The Doors Kept Opening: Meet Nancy Marthedal

In our final week of preparations to launch our Sandals Church Fresno campus, we want to introduce you to a few of the devoted members of New Life Community Church as we honor them and ask God to multiply their faithfulness.

Meet Nancy.

I have been at New Life Community Church since 1970 when I was a sophomore in high school. The last three years have been a little bit rough for us. We had several pastors come and go. Our last one left over a year and a half ago. We were asking God what was next four us as we were considering getting another pastor, but that didn’t seem like the best option. We started praying. We heard about some churches partnering with other churches and knew of a church in Fresno that had a satellite location and thought about talking to them. My daughter, Anna, had attended Sandals Church when she was in Southern California, so she emailed Ron McCoy from the ROGO Foundation. When started talking with Ron, it was pretty exciting.

I am one of those people who is pretty passionate. So the thought of moving forward in a direction where God was going to be here and move and we could be a beacon in our community was thrilling to my heart.

I have worked with the Washington Union Fellowship of Christian Athletes for quite some time. We have 160 kids coming to lunch every week, and most aren’t plugged in at a church. At New Life, we didn’t have something for them. We had a youth group, and they were awesome, but we needed more. Someone be able to connect with the kids, help them be more loved, be more discipled, learn more about Jesus, and help them develop their relationship with Christ.

From the beginning, I was very hopeful that merging with Sandals Church
would be what God’s plans were for us.

He put it in my head and heart before we had the last Pastor that maybe joining another church was a good option for us. The minute we started talking to Ron, it was like, “Okay, God, is this it?” Our little church Council leadership group had prayed that the doors would either be flown wide-open or slammed shut. We did have a couple of those slam shuts along the way, which was extremely difficult, but we knew God was leading us. The doors to Sandals Church kept being opened and opened, and so as it drew closer, we thought we were going to be a yes. We keep hanging on and moving forward as they kept asking more questions and wanting to know more about us, which to me, was wonderful. I thought, If they want to know more about us, then they are serious about us becoming a Sandals Church.

When it became apparent that it was going to happen, it was overwhelming to me, so I am so thrilled
that we could bring Christ in a real and authentic way to our community.


Sandals Church Fresno launches February 16th at 9:00 am with a second service at 10:30 am.

It All Started With an Email: Meet Anna Campbell

I was born and raised in Fresno, California. I moved to Southern California to attend Azusa Pacific University and after I graduated, I lived in Riverside and started attending Sandals Church. Sandals was relatively small at that time, and we met in the gym at Cal Baptist University. I loved attending Sandals Church. It was a big part of young adult life and made a real difference. I had a dear friend at Sandals Church named Scarlett, who I’ve continued in relationship with for these last 15 years or so.

“After I moved back home to Fresno, I said the two things that I missed about being in Southern California are Scarlett and Sandals Church.”

About two years ago, our pastor chose to move on. We tried to find a new one, but it was challenging to find somebody who was a jack of all trades. We wanted someone who’s a really good speaker, a really good lover of people, and a really great leader and good administrator, and so to find somebody good at all of those things was difficult. So we just have not had great luck. We were without a pastor, without any leadership and so our church council talked about where do we go from here? Scarlett mentioned that I should reach out to Ron from the Sandals Church ROGO Foundation. 

I sent Ron an email, and I wrote:

“I know this is probably crazy. I know that we’re far away but I’ve heard Pastor Matt talk about how God has given him this vision for 500 churches. I know you haven’t gone outside of the Inland Empire yet and although Fresno is far, it’s not actually that far in the grand scheme of things. So, is there any chance that this might be a possibility?” 

And I expected him to write back and be like, “Oh, that’s a cute idea, thanks but no thanks” But he wrote back and said, “I’d love to talk to you.” My heart skipped a beat. When I left Southern California, I just had this hole in my heart for Scarlett and Sandals Church. I just have wanted to share the vision of sandals Church of being real and bring it here. And so then when it was like, “Oh, that could be an option that really could happen!”

I think that the vision of being real could transform Easton, Fresno, the Central Valley. It is a diverse place. There’s a lot of tough stuff here. Life is difficult, not that it isn’t everywhere, but I think that sometimes people don’t feel free to be who they are. I believe that this vision of authenticity, hopefully, will allow people to do that and to be that into really allow God to infiltrate our lives here and make a change to bringing light to the darkness.

“I think there’s no limit to what God could do here and I can’t wait to see what he does.”


Last Post: Multiplying Their Faithfulness: Meet David Chavez

In A Church Merger Both Churches Bring Something to the Table 

In every church merger, there is a lead church and a joining church. Both churches are significant to the kingdom of God, regardless of size. They both bring something unique and valuable to the table to make the merger a long term success. 

The lead church brings vision, strategy, resources, and a proven ministry model. All of these things work together under the strong leadership of the lead church. Any one of these alone is not enough to make a church thrive. 

Both churches are significant to the Kingdom of God, regardless of size.

The joining church typically brings a core group of committed Christ-followers who understand and reflect the heartbeat of the local community. They bring an asset or a building that, with updating and repair, can serve that community well. 

Both churches bring key attributes to the table that combined created a thriving church that will impact their local community with the Gospel. And in a way that only God can, He uses the unique gifting of each person, and the resources available so that when the two churches successfully become one, God is glorified and people meet Jesus. It is a win for both churches and certainly a victory for the Kingdom of God.


Last post: Empathy is Key to Walking the Church Body Through Change

Communities are Transformed When Dying Churches are Transformed

A thriving gospel-focused local church represents hope, love, and purpose in a community. As a local church continuously declines in attendance, giving, and a well-maintained facility, it’s light often dims in its community. As its light dims, the eternal hope of Christ in that community dims as well. Ministries and outreach halts, the facility falls into disrepair, the pastor takes on all duties of the church, even those outside his gifting, and mere survival becomes the focus.


A thriving gospel-focused local church represents hope, love, and purpose in a community.


When restoration happens to a dying church through a successful merger, attendance, giving, and hope in the community rises. The Gospel message emanates into the community. The good work to care for and love their neighbors is once again a priority. Outreach and community events become a regular activity in the neighborhoods. People come to faith, get baptized, and are sent out on a mission. It is inevitable that post-merge a sense of life and purpose return to the community.


Next Post: God Does so Much More with an Open Hand than a Closed Fist.

Multisite Church Trends in 2020 by Paul Alexander

Multisite Church Trends in 2020 by Paul Alexander

Paul Alexander, pastor, speaker, strategist, and ministry consultant at The Unstuck Group writes an insightful post about the trends he is seeing in the current multisite movement.

“While there are a lot of ways people are trying to do multisite, not all multisite models or approaches are created equal. Some work (more people meeting Jesus and growing) better than others. I think many churches and church leaders are still confused about what multisite is and isn’t.”

Seven Potholes That Can Destroy Your Leadership by Ron Edmondson

Seven Potholes That Can Destroy Your Leadership by Ron Edmondson

Ron Edmondson is a church and organizational leadership consultant. In this post, he identifies seven traps that leaders tend to find themselves in that hinder their success. Ron calls those traps “potholes.”

“Great leaders are always cognizant the success today isn’t guaranteed tomorrow – so they keep working on developing themselves, their team, and the organization.”