In 1988, Dan and Rosemary Moore founded an interdenominational church in Maine called Messiah Christian Church. In this video, they share their story – how they started the church and how they grew, and then how they recognized their own immaturity and the need for discipleship.
Watch the video to learn about the impact that life-on-life missional discipleship had on them as individuals and then had on their church. The transcript from the video is below.
Transcript – Dan and Rosemary Moore Testimony
Dan: My name is Dan Moore. I’m a senior pastor. We have a church in Southern Maine. It’s an interdenominational church.
Rosemary: I’m Rosemary Moore, and I worked as an corporate attorney for 30 years and am also on staff at Messiah Christian Church, our church in southern Maine.
Dan: We’re church planters. We believe that the best way to reach a community is to plant a church, and we found that to be really effective. So 35 years ago, we planted a church in southern Maine for that purpose, to reach as many people in that community as we could with the gospel.
Rosemary: And so we planted that church in 1988. We showed up in Maine in 1986, and I was there to practice law. Dan was finishing his doctorate at Gordon-Conwell. And so we plowed along, 1988 all the way to 2005, and the church was doing great. My legal career was awesome.
In April 7th, 2005, we rolled out this model of our new thousand seat sanctuary, which in Maine is like a megachurch because it’s small there. We rolled out this model of a thousand seat sanctuary and everybody was cheering and we were ready to start construction. And eight days later, we found ourselves in a doctor’s office with our son, and he was having trouble with his vision. He was sick, but he was having a lot of trouble with his vision. And the ophthalmologist after a four hour exam said to me, “where are you going this week?”
And I said “to Minneapolis” and she said, “no, you’re not. You’re in your home – I’ll be at your house in an hour with an ambulance, pack a bag, turn off all the lights.”
So she showed up with an ambulance. She took us down to Mass General, which is the largest hospital in New England where most of the sickest kids in the world are. And they did an emergency spinal tap, an emergency MRI, and discovered that he had eight lesions on his optic system and he was blind.
The next morning, family resource people showed up in his hospital room and took us out in the hallway and said, 85% of couples in your situation will be divorced within three years. Do you want to be a statistic?
It was pretty shocking. We looked at each other and said, “we want to save Josh, we want to save our son’s life, but no, we don’t want to be a statistic.” So they brought counselors in and we started counseling and we realized that we were immature people, not just spiritually, but in lots of ways.
And I think it was two years of that counseling that we had this successful church by every single factor, but we were not mature people. And so we were in counseling, and then a year later we started with discipling. I got someone who was more mature than me. He got someone, and we ended up getting Life on Life discipleship. We didn’t know it was called that, but they started pouring into us.
Dan: I think at that point we realized that our own spiritual maturity was low, but we also understood that our church was at a similar level and we knew that something was really missing in our church. I think we came to the realization that we needed a model of transformation for our church that would affect them, and also that they would live the Christian life out on a day-to-day basis. So that really changed a lot.
Rosemary: So in 2010, we started what, now we know are our life on life missional discipleship groups. Our major network of groups that we had at the time were three kinds of groups, 30 small group bible studies, 60 dinner circles that met once a month, and then some other things that were just kind of once a week, parenting, seminars, things like that.
We had all these people, but when we got them together, nobody had memorized any scripture. Nobody was praying for anybody. Nobody was applying faith to their life. So they were all having a great time sharing recipes at these dinner circles. Even the Bible studies were…everybody was an inch deep.
I took two groups of three women each, and he took two groups of three men each. And we started discipleship. We started with those six, 12 people, and then they, after two years, took three people each. It wasn’t until 2013 that we found Randy’s book and we were like, wow, this is a thing. Life on life. Missional discipleship -. There’s a structure…
Dan: There’s a philosophy to it that really was helpful to us, and we really did not have that before.
Rosemary: We devoured the book
Dan: Book. Yeah, we devoured the book and it had a major impact on our church.
Rosemary: We took everything from the Perimeter Church website. We implemented it. We did everything we could. We changed the name, we changed the logo of the church to “where people grow”. We just took it all.
Dan: Our goal was to really change the focus of the church, and we really wanted to be a church where people grow. And so we wanted the whole culture of our church to be that way. And so we systematically, slowly, year after year, kept moving towards, growth being the very focus of why we’re here.
Rosemary: When Covid hit, our church was completely networked and connected. So we tripled during Covid, which was the largest growth time of our church ever in its 35 years. So Covid was a time that we thrived, and it really is due to Life on Life.
We had this guy, Joe, we’ll give an example, and he was in the dinner circles, great cook, having a great time. And so when we started Discipleship, we invited him in and he started to learn, tried to memorize Scripture and wasn’t really great at it. He was kind of like, I don’t know if I’m any good at this, but he stayed in discipleship and he came to us the day of his diagnosis during Covid, and he sat with us in the church office and we looked at him and he said, what’s going on? And out of his mouth came scripture. And he said, “you know what? This is an opportunity for me to share my faith. I’m going to tell everyone, everyone.”
And that’s the difference. Our people are now deep caverns of intimacy with Christ. It’s so different.
Dan: I think the beauty of this is, sometimes you can read a book on people’s lives being transformed, but it’s really better if they’re your stories rather than telling someone else’s story. To see the transformation in your own presence with your own people, and then watch and see the transformation that God does…Those are our stories. Those are ours.
Rosemary: Yeah. We really want to thank the Perimeter Church family for this support because we are here and transformed because of you. And our church is a totally different church because of what you’ve done. And we wanted you to know. We really wanted you to know. So thank you..
Dan: Yeah, Thank you.
If you and your church want to grow more spiritually mature, just like Dan and Rosemary Moore, then checkout our discipleship training. You’ll get tons of resources, and more importantly, you’ll receive personalized coaching. We believe that the best training for life on life missional discipleship happens through, you guessed it, life on life missional discipleship.
In addition, you can connect with Dan and Rosemary through their spiritual coaching organization, The Moore Center.