Some of you who have started reading recently may think that weakness and the gospel are what this blog is all about. True and yet incomplete. It will pick up in the months to come, but this is also the place where I update YOU on progress toward the Lower Macungie/Emmaus (East Penn School District target area) church plant.
So here’s the catch up with a few add-ons:
The timing for launching actual worship services (the church is birthed) is still hoped for in Fall 2008. Sounds like a long way off – but that’s just when the life of the churchplant goes public. Conception has already occurred. What I mean is that the picking of a target area to pray over (East Penn SD of the Lehigh Valley) has already occurred. Meetings with other pastors in the area to share in a bigger kingdom dream with Christ-centered unity has already begun. Meetings with Lower Mac and Emmaus township managers has already begun to learn of germane community needs that we as a non-existent church can hope to address with the gospel when God forms us in his time. (Of course, due to last week’s local elections and the change in the Lower Mac city governement, I guess I need to start those meetings over).
In the months to come, here’s what’s up:
First, the session of Cornerstone PCA (the sending body) is seeking God’s face over the model of churchplant that we will be. Will we be a daughter church that some day becomes a sister church with no formal connection except a belly botton (sorry)? Will we be a multi-congregational church where we are actually (according to the PCA) one church with two functional congregations – where John Kinyon pastors the Center Valley congregation and I pastor the West Valley congregation? Please pray for the elders and John and me as we are in this key conversation/prayer stage.
Second, fundraising!!! We are not sure how much fundraising will be needed (because we are unsure who will be with us and what our vision will be for the early years), but surely there will be some. In order to help with the fundraising, Kori and I will be going to the PCA Churchplanting Assessment in Atlanta in February to be hopefully “assessed and approved” as called (though still weak and needy) church planters in the PCA. Then I will begin fundraising.
In the early Spring, I will begin looking for places to potentially worship come Fall 2008. Also, I (given the sessions approval) will begin seeking a “launch team” made up of those who have a common kingdom-affinity and who long to be committed to the plant. As the Spring progresses, that group will gather in prayer and vision consideration for the nature of the new church!
Come summer, we will probably have some “vision barbeque” or whatever you want to call them to introduce the ‘yet to publicly worship’ church to the community and our friends.
Then, come Fall, Lord willing we will be gathering on Sundays for worship!!!
So, what is far off is not so far away. It most certainly shouldn’t be far from the center of your and my hearts, if we would be a part of it together. If you are excited or interested – let me guide your actions and prayer:
1. Pray for a church plant that WILL fail unless God is the one driving it!
2. Pray for the Valley, specifically for God’s work in the hearts of west-siders.
3. Pray for other churches that are already declaring the kingdom-gospel – that they would be creatively faithful and fruitful!
4. Pray for the Cornerstone elders and John and Jim in this early ‘conception’ phase.
5. Pray for your family’s desire to be in a gospel-declaring church where we likewise live the gospel for the onlooking world by being a community that is transparent about our weakness and daily need for the gospel that has saved and sustains us.
6. Get in a small group on the West Side right now (via Cornerstone PCA, Center Valley PA), as we are already experiencing unity and excitement and a common vision for where God has called our families!
7. Pray for a church that is culturally relevant even as it is biblically faithful – a missional body in a broken world where the gospel alone is our ‘relevant tool’ for ministry!
8. Finally, pray that a church most certainly WOULD be formed in the building God wants it at the time he wants it with the kind of gospel DNA that he wants for it – even if it ends up being a church that you wouldn’t want to stay at due to any number of your personal preferences (I have to pray this prayer to!).
O God plant your church in your time in our place of life.