God Keeps His Promises
Shawn was crushed. It was his junior year of high school at a Christian boarding school in Kenya and he was called up to the Dean of Discipline’s office. He had no idea why he was called there but an hour later his world came crashing down. He found himself expelled from school for the rest of the year. Not only that, he was required to move to Akron, Ohio for counseling. Shawn felt hopeless. What he didn’t know at the time was that God was already redeeming this hopeless situation for good.
GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS
Shawn Deal was raised in a pastor, missionary’s home. When he would tell people that he grew up in the church, he really meant it. In fact, when he lived in Equatorial Guinea, Africa, his family lived on the second floor of a church his father planted. It was the first Assembly of God church in that nation!
Many would assume that Shawn was a Christ follower from the time he was a boy, but this was not the case. He even thought he was, but as it turned out, he was just a good kid going through the motions. Even though Shawn heard salvation messages every week and didn’t drink, smoke, or cuss he hadn’t fully surrendered his life.
AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE
After being expelled from the school in Kenya, Shawn was devastated. His parents immediately flew from Equatorial Guinea to bring him to the States. The night before they left, his dad quoted Romans 8:28, a Scripture which Shawn had heard time and time again growing up. It says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Shawn whispered to himself as quietly as possible, “Whatever.”
He followed that remark with a simple prayer. He said, “God, if that promise is true and I see it happen, I’ll give you my life. I’ll let you have complete control. If you don’t, though, I’m out!”
The next few months were incredibly difficult and Shawn began to realize that he wasn’t a Christ follower at all. He was just playing the game, and he needed to surrender his life to God. He remembered responding to an altar call for the first time in April of 1993. As a 17-year-old missionary kid, Shawn finally said yes to Jesus.
Shawn went on to teach Spanish after graduating with a Spanish degree from Evangel University in 1999. Shortly after, he joined the Army and served for 8 years. Following his military service, he received his Master of Divinity from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in 2014. Months before Shawn graduated, he received a call from his dad’s close friend who was pastoring a church in California. The pastor asked Shawn to prayerfully consider taking over an existing church in Los Angeles. A burden for Los Angeles grew in his heart and although he had never even been there, he knew God was calling him to leave his hometown and plant a church.
PLANTING IN A CITY WITH MANY NATIONS
Shawn has a desire to reach the world, and that world has come to Los Angeles. From the moment he accepted God’s call on his life to plant a church, Shawn knew that he wanted to plant a multi-cultural, multi-generational, multi-socioeconomic church. Downey, a suburb of Los Angeles, is the place God has placed him to do just that.
Downey has a population of 110,000 people. It’s vastly multicultural, with Hispanics, Caucasians, African-Americans, and Asians; all from a great variety of nations living right next door to one another. There are many who have lived in Downey for 60 to 80 years, and just as many who have only moved there in the last few months. There is extreme wealth and extreme poverty, and everything in between. God has called Shawn and his family to plant a church for all of them- to reach the one, to reach the world.
Pastor Shawn Deal will be planting CityReach Church Downey on April 2nd, 2017!
“There’s nothing like seeing someone far from God, become a Christ follower, and seeing their life radically changed!”