizo training is in preaching – I preach straight through a book in the Bible the Artizo way rather than skipping through a book and picking what I like – so that I have to deal with what’s in the entire text and not just what I want to talk about. This preaching is connecting with people. I’ve had people comment that they appreciate the continuity of going through a whole book. We’re going through Acts right now which is huge and very long; you do get a sense of the book as a whole, it’s a good challenge.

When we first started the Moses Lake church, I was doing the bi-vocational thing that many church planters have had to do to supplement their income. After a couple of years, it felt like God was calling us to plant a church in Ellensburg as well. But when we started the Ellensberg church, it didn’t feel like God was calling us to leave the Moses Lake church. The two towns are a little more than an hour away. So we do the Christ Church Ellensburg service in the morning, and Church of the Resurrection in Moses Lake in the afternoon. Now, my two churches are my two jobs which I find less disorienting than working in a church and then in construction. This way, I am doing all church work all the time.

To donors of Artizo: thank you. It must be hard to give money to support people for a year or two and then they’re gone. The great thing is that Artizo graduates are proclaiming the Gospel faithfully everywhere that they go. Now there’s two churches here in Moses Lake and Ellensberg in part because of Artizo and because of the faithfulness of Artizo donors. Please be encouraged by the work that you are supporting.”