Ordained house Church Planter

Ordained House Church Planter Journey

Ordained House Church Planter

My name is Barbara Heath, and I am called to be ordained house church planter. I live in southeast Wisconsin. My husband Matt and I have two sons, Isaiah, and Elijah, who are three years old and two years old respectively.

Though I walk a Christian walk today, it was not always that way for me. I grew up in a home where the name of Jesus was rarely spoken except as a curse word. I am a survivor of child abuse at the hands of my step-father. However, I remained silent about this abuse until I was 18 as I was afraid of being separated from my brother. Thankfully, he was never the object of his father’s wrath. In spite of his treatment of me, I am thankful God placed him in my life as his mother, my Grandma, is a wonderful Christian woman. She took me to the church at an early age and got me in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.

Early Years of Life

At the age of eight, I remember sitting under the flags of many nations that hung in our sanctuary. I turned to my Grandma with a brand new burden in my heart and a question. “How do people in the rainforest go to Heaven if they never hear about Jesus?” She smiled at me and said, “That’s why we have missionaries and those flags represent the countries where they’ve gone!” I knew right then that I wanted to make sure that everyone would hear about Jesus.

I asked Jesus into my heart that summer when I was eight years old, but it was more “fire insurance” and not an authentic walk with God. However, I still did not understand what grace, mercy, and redemption really were. My Grandma paid for me to attend a private Christian school. There I learned all about God, but I still didn’t know Him. I remained at that school from fifth grade through my freshman year of high school. My remaining three years of school were at a public high school from which I went on to a Liberal Arts state University.

Higher Education Goals and Loss

Because of my parent’s income level, federal student aid requested and required that they pay a significant portion of my tuition. They were less than interested in me or my attempt to receive higher education. Therefore, I took several loans and applied for grants in an attempt to meet the financial requirements of the university. After a year and a half, it was clear to me that I would be unable to continue pursuing my degree in graphic design. So, I had to quit my program.

This loss coupled with the loss of a five-year relationship with the man I thought I would marry sent me into a self-destructive spiral. I spent the next few years trying to find myself and trying to find love in all of the wrong places. I engaged in heavy drug use, self-harm, and suicide attempts.

In late 2006, I discovered that I was pregnant by a man I had only been dating for three months and on July 5th, 2007 my son Dakota was born. He was beautiful and he changed my life by making me a mother. Little did I know that my heart would be shattered two short months later. On September 21st, 2007 my sweet baby was taken from me in his sleep by SIDS.

God Wouldn’t Let Go of Me

It was through this awful, horrific experience that God became real to me. I attempted to take my life by overdose, but God wouldn’t let me go. He placed a promise in my heart in a whisper from His still small voice, “I’m not giving up on you. I’m not done with you yet!” My Grandma encouraged me to return to church. Other Christians surrounded me and encouraged me as I worked through the twelve-step program Narcotics Anonymous. I am a recovering addict with seven years of being clean!

I finally understood grace, mercy, and redemption, and I gave my life to Christ in December of 2008. On March 22, 2009, I received baptism. My walk with God ignited with a passion I never felt before. I gave up old habits as I learned how to surrender all areas of my life to Him! In the spring of 2012, I felt the same call from my childhood to go into the mission field. That fall, I took my first short-term mission trip to Honduras. I returned four more times throughout 2015.

Marriage and Ministry Training at CLI

Now that I am married to an amazing man who has a heart for God, I am healing from many self-inflicted wounds. He helps me daily to see myself the way that our Heavenly Father sees me. We are both passionate about people, especially those hurting deeply like I was. We share the desire and dream to plant a church in God’s perfect timing.

The Getting Started course at Christian Leaders Institute strengthened and renewed my Bible connection and walk with God. I am building my relationship with God daily instead of just a few times a week. Currently, I most identify with the title of Evangelist, Pastor, and Church Planter. My spiritual dream is to lead a revival among others that have come from difficult beginnings. Then, they may use their testimonies to reach hardened hearts and soften the soil to plant the seeds of faith. So, we can create a culture of reproducing believers.

Ordained House Church Planter Journey

Everything that happened in my life has brought me to this point in pursuing ministry. I can clearly look back and see God at work in my life, and how He relentlessly pursued me. Some things I endured should have killed me, but the hand of the Almighty Father was upon me. I strongly believe it is because He has a higher calling on my life than I realized. It is now my duty to spread the Gospel and share my story with others. Hopefully, they too can come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. No matter what people’s circumstances were yesterday, God’s Grace is for today and every day. His strength is made perfect in our weakness!

My local church embraced me and loved me in spite of me. They believe in me even when others have not. I view them as more than just a gathering of fellow Christians. They have truly become my spiritual family, and I consider them to be my brothers and sisters in such a tangible way now.

Crucial Free Ministry Training at CLI

The free ministry training at CLI was so important to me because I feel the calling into ministry so strongly upon my life. If not for this opportunity with CLI, I would be unable to financially support my education. I am so thankful that God has answered my prayers and led me to this wonderful community where I will be able to do that which I used to think was only a dream. Thank you, CLI, Henry Reyenga, and all of the supporters of this educational institution, for giving me the opportunity to realize and pursue the calling that God placed on my life.

Please, pray that God would clearly reveal to me exactly what it is He wants me to do with my education. Please, pray that the desires of my heart align with the desires of His heart and that He brings me into a season of serving others in whatever capacity that He is calling me to.

I applied to CLI so that I could become better equipped for leadership in my community. My husband and I feel God calling us to plant a church or begin an outreach of sorts. He continues to reveal to us what that should look like. Meanwhile, we keep working through our classes at CLI together. We have learned so much during our time attending CLI!

Ordained House Church Planter Calling

Most recently we feel God calling us to complete our ordination with Christian Leaders Alliance. Then, we can minister to those around us in a house church setting. We are praying for God to reveal to us a plan going forward. We are so thankful that CLI has been so instrumental in training us while we step into the calling that God has placed on our lives!

Henry Reyenga
Author: Henry Reyenga

Henry Reyenga is president of Christian Leaders Institute and Christian Leaders Alliance.