Monday, September 24, 2012

Church Planting & Window Watching

If you've kept up with Ryan and I over the past couple months, you probably know that we are a part of a church plant called Harvest Bible Chapel. For several months in the early spring, we had been wrestling with some things with our previous church and eventually decided the best thing to do was to leave and start the church hunting process. Again. It was a hard decision for us, since we had made several great connections with some people and staff there. After Googling what seemed like every church in a 30 mile radius of Fairfax and visiting a couple, we came up empty handed. What? There are LOTS of churches in Northern Virginia, and we couldn't find just one to plug into? We were frustrated and confused. We did know that Jesus calls us to be a part of the local church. So, we kept going.

The long-story-short version is that we found our church home in a church that didn't even exist yet. Through Twitter. Thank you social media. We've now been a part of a small team of a handful of families to help build up Harvest in Fairfax that just launched in the beginning of September. It has been a blessing to be a part of, but boy has it been a lot of work. I have a new respect for just how much work it takes to run a Sunday service. And right now, we're a bare bones version compared to some other local churches that have countless ministries that go on every Sunday. I also feel terrible for being a "bystander" for so many years. The truth is, I never really got plugged into a church until I graduated college. Sure I went, but I never served. I was strictly there to get fed and to evaluate how they did this and that. I was not a part of a local church, I was the window watcher and because of that, I missed out on really being a part of the church. So much of my mindset towards church was what was the church going to do and offer me, when it really should have been the other way around.

After jumping into facets of ministry I said to myself that I could never do, having to step out of my comfort zone and putting my "needs" and wants aside, I've found church planting to be both immensely rewarding and simultaneously exhausting. Sure we're the only couple without kids, we're the youngest and least experienced in life and we're in a completely different phase of life than most, but it's in those things that the Lord has chosen to use us and bless us beyond those differences. I've actually really enjoyed being around lots of kids, learning from those who are older and more established, and most of all serving under the same purpose.

The truth about church planting is that bottom-line it's not easy. There might be personality difference, you'll almost definitely do things that will stretch you, and Sunday will be a much longer commitment than your hour to an hour and a half service. My pastor, Dan always quotes Matthew 16:18 where Jesus says, "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Jesus will build his church regardless of bystanders and window watchers, like I was. But there is a greater joy that we can freely partake in by being a part of the building and serving of His church. I'm so thankful for the opportunity to use my gifts for a purpose greater and bigger than me and that the Lord changed my heart, the heart of a bystander.

From our first launch team meeting!

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