A little over one year ago, we did something we’d never expected to do, and began planting a church here in east Kent. You can read about that here…
Back then, we thought that a year later we’d be writing about how much God has done since that moment.
And indeed, he has done a lot – but not necessarily what we thought he’d do!
So here are some reflections on our first year of this incredible adventure:
We have learned a lot more about what church is about.
Do you know the Matt Redman song that starts: “when the music fades, all is stripped away, and I simply come”?
Happily there’s no danger of the music fading in our house, but we have learned what it is to live church when everything has been stripped away. When it’s not about a catch up with your mates, it’s not about feeling useful or part of something, and it’s not about the warm fuzzy feeling you get when lots of people around you are worshipping.
We’ve found the presence of God in the most unlikely of locations, when we are in the most discouraged of moods, and when it’s been just us – tired, cranky and doing our best to be faithful. And his presence has been all the more wonderful for it, because it’s nothing to do with us or the environment we’re in. It’s been all about him, and it’s been pure and amazing.
We have had our thinking changed by His word.
It took us nine months to go through Romans 8. Nine whole months! No, it didn’t get boring. It got amazing. Every week we heard John Piper unpack the chapter verse by verse, word by word. Now, every conversation about anything tough in life always comes back to Romans 8 for us. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) His words help us peacefully entrust him with the things that scare us and respond in godly confidence to the big life-shaking questions the world around asks us.
We have had such joys!
Parents, if you want to see your children grow in their relationship with the Lord, church plant! Our big fear when we began this adventure was that being out of a big church would damage our children’s faith. How wrong we were, and how faithful God has been to them.
We have tough times too!
Church planting isn’t easy, it can sometimes be quite lonely and things haven’t always gone the way we planned. It’s still just us as a family at the moment and it can get very tiring leading worship and preparing a talk each week. It would be very easy to just dial things back and take the easy route but we’re committed to not simply being Christians but Christians who are part of a local church which reflects the church seen in the New Testament.
We have learned how weak we are
As tough and frustrating as it’s been for God to have not given us lots of people a year ago, we can see God’s wisdom in it. It would have been too easy for us to have become self-reliant and confident in our abilities. Now, we know only he will make this church a reality, and we are fully ready in our hearts to serve him faithfully in whatever and whoever he chooses for it.
So – what will next year’s anniversary blog look like? This time, we know that we really don’t know. But we know he who called is faithful – and that all things will work together for good.
Now that’s exciting!
Has God been challenging you, too, on stepping out of your comfort zones? If you are interested in exploring more about this church plant, feel free to get in touch with us.