October 26, 2005
Dear Friends and Family,
“…The church…while they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.” (Acts 13:1-3)
The Lord has blessed us tremendously in these last 2½ months! One of the greatest blessings has come from the overwhelming encouragement of our home local church! I am so grateful to the Lord for the way First Baptist Church in West Memphis, AR has come behind Tracy and I in this church planting preparation effort! We are living in an Acts 13:1-3 type of blessing because of FBC’s love and support. To some, these days of preparation may seem unnecessary, but Oh how helpful they are! Here’s a snapshot of what the Lord has been doing in our life to prepare us to plant a new Bible-believing, Christ-exalting, church-planting church:
Preparation through travels: I’ve already been on four trips that have broadened my horizon and love for the church and church planting. First I was able to attend the Bethlehem Baptist Pastor’s Pray and Plan weekend in August where the Pastors of BBC spent time seeking the Lord and discussing relevant church matters. My desire for Pastoring was fueled by joining these men as we sought the Lord. Then, along with several other church planters from Bethlehem, I was able to attend the Acts 29 Church Planter’s Bootcamp in Dallas, TX. This event opened my eyes to a broader picture of what the Lord is doing across the nation through a church planting movement, and my passion to be part of a new movement of church-planting churches was increased. Also, I was invited on a brief trip to Chicago to visit with a Hispanic church planter and gleaned so many helpful insights. Seeing a model of a “multi-congregational” church drove me to pray more fervently for God to use me in a multicultural way for His glory! Finally, Tracy and I both attended a week of assessment in Wisconsin with the TeAmerica Church Planters Assessment Center. We were both so helped by the insights of these godly counselors as they showed us some of our specific strengths and weaknesses. Now, we can see more clearly the areas where the Lord has blessed us, and pray for grace to continue to improve in both our weak and strong areas. The Lord confirmed our calling through these assessors as they strongly encouraged us to continue pursuing and preparing for our church planting dreams!
Preparation through partners. I am so thankful that the Lord is not sending me out alone! We have prayed for a number of years with Bryan Smith and Nathan Sawyer about planting a church together. Thankfully the Lord has heard our prayers and confirmed to us that we are to partner together in this new work! The Smith’s and the Sawyer’s came and stayed with us for an entire week in early October. Our week together was visited by the Lord with His abundant grace and mercy as He fused our hearts together even more, and allowed us to make significant progress on the vision for the new church plant. Bryan will guide us more in the areas of administration, missions, and urban ministries. Nathan will guide us more in the areas of small group community, and leadership development. My role will primarily be preaching, vision for the work, and church-planter development. We are praying for the Lord to add a worship pastor to our leadership team. Join us by adding these men and their families to your prayer list!
A new way to stay updated! For those of you who would like to track our progress more frequently, and enjoy occasional devotional thoughts from our pastoral team, visit our web log (“Blog”) at http://solus-christus.blogspot.com
In Christ, John 3:30
TCT Church Planting Resident - Bethlehem Baptist Church
720 13th Ave S. - Minneapolis, MN 55415
firstname.lastname@example.org - (612)-338-7653 ext. 428