Pastor Tavv Shaver planted Evergreen Baptist Church in Bellingham, Washington in 1997. After speaking at the West Coast Baptist College 2014 Church Planting Conference, he spoke with The Baptist Voice about church planting.
Q: What advice would you give to a young man who would like to start a church?
A: I would recommend preparing at a Bible college and getting experience by working closely with a pastor. Those were the two main things that helped me. After I graduated from Bible college, I served as a youth director, a Sunday school director, and an associate pastor. Many young men get excited about starting a church, but they may not know how to do it. They need wisdom and the will to wait.
Q: Why did you choose to start a church in Bellingham?
A: Originally, I was looking for a church in need of a pastor. One day while I was interviewing with a pastor in the Northwest, he asked me how I knew that God wanted me to take a church as opposed to starting one. I really didn’t know. He then told me to pray about starting a church plant. So I did.
Q: What was the greatest obstacle you faced while starting the church?
A: Of course, finances were a constant obstacle, but the biggest one was taking a look at myself and wondering if I was capable.
Q: How did other pastors support you?
A: I got on the phone and started calling everyone I knew. After calling pastors that I knew for about nine months, I had the needed support. It was a miracle!
Q: What was your first priority in starting the church?
A: The first priority was getting into the neighborhoods and meeting people. We knocked on doors and tried to win souls to Christ. We wanted to build a positive reputation in the community. We made it our priority to love the people of Bellingham.
Q: What fruit have you been able to see in the ministry?
A: Through the years, we’ve been able to teach church members how to win souls to Christ. As a result, we’ve seen hundreds saved. The fruit of seeing people saved and baptized has been so exciting. Our church also has a tremendous core of people. They love my family, and they’re always growing. They make the ministry more enjoyable. I love the fact that God called me to pastor. God has blessed us in so many ways, and it is so exciting to see Him take care of us.
Q: What are the main lessons you learned in the ministry?
A: I’ve learned that no matter how bad a trial looks when you are in the middle of it, there is something better coming. The trial is not going to last forever. It does have an end. God will not only take care of you during trials, but He will also bring you out of it.