Relocation Leads to Planting Renew Church Cleveland

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Meet Pete Pinkowski, church planter

Nearly four years ago, BHITC and a collaboration of urban pastors and ministry leaders launched the Transform216 (T216) initiative to provide training and mentoring for future pastors and ministry catalysts. Dynamic, Jesus-loving leaders, such as Pete Pinkowski, a church planter shown here with his family, are the men BHITC supports through this effort. He spent a few minutes sharing with us about how God is at work in his life and the vision he has for leading people closer to Jesus.

BHITC: Tell us about you. Were you born and raised in Northeast Ohio? If not, where?

Pinkowski: Believe it or not, I grew up in the town (Hammond, Indiana) where ‘The Christmas Story’ is based on, although as you all know, it was actually filmed here in Cleveland! My wife, Robyn, and I, along with our two sons, recently moved from the Chicagoland area to plant a church in Cleveland. Prior to now, I had been involved in youth ministry for 10+ years.

BHITC: Describe the type of congregation you hope to see started. What do you hope it will be known for in the community?

Pinkowski: We desire to have a church that truly exhibits love – crazy, grace-filled love – where anyone and everyone feels welcome, no matter their social economics, demographics or beliefs. We believe people can belong long before they believe, and we want to be a place where the message of ‘Jesus is alive’ is proclaimed because we know when people meet Jesus, they are forever changed! We hope to make significant Gospel-centered impact in the neighborhood physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually. We also seek to have an incredible family ministry where kids love to come to church and be a place that preaches the transforming power of the Gospel.

BHITC: As you pray about the church plant you’ll lead, what is the Lord showing you in terms of ministry opportunities?

Pinkowski: Our ministry opportunities are in several areas – the first of which is to our neighbors. Many are spiritually, emotionally and relationally thirsty, and they are not connected to Jesus or the Church. We are already seeing God move in people’s hearts in significant ways through everyday interactions with our neighbors.

We also seek to bless and meet the needs of the school where we hold our worship services – Newton D. Baker School of the Arts – such as through school supplies, installing a free library and providing mulch and flowers. We serve the community of Kamm’s Corners by partnering with local business owners to help each other become better leaders.

We also see great value in ministry opportunities with faith-based organizations and other churches in the city. There is power in unity, and we know to reach a city, churches must break down walls.

BHITC: What will your process of engaging with the community look like? If others wanted to join your team, how could they get connected?

Pinkowski: We are engaging the community in two ways – social events such as neighborhood BBQs or community events and block parties. We also serve the community through events like an annual neighborhood clean-up for Kamm’s Corners.

We’d really love to have people join us at our preview services, which take place August 20 and September 17 at 10:00 am at Newton D. Baker School of the Arts, 3690 W. 159th St., Cleveland. Also, through upcoming neighborhood BBQs, on our launch team or other opportunities to serve. (See below for contact information.)

BHITC: What value has participating in T216 added to your ministry and sense of call to plant a new congregation in Cleveland?

Pinkowski: Wisdom, connections and love. The leaders and others have been a huge source of encouragement. Not only do these leaders understand church planting, but they also understand Cleveland, which is a huge benefit!

Want to do more? Contact Pete at (216) 815-5749 or Ladies can email Also, find Renew Church Cleveland at and on Facebook and Instagram.


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