My, my where to start.
This past weekend, Etta and I attended the Church Planters’ Orientation with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. Talk about a roller coaster. Friday night we wanted to quit. We once again had to go back to our call and, emotionally, start all over. We saw everything we are not at the orientation on Friday. Saturday was a little better. We realized the mistakes we have made and what we have to do. We also realized that we didn’t know what we were doing. We now have some direction and a coach assigned by the SBTC. We left, if not exactly encouraged, then hopeful. I can say that today I’m excited and pumped.
We’ve had to greatly rethink what we are doing. Our lease is up in June at the apartment and the decision has to be made about what to do with it. One of the first things we realized, and this dawned on us even before the orientation, is that we are in an apartment trying to start a subdivision church. We lost sight of our focus. Our calling is to Summerwood. By renting the apartment, our focus narrowed. We have now broadened our focus again. It includes the apartment, but is not limited to it.
Don’t get me wrong – we were called to the apartment. We believe we were absolutely in God’s will in getting it. If we see no other fruit from it, we have Kendra, an excited, dynamic member of our leadership team. This was no waste. We still have 4 months to continue outreach in the apartment community. The reality is, however, that the people living in houses are not likely to cross the gate to attend church in an apartment. However, apartment dwellers will go into the subdivisions to attend church. We had to adjust our focus.
That leads to the most major change and a BIG prayer need. We feel strongly that God is telling us to move to Summerwood. This will require a succession of minor miracles followed by a couple of major ones—no problem if it is truly God’s will. A major headache if it isn’t. I feel like He is telling us to move by June.
The second big change is a change of name for our church. Summerlake is too regional and we want something to reflect our vision and to be meaningful for a non-Christian who is looking for answers. We are working on a number of possibilities.
I am excited. I get a lump in my throat every time I think about what God has called us to do and how he has renewed our passion for it. I was unaware of how much my passion had waned. Confession time: I think a small, unknown part of me did just enough so that when the church plant failed, I could say I tried. I wouldn’t be blamed for the failure. I could it was a lack of a large financially sponsoring church. Or it was a hard area. Or it was this or that. In reality, it was me being discouraged that it didn’t go the way I wanted it so I would pout and show God. I’d blame Him.
No more. We are called. It will be hard. We will push through. Our verse for last night’s gathering was Deuteronomy 9:23. Moses told the people that God had already given the Promised Land to them; they merely had to take it. They rebelled. They lost the promise for 40 years. I don’t want to wander. God has told us to take Summerwood, so we’re going to take Summerwood. The obstacles are merely opportunities to point to the sovereignty and strength of our Father. But we will not miss out on the blessing of this promised church because we are stubborn or proud. We are on mission. Join us or get out of the way.
We have a top 6 prayer list this week. This what the leadership team is praying for and we ask you to join us on these specifics.
1. People of Summerwood: for soft hearts, receptivity, recognition of need, excitement about a new church
2. A prayer need that I can’t share publicly, but need you to lift up. God knows.
3. Saturday Pancake Brunch (Feb 14th): 125 people to come to breakfast, 25 0pportunities to share the gospel
4. Our timeline for the plant: this includes the first Sunday (Launch Service) we have a worship service (Sept 13 or Feb 14), all those steps that need to be taken to get to the first service
5. New name: reflects vision, meaningful to lost
6. Our move to Summerwood: all the many steps needed to get us there, including teaching jobs for me and Etta in the community of Summerwood
Please lift us up at every remembrance. Thank you for your love, prayers, and support.
This is getting good.