‘If we can plant more churches, we can save more souls.’

Ben Greene

Pastor & writer

  • Church planting & multiplication

Life Chapel International greeting each other

Division defines the Liberian community in Des Moines, Iowa. After multiple tribes fled the West African nation during a civil war there decades ago, tension remains in Iowa.  

Today, people still won’t marry across certain tribes or practice deep reconciliation. But a church in Des Moines has found unity available nowhere else. 


“The gospel is overcoming that [division],” said Cornelius Martor, pastor of Life Chapel International. 


Martor, like most of the Liberians in Des Moines, fled the country after numerous government leaders were assassinated in 1980.  


Martor and his wife lived in a refugee camp. There, they first believed in Christ and committed to the Lord’s mission to make disciples through the church. They eventually settled in Iowa, where they planted Life Chapel International. 


Related: Powerful gospel opportunities exist as the world comes to the U.S. 


The church started in their living room and grew to serve more and more Liberians. As Martor walked down East 9th Street one day, he saw a Converge church, The Church at Union Park. 


Martor met with Foster Wes, the pastor of The Church at Union Park, and the church’s leadership. The church later agreed to pray about sharing space with the young congregation.  


The Church at Union Park first shared a room in the building. As Life Chapel’s congregation grew, the host church shared their sanctuary in the afternoon. 


Inside that building, God’s people worship on Sundays and gather for prayer meetings, Bible studies and ministry to men, women and children. They also plan mission trips every year. 


Related: With 2:10 Focus coaching from Converge, your church can develop a missions strategy. 



The church also prioritizes service to married couples because of significant cultural differences as married couples relocate to America. 


“If we’re going to grow spiritually, we have to create some avenues,” Martor said. 


Life Chapel International’s solid faith is already multiplying disciples around the world. Along with planting a church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, they’ve started nine churches in Liberia, a middle school for underprivileged children in Liberia and four churches in a refugee camp in Guinea. They’re praying for God’s help with starting a new church in Quad City, Iowa. 


For all their struggles and unique traits, all those churches share much in common across two continents and several national and state borders. But they have a critical quality in common: the message of Christ. 


That’s what overcomes division in Des Moines — the gospel preached and practiced in local congregations. It is the power that transforms unbelievers everywhere into Christ followers. 


“Wherever I could see people, I was willing to plant churches,” Martor said. “If we can plant more churches, we can save more souls.” 


Converge's 10 districts have committed to deploying 312 church planters before 2026. Read more inspiring church planting stories and learn about the goal to send out 312 church planters in five years.

Ben Greene, Pastor & writer

Ben Greene is a freelance writer and pastor currently living in Massachusetts. Along with his ministry experience, he has served as a full-time writer for the Associated Press and in the newspaper industry.

Additional articles by Ben Greene