One day last week I was rummaging through my word documents looking for I-can’t-remember-what and I stumbled across the minutes of a church leadership team meeting dated July 21, 2008. Taking the minutes was not my usual responsibility, yet (obviously) this particular meeting must have been an exception.
Out of curiosity I opened the document to see what sorts of things we were discussing that night nearly a year ago. What I found was the record of our naming our church and the final draft of our mission statement.
A meeting I well remember, the five of us who comprised the leadership team gathered around the dining room table at one of the member’s homes brainstorming possible church names, some of which were pretty silly. We drafted lists, we made phone calls seeking input, we discussed, we deleted, and finally we chose.
And celebrated with milkshakes and a quick email announcement to our fellow planters.
Not too long ago I was wearing one of our church tee shirts and, as I caught a passing glance of our church’s name and logo in my reflection in a mirror, I experienced one of those “oh my word” heart stopping moments as I realized the full import of what we had done and are doing. We named a church. On a summer night sitting around somebody’s dining room table. Not only did we name it but we started it. A church. From scratch.
Browsing through the Lisa writes archives, I revisited my thoughts as I posted them last summer. It’s funny; I thought (I feared) at the time that perhaps I was writing too much. Now I wish I had written more. Not because I want to relive all the yuck but because I want to remember. Last summer and all that transpired resulting in our church plant–it marked me. Profoundly. I don’t want to go through it again but I don’t want to forget.
I love my church family. I wish I could find the words to express how grateful I am that the Lord in His sovereignty brought me–us–here, to this. I would never have chosen this path on my own. Never. Only the Lord. Only Him. Only His grace. I am so thankful I am a part of this church body. I am so glad the Lord drew me and led me here. Some Sundays my heart is so full I could nearly cry. Maybe some Sundays I do.
One Sunday I did, cry that is. We had just left church, not ours but another, and I realized afresh the Lord’s grace and mercy in allowing us to serve Him here. I wept as an awareness of His faithfulness despite me overwhelmed and humbled me…
I want to be clear: my gratitude does not stem from some warped sense of relief at no longer being a part of my former church. I’ve said it before, I will say it again: leaving our former church is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It broke my heart. But here’s my testimony: the Lord is faithful and He works all things for our good and His glory. He provides in ways unimaginable. His grace sustains even when His will demands we do what is hard and painful.
So where are we now? As we approach a year since we first began meeting together and almost six months since we chartered, we are still in process of organizing and implementing and making sure what we do is Biblical and gospel driven. Church as we know it is not about stained glass, a playground or a gym, guitar and drums, or even Wednesday night suppers–as we have none of those things. The gospel is boldly proclaimed weekly from the pulpit, in Sunday school and through community group classes. We’ve elected elders so my stint on the leadership team has now passed. Our fellowship has had some difficulties (what fellowship doesn’t?) but still we enjoy a sense of unity and commonality, the gracious favor of our Lord. We are family.
To God be the glory, great things He hath done.