Spotlight Interview: David Pothier

By Prestonwood Network Staff

Prestonwood Network: Can you share with us how God led you to plant a church in Montreal?

David Pothier: I was a youth pastor for about 10 years, when I had this calling to pastor and plant a church. I felt called specifically to plant a church where there was a great need. After completing a course on church planting, I came to realize that Montreal had the biggest need in Quebec and perhaps in all of North America. In fact, at the time, there was less than half a percent of the population that were evangelical Christians who attended church.

Prestonwood Network: What are some of the biggest challenges of planting and pastoring in a culture and city that is so hostile to the Gospel?

David Pothier: The biggest challenge is to have a place to meet since the religious zonings are no longer granted to new churches. Therefore, it becomes quite complicated. We cannot buy new land. We cannot obtain a new religious zoning. We cannot transform an existing zoning. We need to use the existing religious zonings, and even these are not very numerous. The only other option is to rent a building by the hour, which becomes really pricey.

The other challenge is that a part of the population is angry and has a bitterness against the Church due to the history of the Church in Quebec. Therefore, we have to rebuild and renew the image of the Church here.

Prestonwood Network: On the other hand, how do you believe that persecution has brought growth and evangelism opportunities to La Chapelle?

David Pothier: To serve in a difficult environment has certain advantages. 1. One of the advantages is the fervor of the ones who come to church since they are not obligated to come, and they do not have any social pressure to do so. They come to church because they want to come. 2. Since we have evacuated a lot of the spiritual things in our culture, this creates an environment where people are curious and thirsty for something deeper. This can lead to a hunger for spiritual conversations and for people to want to know more about Jesus.

Prestonwood Network: It is hard to believe, but Christmas is just around the corner. What are some creative ways that La Chapelle spreads the Gospel during the Christmas season?

David Pothier: At La Chapelle, we organize big Christmas shows—with a rented theater and a Broadway-style Christmas show. The first part of the show contains a lot of secular, popular Christmas music. Then, the second part shifts more toward Christian songs. And then, I share the true Christmas story and the Good News of Jesus Christ in the final 10 minutes. At the conclusion, we invite people to join us for worship at La Chapelle.

Prestonwood Network: What is the most important lesson that you have learned when it comes to leading and pastoring your family?

David Pothier: The most important thing I have discovered is that as my children are getting older and becoming teenagers, they do not need less of my presence than when they were young. In many ways, they need more of my presence. It is a paradigm that I discovered over the years. I have also realized that the quality of my intimacy with my wife will have an impact on the whole household.

Prestonwood Network: How do you identify potential leaders and train them to serve in your church?

David Pothier: We created a leadership pipeline, which is based on practical teachings. We put people in opportunities to serve very early. First, they shadow someone who is already leading and serving others. At this point, we look at and evaluate the faithfulness demonstrated. We then inform them of the possibility to grow in leadership through increased opportunity and influence. When looking for those to pass on to the next level of leadership, we are specifically looking at their interests and giftings to line up with the area of leadership and service.

Also, almost all the leaders that we have put in place are homegrown and raised up at La Chapelle.

Prestonwood Network: What are some things that have you most excited for the future of La Chapelle and church planting in Montreal as a whole?

David Pothier: We are excited about the fact that this is our biggest year ever in terms of growth, attendance, small groups and baptisms. In this past year, we have averaged 1,660 in weekly attendance, 60 small groups, and 122 baptisms. We are really excited because we are working toward planting a fourth church plant at the moment. In addition, we are also excited about putting in place a recruitment program for internships in these church plants that will allow us to have more potential leaders in our leadership pipeline. 

Prestonwood Network: How can we be praying for you, your family and your church?

David Pothier: Please pray for more potential leaders in our leadership pipeline. We are looking for high-quality leaders.

Please pray for me so that I can grow in my spiritual leadership and in intimacy with God, so that I can lead well what God has called me to do.

Please pray for my family to stay close to the Lord. Pray for my children to continue to stay close to the Lord.

Prestonwood Network: Thank you, David. It is so powerful to hear how God is using you and La Chapelle to reach such a difficult area. Thank you for reminding us that Jesus can penetrate even the hardest heart. We are praying for you.

David Pothier serves as Lead Pastor at La Chapelle in Montreal, Canada. Follow him on Twitter @PasteurDavid.

More information on La Chapelle can be found at www.lachapelle.me. Please feel free to share a word of encouragement or prayer with Pastor David at dpothier@lachapelle.me.

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