Monday, February 3, 2014

i am not a church planter

...but god decided that i'm supposed to help.

i'm a bit more introverted. i am great at hosting people at my place. but i'm not outgoing and someone who is going to go on that much of a limb.


so we moved recently. yes. we hitched up the penske truck and moved from the middle of the big city of dallas to a small town about an hour north of pittsburgh. lots of people asked us "why?", and we have different answers depending on who asked us. there were true answers, and then there were truer answers.

we may have told you that we moved for family. because we have linc, we wanted him to be closer to family, so we moved to be where my parents live. however, that doesn't explain why we left dallas, where chris' dad and stepmom and sister live. or why we didn't go to seattle, where chris' mom and stepdad and sister are.

we are thankful to have family here, especially since they have been a huge help in the transition, but that's not the only reason we moved. we have felt a calling to help with a church plant somewhere in the east coast, and after a lot of prayer and research, we found where we were supposed to be. chris and i recently ended up as part of the launch team for advance community church in gibsonia, pa. the vision of the church is to build gospel-spreading churches along the route 8 corridor, from pittsburgh to butler, pa. currently, the hope is to have a launch scheduled for fall of 2014, using the people who are a part of boot camp and the launch team now.

i can't begin to tell you what god has done in my heart in the (almost) two months that i've been here, especially with my heart for this church. i came from the village church in dallas, a pretty big church - there would regularly be 2000+ people in attendance at our campus, and there were three other campuses at the time i attended. at ACC? there are about 30 adults and 25 kids. honestly, that's the same size as my home group in dallas. everything is so different than what i'm used to.

i get a little nervous in front of new people. chris is the opposite. he runs out and greets people he doesn't know with a smile and a handshake. he schedules coffee dates with the guys. i wait. i do great one-on-one, but i hesitate in larger groups. i still carry unnecessary baggage, and need to preach the gospel to myself more in situations like that. so even though this is a smaller group, they know each other well - and they all know the same people. i don't know them, or the people they know. i don't live in the neighborhood. so i feel a bit like an outsider. but i try. i'm having dinner with gals, with couples in the church.

and my heart.

oh, my heart. it's beautiful. my heart is unreserved during worship. my heart wants to hug the woman who watches linc during the message. my heart is thankful for the launch team full of musicians. my heart is thankful for my husband's outgoing personality, because it means new connection. my heart longs for accountability and girlfriends in the area.

my heart, like the heart of this group, wants to see the gospel spread in an area that is often forgotten by missionaries. the northeast is much like europe. people assume that the gospel runs rampant here, because it's in america, because it's considered cultured and rich and old. but that's not the case. like the south, there are so many "cultural" christians. there are people who were baptized as children and who go through the motions without having a relationship with god. there are people here who need to hear the gospel, and it warms my heart to see that message in the launch team, with people as diverse in age as an extended family, and likely quite diverse in their church background.

there will be more news from this angle. i'm excited for what's happening in this launch team.

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