From One Thriving Church to Two Hiving Churches


At our All Church Summer Conference, I was going to share the story of the Hive, when Evergreen Baptist Church became Evergreen SGV and Evergreen LA. As I was preaching, I realized that I would have to edit the sermon and decided to leave out the story of the hive. For this blog, I am going to share the genesis of the hive.

There were two important Bible verses in my life as a pastor. In 1 Samuel 3:9, the High Priest Eli instructs Samuel to listen to the Lord after Samuel hears someone calling to him at night. Eli tells Samuel to say, “Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.”

I have always attempted to listen to the Lord regarding our church and my life as a shepherd.

After listening, there was a second step that Samuel learned about listening to the Lord found in 1 Samuel 15:22, which says, “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams.’” After hearing from the Lord, Samuel always attempted to obey the Lord’s voice.

The Bible teaches that “to obey is better than sacrifice”. Sacrifice was perhaps the single-most important act in Israel’s relationship with God. Yet, Samuel understood that obedience trumps sacrifice. Over the years, the Lord has spoken to me and I needed to obey.

In 1995, Evergreen was confronted with the challenge of outgrowing our campus. We were beginning to experience sociological strangulation. Sociological strangulation happens when the physical facilities cannot handle more people.

The symptoms of sociological strangulation are when 80% of available parking spaces are used, seating capacity in sanctuary is at 80% or more and classroom space is 80% utilized.

We looked for remedies. We tried to purchase additional adjacent property. We prayed about moving to a larger site or starting a satellite church.

In 1995, while at a conference, the Lord spoke to me and said, “Split the church”. When I returned from the conference, I began to share about the possibility of planting a church with either Ken Fong or me leading the plant.

No one was in favor of the idea at first. But, I knew that if it was from the Lord, it would happen. Gradually, the church family warmed up to the idea as they began to see the benefits of such a venture. Rather than calling it a split, we coined the term “hive” for the venture from the Lord.

In 1997, after about two years of prepping the church family, we hived the church and Evergreen SGV was given birth. The rest is history.

Listening to the Lord and being willing to obey has resulted in incredible blessings as we moved forward as Evergreen SGV, and with every blessing, may God be glorified.

How is God speaking to you? Are you willing to obey?

Something to think about…