Our church will officially turn 7 years old in November. In that time, God has done more amazing things, personally and corporately, than I could ever possibly list–and those are only the ones I know about! There are countless attacks God has protected us from, mistakes he has turned us from, and decisions he has stopped us from. By grace and power, Jesus has built his church despite us.
From the beginning, we intended to be a church planting church. Even as we were planted ourselves, we supported church planters locally and internationally. We have always intended for our core values, especially church planting, to extend beyond words on a piece of paper. We learned rather quickly, that a commitment to church planting never fails to inspire the same kinds of curious, or down right critical, questions that parents of more than 2.5 children (and less than 2.5 dogs) probably experience regularly. Not to be discouraged, after 5 years of building Damascus Road Church, we planted our first church in 2011, Communion Church in Mount Vernon, WA. The entire experience was exciting and terrifying all at the same time. There was much sacrifice and, when all was said and launched, there were many tears of joy and even more tears of loss. According to Acts 20, perhaps this is “normal”. The entire experience was painful and exhausting but, like giving birth to a child, the reward was deeply satisfying. It took us all several months to heal, at times it felt like some kind of postpartum had set in. It was too soon to even think about having another “baby”. But we knew that a decision to not plant any more churches can be just as unfaithful as a reckless commitment to plant many more churches. We learned that sometimes the most faithful thing to do is rest–and so we did—for two years. All the while we knew that the “Bride’s body” is designed to reproduce–it was not a matter of IF but WHEN. So, within a year after launching Communion Church, the elders found themselves discussing and praying about where God might have us go next.
It has been over two years, and we are on the cusp of launching a new church again. Truth we told, we launched a church into another city nearly 6 months ago. Our launch has been “soft”, meaning, we have avoided the pains that “normal” church planting entails. But over the next month, we plan to make changes I expect will prove painfully rewarding like before.
So, for the next couple of weeks, I am plan to blog about church planting. We will journey through the book of Acts (focusing on chapters 13-16) that we might understand exactly how the disciples understood Jesus’ Great Commission. By the time we get to our June 18th Family Meeting, I hope our church has a firm grasp on why churches should plant churches, and how.
Overall, I plan to write at least once a day in order to complete the following 10 blogs “On Church Planting”. The topics are as follows:
- The Command to Go: Luke 1; 44.-49; Acts 1.1-8
- The Power Behind It ALL: Acts 2
- The Missionaries to Send: Acts 2, 13.104; 15.39.40
- The People to Reach: Acts 2, 13.14-16
- The Gospel: Acts 2; 13.17-41; 16.31
- The Conversion of Unbelievers: Acts 2; 13.48; 16.14-15
- The Gathering of the Disciples: Acts 2; 13.43
- The Building of Disciples: Acts 14.21-22; 15.41
- The Leaders Chosen: Acts 14.23; Acts 20
- The Networking: Acts 14.26-27; 15.1-4; 15.36; 18.23
The above Scriptures are subject to change. The series will end with a summary of the entire cycle of church planting. I trust that reading all of the blogs will give everyone clarity on where we have been as a church, where we are, where we are going, and why.