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At CEM, we passionately desire everyone to have the freedom to connect with God through His Son, Jesus Christ. The way we accomplish this is by starting new independent Christian churches founded in the Restoration Movement. We want people to understand God’s great love for them, and consequently find freedom in Christ.  

Why Do We Exist?


The population of Iowa is currently over three million people with only 120 independent Restoration Movement Christian Churches. We need to plant churches in our big cities and suburbs. For example, in the Greater Des Moines area, only 1 in 10 people go to any kind of church of a population of about 600,000. We also need to start new churches in the country. One-third of our state population (3 million) live in small towns of less than 2,000 people. That is one million people scattered in rural areas. People in Iowa need Jesus.


How Resources Are Used


Since 1957, CEM has a proven track record of starting new independent Christian churches. Our Board of Directors is voluntary so that all monetary gifts given to CEM go toward the church planting process. CEM directors invest in church planting opportunities by making new relationships with pastors and church leaders and building upon our existing relationships. They are available to churches for encouragement and leadership training.


We also encourage and follow up with our new church planters and invest in recruiting potential planters. Our church planters’ full salaries are paid by CEM for a minimum of two years. This period gives them time to build the new church's internal structure and funding for the church to take over future financial responsibility.


To see a list of churches CEM has planted over the years, click here.

Meet the CEM Staff

CEM Executive Director, Chad Halbach
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Over the last two decades, Chad Halbach has been an innovator in ministry. First, Chad served as Director of Marketing at Lincoln Christian University (Lincoln, IL), then as a church planter and founding pastor of White Water Christian Church (Laramie, WY). Chad, most recently, served as Webster City Church of Christ’s Lead Pastor. Chad brings a depth of experience and knowledge to CEM, both as a church planter and a ministry leader.

In addition to his rich ministry experience, Chad is married to his high school sweetheart, Marsha, and the father of six bright and beautiful children. The family enjoys traveling and exploring, skiing, reading, riding motorcycles, and working on projects together. They believe that Jesus is the only answer for a lost and hurting world and that, amazingly enough, that plan includes us. The Halbachs believe we are all active participants in ministry and need to be ready to go where Christ leads!

Development Director, Suzi Steele

With a life mission to empower others for transformational ministry, Suzi’s 25+ years of experience in church ministry, discipleship, and nonprofit leadership help her invest in people and organizations for God-sized missions. Suzi specializes in nonprofit management in organizational systems, operations, funding development, and people-centered communications/marketing. Suzi joined the CEM staff in 2019 as their first Director of Development. She currently serves in this role part-time, and also serves as an operations director with a church-health organization out-of-state.


Suzi is married to Tom, lead pastor of Iowa City Church and CEM Board President. They have two adult children who are off on their own adventures out West, now in grad school and college. Their new adventure? Empty nesting while serving the God they love.

Communications Director, Andrea Dempster
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Andrea loves teaching, serving, and leading wherever God calls. Since meeting Jesus 10 years ago, Andrea has led discipleship groups, served in children's ministry, and organized community outreach events. She is passionate about supporting churches as they grow and serve their communities. She knows the importance of connecting people and helping them develop their God-given gifts and talents for His glory. Andrea believes that everyone plays a key role in Kingdom ministry within their local church and is excited to use her expertise to serve churches and communities with CEM.

Andrea, her husband Todd, and four children live near Le Mars, Iowa. They enjoy riding motorcycles, camping, target shooting, reading, and spending time at the lake. In her spare time, Andrea enjoys gardening, baking, and garage sales and would love to grab coffee with you and chat about how Jesus has changed her life.

Administrative Assistant, Elizabeth Miller
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Elizabeth Miller is a young mom who has a heart for helping people. She spent her childhood and young adulthood being deeply involved in different churches with her family and is now settling into a new home church in Le Mars, Iowa. She is passionate about reaching new and long-term believers through family and children's ministries. Being raised in a church plant, Elizabeth prioritizes using new and innovative ways to support and encourage new believers in their walk with Christ.

Elizabeth married her high school sweetheart Anthony in 2020 and they welcomed their first child in May. The Millers enjoy playing board games, kayaking, taking walks with their dog, spending time with family, and baking/cooking together. Elizabeth is happy to grab a coffee, have a phone conversation, or take a walk to talk about CEM or faith anytime!

Where Do You Fit In?

 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. John 4:34-36


Both sower and reaper get to celebrate together because God uses their hard work to bring in the harvest. If you haven’t yet joined the work God has called CEM to do, please consider becoming a supporter through your prayers and financial gifts.


Visit our Donate page to see all the ways you can support this vital ministry!

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