Filling the Father Void: Salt Churches

Salt Churches has a God-sized vision rooted in Scripture.

After being a campus pastor in New York for nearly four years, Parker Green sensed it was time to make a change.

“I felt like we weren’t disciple makers but rather glorified event planners,” says Green, who longed to create a multiplying Jesus-following church. So, in January 2017 he and his family packed up and moved out West to Costa Mesa, California, on a hope and a dream. They chose the location because they felt it was a place for revival.

“We’ve seen a lot of revivals birthed out of California, and we wanted to be where the action is,” says Green, who launched Salt Churches with 50 people, but that number quickly whittled down to just eight.

“As soon as we asked people to make disciples, a bunch of them bailed as it makes some folks uncomfortable,” he says. They are unapologetic, however, about discipleship from the front end.

“What we mean by discipleship is taking people under your wing and teaching them how to follow Jesus. A lot of people don’t want to do that because it’s hard work. It’s annoying work,” says Green. “Even Jesus got irritated with his disciples, so imagine what we feel like sometimes.”

But it’s the crux of their mission. Now they have five house churches, each with between 15 and 30 people. Green’s short-term goals involve multiplying locally; in the long term, he’d like to see Salt be a model for starting microchurches.

“My big God-sized vision is to have a church within 10 minutes of everyone in America,” says Green. “It would be cool if every neighborhood had a church so people would actively engage with their neighbors.”

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He sees this happening by raising up leaders and having them start churches in their own homes.

“It’s just statistical. New groups get new people,” says Green. “The more you multiply, the more you’ll see brand-new believers. And the more who get saved, the better.”

Plus, millennials and Gen Zers long to know their pastor because according to Green, statistically most of them have not had fathers present in their lives and therefore have no mooring or base for what to believe, what to do or how to operate in life.

“Fatherhood is probably the biggest issue of our generation by far,” says Green, who feels that creating a household of faith will make a huge difference now and for future generations.

“Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ A lot of people leave it there,” says Green. “But he also says, ‘No one comes to the Father but by me.’ I think the important piece we sometimes miss there is the identity in the family.”

He maintains that the nuclear family is vital in today’s society. “I think the nuclear family is the answer, and what is missing from that is the father figure right now,” says Green. “People are begging for fathers. There is a vacuum that needs to be filled.”

When racial tensions arose over the spring and summer, Green was careful how to address it in his church.

“When I’m dealing with social justice issues, my concern is that initiatives sometimes lack the gospel—there is no salvation in them,” he says. “It begins to group people based on the color of their skin, and I can’t think of a more superficial way to judge someone than by the color of their skin.”

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Therefore, their church’s response was atypical.

“We are unapologetic about the gospel,” states Green. “Everyone is full of sin, and I’m not surprised by sin in the world. We are a nation that has walked away from God, so to expect people to act like Christians all of a sudden is unrealistic.”

He doesn’t like to see one group of people pitted against another, but he points out that there is a certain someone who thrives on it.

“If I were the Devil and I wanted to control people, I would group people up because it’s easy to control them that way,” says Green.

—Christy Heitger-Ewing

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Costa Mesa, California
Lead Pastor: Parker Green
Founded: 2017
Denomination: Nondenominational
Church-Plant Affiliation: The Micro Church Mvmt.
Locations: 5+