When I came to be the pastor of what is now Pinon Hills Community Church (PHCC) in 1995, my vision was to grow a spiritually dynamic regional church on a state-of-the-art mission campus with ministries that would impact the Four Corners and the world for Christ. It was a lofty vision and we have been pursuing it for the last twenty-three years.
For about the last ten years God has been convincing my heart and mind that those of us who follow Jesus have a Kingdom Culture Mission (KCM). A Kingdom Culture Mission is the belief that God has called us to grow the Kingdom of Christ in every part of human culture. As much as possible the truth and values of Christ should be reflected in not only the church and the family, but also in public manners, in education, in businesses, in government and all other sectors of society. It was most elegantly stated by Jesus when he taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, they will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:10).
Most people don’t realize it but the founding of America on the core principles of faith, freedom and prosperity was the application of the Kingdom Culture Mission to human government. The founding document of America is the Declaration of Independence, written in 1776. It made the core case for the separation of America from England and the establishment of a new nation based on timeless principles. Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was the primary author of that document, however the core ideas and some of the core phrases themselves were not original with Jefferson. They were original with John Locke (1632-1704). Locke was the originator and Jefferson was the communicator. Locke was an English Christian theologian whose genius was to apply the truths of the Bible to human government. The central phrase in the Declaration of Independence of “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness….,” is John Locke’s application of biblical theology to human government. Most of the rich blessings of America have come from the fact that it was founded on Kingdom Culture truths and values.
The only way to fulfill a Kingdom Culture Mission in the various sectors of society is for Christians to develop great kingdom churches plus other kingdom ministries, works and organizations that impact the various sectors of of society; such as religion, education, government, business, non-profit work, art, science, entertainment and the media.
Over the last few years God has been convincing my heart and mind that my calling now is to move from the work of pastoring a church to the work of developing multiple organizations and ministries that grow the Kingdom of Christ in human culture.
In September of 2016 I asked the Board of Elders of Pinon Hills Community Church to start working with me to create a succession plan to select the next Lead Pastor for Pinon Hills Community Church so the church could keep moving forward and so I could make a transition to focus my time, energy and gifts on developing kingdom ministries like The Prosperity Project International that grow the Kingdom of Christ in our culture. I said at that time that my target date to complete the transition was approximately June of 2018.
I expected our Board to agree and to essentially send me on my way after we had completed the pastoral succession. Instead, after several months of prayer and deliberation, they concluded that we should expand our ministries from Pinon Hills Community Church (PHCC) to Pinon Hills Ministries (PHM) and that the broader umbrella of PHM would include the church plus our growing Christian school system called Southwest Academies, the Browning Ranch Equine Center (which came as a result of receiving the 32 acre Browning Ranch), the Pinon Hills Village Senior Community (which we are developing) and The Prosperity Project International (which we formed in June of 2016). And they concluded that I should move over from the role of pastoring PHCC to developing these other major ministries of Pinon Hills Ministries. So, we concluded that God was leading us in this direction.
Their reasoning was first that they agreed with the Kingdom Culture Mission that we have been pursuing. Then second, they felt like the work that was done so far to create a great church plus several other major ministries had been led by God. So, they concluded that we should keep moving forward in this calling that God has on all of us here at Pinon Hills.
In March of 2017 we presented the plan to expand the ministry from PHCC to PHM to the people of Pinon Hills Community Church and we presented the plan to expand our leadership by selecting a new Lead Pastor for PHCC and for me to move over to leading PHM. Our church accepted and supported the broader vision and plan.
That same month we met with William Vanderbloemen of the Vanderbloemen Search Group to prepare for our national search for our next Lead Pastor. In November of 2017 we officially launched our search with the Vanderbloemen Search Group (VSG).
By March of 2018 VSG presented four recommended candidates to our Search Team. The Search Team did its initial evaluation of these four candidates. Our Search Team released two of the candidates from our process and kept two. At the same time one of our staff members requested to submit his candidacy in the mix and the Search Team agreed to allow that.
In April of 2018 (this month) our Search Team took the two outside candidates and our inside candidate through a process of interviews, onsite visits and evaluations. After an intense and prayerful process, our Search Team selected one of the outside candidates on April 17, 2018 to be the candidate that they believed God had led them to recommend to the members of Pinon Hills Church. That candidate is Matt Mizell.
Matt and Ashten Mizell have two children ages five and two. Matt has served in two mega-churches in major leadership positions. He is serving in one of those churches now in California. Matt and Ashten have strong ties to New Mexico with family who live in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Matt has been a leader in ministry teaching and communications. He has a weekly ministry of training over 250 youth pastors nationwide in ministry and leadership. Matt’s gifts are teaching, leadership, entrepreneurship and communications. Matt is excited about leading forward on the vision of Pinon Hills Community Church and partnering in the broader work of Pinon Hills Ministries.
