Below you will find West Valley church plant’s July newsletter… sorry to those who also received emails with the pdf version (and you came here for something creative to read – not today!). – Jim
west valley PCA church plant – lehigh valley PA
a historic place ∙ a new place.
a historic Church ∙ a new church.
The above duality adequately describes the nature of our church planting context in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania. Our target area is both historic and new, from the gentrifying ‘buy local’ Borough of Emmaus (settled in the 1740s) to the suburban sprawl of Lower Macungie Township, the fastest growing municipality in the Commonwealth of PA in 2005-2006.
How do we faithfully and relevantly contextualize the gospel in such a place as this?
We believe it can only be through the historic Church – the very “dwelling place of God by his Spirit” – being incarnated as a new church, a new community of broken-but-redeemed, weak-but-strengthened people who contagiously communicate and celebrate Jesus Christ as their only hope. Just as the apostle Paul confirmed the new status of the Ephesian church, we believe that we – 40 adults and 40 children from Cornerstone PCA in Coopersburg PA – are “being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit”(Ephes. 2:22). That dwelling place is a new church plant. More particularly, it is a church in the west valley of the Lehigh Valley. God is birthing West Valley Presbyterian Church (PCA).
Much has happened since we have corresponded with many of you:
1. We have incorporated as West Valley Presbyterian Church, Inc.
2. We have travelled from Chicago, IL to Florence and Columbia, SC fundraising and visiting friends and speaking at churches.
3. We have vacationed, trying to manufacture the calm before the storm (Lina, Kori and her dad, Doug/‘papa’, biked across Georgia – not exactly rest).
4. We have “gone to the mountain” with other West Valley church-planters to seek the Lord’s vision for West Valley PCA, and are in the process of honing and owning that vision now.
5. We have found a local artist for logo and web design.
6. We have begun regularly gathering on Sunday evenings for ‘prayer/planning’ – eighty adults and children prepping for a Fall public launch, Lord willing.
7. We have continued to probe our target area for a place of worship that will be accessible, functional, strategic and aesthetically apropos for the purpose of beautiful, God exalting worship.
8. We have an office, thanks to numerous hands and feet (and sweaty brows) that worked to ‘flip’ our Main Street space – where we anticipate being a gospel-incarnating blessing to our community for years to come.
9. We have begun cutting the umbilical cord, as my duties at Cornerstone are tapering off so that I might focus on West Valley. Thanks be to God for giving CPC a vision to release people for the extension of Christ’s kingdom!
10. We are resting on the power of Christ to extend his kingdom and build his church amidst our weakness and brokenness, even as we are struck by the lengths Satan has gone in effort to undo us.
1. Pray for a hedge of gospel-protection around Kori and myself (our marriage), and on Lina, Meggie and Nate (our parenting) – as well as on the families who are launching out with us.
2. Pray for our vision/values/mission process as we are clarifying (by Word, Spirit and community) the identity that God would give us for his glory and for the West Valley. I look forward to sharing more acutely who we are in the next prayer letter.
3. Pray for a worship facility within the target area of Lower Macungie or Emmaus. Pray for wisdom as we network to discern options – whether churches, community centers, colleges, etc. Pray for a space and lease term that will provide us with consistency and flexibility.
4. Pray for our Sunday evening ‘prayer/planning’ meetings. Pray that God would grow us in unity and maturity. Pray that a culture of refreshing transparency and prayer will define us prior to our launch of public worship.
5. Pray for the children of the West Valley church planters. My children frequently ask, “Daddy, are we going to church with the same people but in a different building again?” “Yes girls, ‘cause the church is not the building”… yada yada yada preacher-man. Actually, with serious intentionality we are seeking to craft an environment where the 40+ children participate in the kingdom calling of their church-planting parents. From day one our children must be a centrality, not a casualty.
6. Pray for the formation of ministry teams – from Children, to Worship Arts, to Hospitality, to Community Groups, to Administration and Finances.
7. Pray for the formal establishment of a “provisional” session of elders (through presbytery). Rather than starting with our own elders, we will begin with oversight and accountability provided by a select group of presbyters – pastors and ruling elders from sister churches.
8. Pray for the “skeptics studies” that we intend to hold at our new church office in late July and August. Our hope is to provide a safe place for the un-churched and non-believing to engage and question a biblical worldview as it relates to their own presuppositions about life/God.
9. Pray for the budgeting process along with my continued fundraising, as we will be on our own as a church (living off of tithes/fundraised money) beginning September 1st. Pray for wisdom in forecasting the ministry opportunities of the year in light of anticipated local tithes and outside gifts.
10. Finally, please pray as Christ taught us:
Our Father in heaven,
thy Kingdom come in our West Valley as it is in heaven.
We are excitedly docile as we pray, knowing that this is the Lord’s work alone.
Our hype and strategies and zeal and winsomeness will not build Christ’s church.
He does not need us to bring his kingdom to the West Valley (Acts 17:25)! We are set free!
I will build my church
What a privilege of grace to get to participate in Christ’s work –
a work for which we ourselves are indebted
a work that our efforts cannot impede
a work that we cannot do alone
Confident in Christ and in you,
Tax-deductible contributions, send check to: Mission to North America, 1700 N Brown, Suite 101, Lawrenceville, GA 30043-8122 (write Jim Powell on memo) online debit/credit cards: https://processor.pcanet.org/mna/donationsII/donation.cfm under ‘church planters’ menu, select “Powell, Jim / West Valley”