Saturday, August 14, 2010
Well, things are starting to heat up for our church plant. This next week our staff will be down at what I affectionately call "the mother ship" for a week of training. We will be at the Elgin campus and are meeting with just about everyone on their staff. We will be discussing everything from worship music to high impact services to assimilation to children's programs. It almost looks to me like a mini-Harvest University that they are putting on for us - Harvest U was a week of training that we went to last April, but it is a huge conference. This will just be our staff - six of us in all.
Because of our experience within the Harvest system already, some of this will be familiar to us, but I see a few definite advantages that will come from this week. First, we will sit with a great support staff that is willing to answer questions and come alongside us as we get the ball rolling. I have done the church plant thing before without any type of support system in place outside of the 5 families who were planting, and I see this as a huge blessing.
Secondly, they will be sharing resources with us that will be priceless for our new church - evangelistic material, new believer's studies, small group material, children's lessons - the list goes on and on. They will be helping us put systems in place that will enable us to serve our community more efficiently and get the message of Christ out more succinctly. This is really not about a franchise that we are bringing to Spring Lake - it is about Jesus Christ. We are in the business of disciple-making - that's what this is all about, and any support or resources that will help us communicate this clearly and without apology is a blessing indeed.
And thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, I am hoping that this week of the staff being together, rolling up our sleeves and brainstorming, praying and studying, learning and decision-making, will be invaluable as a foundation for the future. Dave and I know these two couples pretty well, and the excitement over this plant is pretty overwhelming when we're all together, but we are also very sober about this calling. As we continue to battle the township issues for our permission to have the church at International Aid, I think the Lord is strengthening the shoulders of our three pastors and teaching them self-control, patience, faithfulness and contentment in the face of the unknown. This week should be our Engedi - a place of refreshment, as we immerse ourselves in the planning process and begin to flesh out just exactly what we need to do between now and the launch, as well as beyond that.
Oh, that leads me to another thing - we have a launch date. November 7th will be our first service. Lord-willing we will have our township battle wrapped up by then and will have begun the build out of the IA space, but whether or not we are still "battling," we have a temporary meeting place until all that is done. We will be launching at The Trillium, a banquet facility about 3 minutes away from IA. It is a perfect location, owned by a Christian family who has had two other church plants launch from their facility. The second church just got their own building and we were offered the space to have our services there until our permanent residence is done. This is a long story, but just another example of God's provision through this time of preparation.
So, all of this to say, please pray for the team during this week of planning and preparation. I am excited about it, as I hope you can tell, and I am taking my laptop so that I can check in with you all.
Have a great week!