One of Matt’s ministry passions is to create a healthy church culture that begins with the church staff and that translates to the whole church. Matt has grown every organization and ministry where he has led and we expect him to lead PHCC to not only greater health but also to greater growth. He is also driven by the Kingdom Culture Mission and the church’s part of that mission to make as many disciples as possible who follow Jesus.
Matt and Ashten will be presented to the congregation of Pinon Hills Church on Sunday, April 29, 2018. Matt will preach in the 8:30 a.m. service. He will be interviewed by me in the 10:00 a.m. service and He will preach again in the 11:30 a.m. service. Then we will ask the members of PHCC to vote to affirm the selection of the Search Team by paper ballot or by online ballot. We believe that the confirmation of Matt Mizell as the next Lead Pastor of Pinon Hills Community Church is the next step in a long journey of faithfulness to God’s leading on our church and ministries.
Upon the confirmation of this selection by our membership we will finalize the plans for Matt, Ashten and their children to make their transition to Farmington and to begin ministry here at Pinon Hills Church this summer.
When Matt arrives, I will work with him for several months in a co-leadership role to help orient him to some of the dynamics of PHCC like working with our staff and our Board of Elders. I will be hands-off in his day to day leadership of the church and I will give him the room he needs to establish his pastoral leadership. At the end of those several months we will have a full handoff of the leadership of the church to Matt. After that I will serve Matt in an as-needed and as-wanted mentoring role. We will work collegially to create a synergy between PHCC and the other ministries of Pinon Hills Ministries. He will be the Lead Pastor of Pinon Hills Church and I will be the President of Pinon Hills Ministries.
I am excited about the future potential of Pinon Hills ministries with expanded leadership. As we pursue the Kingdom Culture Mission, these are some of the vision goals that I have for the ministries of PHM:
• Our Southwest Academies can become the premiere school system in our region to deliver academic excellence and a Christian worldview for pre-k through 12th grade on state-of-the-art campuses and winning state titles in sports and arts. Our graduates will be the leaders in defending and promoting the kingdom values of academics, faith, freedom and prosperity.
• Our Browning Ranch Equine Center can become the premiere national faith-based program that transforms people physically, mentally and spiritually through the human-equine connection.
• Our Pinon Hills Village can become a faith-based and ministry driven senior’s residential community of 400 people.
• The Prosperity Project International can lead 1 million people out of poverty by 2030 and especially transform the Christian Poor around the world to become the Christian Empowered who help change the world.
• Pinon Hills Community Church can grow to 2,500 plus attenders with ministries that impact the whole Four Corners Region and it can be a teaching church that lifts and mobilizes the ministries of other churches in the Kingdom Culture Mission.
Every one of the ministries of Pinon Hills Ministries is on a growth and development
track. Each one is designed to change lives and to grow the Kingdom of Christ. Together all these ministries will have amazing impact.
This is what is happening at Pinon Hills. We are expanding our ministry to pursue our Kingdom Culture Mission. We are expanding our leadership to fit the expanded ministry. We are selecting the next pastor for Pinon Hills Community Church and I am moving over to become the President of Pinon Hills Ministries.
As we expand our ministries and our leadership, I want to call everyone who is part of Pinon Hills to keep working with us to fulfill the vision. I also want to call every believer who is part of every other ministry in our region and around the world to the greatest work that is possible; to change lives and to grow the Kingdom of Christ. It is greater than any of us. The full fruit of our lives will not come in until after our lives and the results and rewards of our work will live beyond our lives and for eternity.
May God bless you and may God bless us as we serve The King.
Dr. John H. Morgan, 4.24.2018.
i. Wallbuilders.com. Article: John Locke Deist or Theologian? John Locke wrote a commentary on the epistles of Paul, multiple defenses of Christianity in his works The Reasonableness of Christianity as Delivered in Scriptures, A Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity and A Second Vindication of the Reasonableness of Christianity. He quoted the Bible 1,349 times in his first Treatise on Government. In 1669 Locke assisted in drafting the constitution for the State of Carolina. That constitution required that citizens believe in God, be members of a church and not attack religion.
John Locke. Two Treatises on Government. (London. J. Whiston, etc. 1772.). Book II, p. 285, Chapter XI, sec.135.
Thomas Jefferson. Letter to John Trumbull. Paris Feb. 15. 1789. (Library of Congress. Thomas Jefferson: Letter to John Trumbull. Accessed at Loc.gov 2.18.2018.)
David L. Wardle. Reasons to Ratify: The Influence of John Locke’s Religious Beliefs on the Creation and Adoption of the United States Constitution. (Seattle University Law Review. 2002. Vol. 26. P.291ff.)