The Ballestero Blog

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He Asked Me If I Wanted To Watch Him Choose A City To Go Start A Church.

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I received the Holy Ghost in Bro. Leaman Reynold’s church in National City, CA in September 1958. In his lifetime, he started 9 churches in the United States and also pioneered the work in American Samoa. He was a missionary there for many years.

When I pastored in South Bend, I had him come by and preach for me. One afternoon he called me into the dining room where he was sitting with a map of California spread out on the table. California was where he had started all his other American churches and where he wanted to start another church.

He said, “Brother Marty, many of my friends say the Lord laid a certain town or place on their heart, or that God called them to a city. I think that’s wonderful and I won’t disagree with that. But the Bible does say that we are to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. I like California I’m a California boy at heart and I feel that it’s in God’s will for me to start a church there somewhere.

“Now, he said, the Gospel is God’s Business, and we are not to be slothful or haphazard in business, especially the King’s Business. So for me, I choose a city like I was going into that town to set up a business.”

On the table were packets of demographics from 6 different Chambers of Commerce. A map of California, A UPC directory and his Bible.

He asked me if I would like to watch him choose a city to go start a church. I pulled up a chair.

“If I am going to start a church in California, I need a good base to draw from, so I have found 6 cities in California that, to my knowledge have no Jesus Name Apostolic church of any kind and are over 100,000 in population. I wrote to the Chamber of Commerce in each of these towns requesting the demographics of their cities. Here are the packets. I have not opened them yet. He then bowed his head for a moment, laid his hand on the Bible and prayed a silent prayer.

Picking up the 1st packet he opened it and read. “No, this is a retirement community. The average age is very high. You have to have jobs and youth,” he said.

The 2nd one he disqualified because it mainly had service industry type jobs, and no factories.

The 3rd was a college town whose reputation turned him off.

The 4th was a military town and the population was always fluctuating. No stable base to build on.

The 5th town had a high median income, and average age of 32, 2.2 children per household, and lots of factories and industry.

“Here we go he said, I think this is it…. but let me check the last one.”

He checked the last packet, put it down saying it was a “bedroom community” and picked the 5th one back up. He got out his pen and drew a circle around Hayward, CA.

Sister Reynolds walked into the room and he said, “Here is where we are going to start our new church. We’re going to Hayward, CA.”

They went to Hayward, Started what turned out to be his last church. The congregation grew to a good size in a few years. He died while there.

I never forgot how effective his method was. Nor have I forgotten the command to “GO into ALL the world and preach the Gospel.” And… that it is God’s will to GO everywhere.


Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 3, 2011 at 12:23 am

Posted in Church Planting

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2 Responses

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  1. Thank you for this blog post, and all of the others, too! This one is so challenging! God bless you and Sister Ballestero!!

    Charlotte Mills

    September 3, 2011 at 8:47 am

    • Brother Reynolds and I were good friends, He was the Youth President of the Youth in the California District {WDUPCI} when I first got in Church, after WW11. He was a real Church builder. Start from scratch. Go to a City, get a job {work} with hands, and soon build a congrgation, then a building. I stopped to visit Him when He was doing just that, in Conway Arkansas.
      He was a real Christian Gentelman. We lost a great friend when He passed away.
      HH Davis

      Howard Davis

      September 3, 2011 at 5:49 pm


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