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 are 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 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
Chad and Marsha Halbach 2021 at restaurant_edited.jpg

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!

Operations 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 and began handling operations in January of 2021.


Suzi is married to Tom, lead pastor of Iowa City Church, and have two children who are off on their own adventures now. Tom is also a CEM Board of Director and both are available as a coaching team for CEM-connected churches.

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!