This week has been amazing! There have been highs, lows, laughter, crying, affirmation, doubts. Name an emotion....I think we've experienced them all this week. Tonight, I am reflecting on the first HOPE FELLOWSHIP corporate worship service that took place this morning at Rock Springs Elementary. There has been much prayer this week. Friends here in Tennessee and literally around the globe have prayed. We are THANKFUL for your prayers! Please keep praying that we will effectively and intentionally share the Gospel and keep Jesus Christ and His Kingdom first.
Over the years I have talked to dozens of church planters. For the most part they all say the same thing. You often hear, "It's the hardest thing I've ever done". They say, "You better be sure that God has clearly called you to church planting." But most of them also say, "It's the most rewarding and fulfilling thing I have ever done." After six months of "house church" on Sunday nights and week one of Sunday morning corporate worship, I think I have seen a small glimpse of what those who have gone before me have referenced.
Today was pretty awesome! I realize that my emotions are all over the place right now and not everyone who attended HOPE FELLOWSHIP may feel the same way. Here is what I know. Jesus Christ and His Kingdom were our focus. Not much frill or fluff today. Not extremely polished. But we had corporate worship. We reflected on the importance of preparing our hearts for worship. We sang four songs. (Glory to God / How Great Thou Art / Fill Me Up / Here I Am to Worship) Thank you Greg and band! We were silent before God as we reflected on scripture. I started a series in the book of Nehemiah and today preached from chapter one. We prayed together and we gave tithes and offerings as an act of worship.
We had four Sunday school classes. Preschool/K-5/Youth/Adults. These groups met at 9:00. I am thankful for volunteers who made Bible study happen this morning!
Some of the funny stuff from today that makes me smile...
-Most often asked question - "Where are the donuts" (We just had coffee)
-Favorite quote from a core group member this afternoon, "I haven't been this excited since I got my first Camaro when I was 16".
-When referencing Hell's Kitchen TV show in my sermon I said "H - E - double hockey stick" instead of saying "Hell". Not sure why I did that? It just came out that way.
-Having youth Sunday school in the cafeteria where all the walls are BIG windows by the main entrance is probably not the best idea. I should have known better! Duh.
For those of you who are number people, here you go! We had 87 today. The offering was just over $1900.00. I put this last on purpose. My personal tendency is to think that attendance is based on my performance as a leader and pastor. I don't want to go there right now.
In summary, I was overwhelmed (in a good way) with everything about today!
Great is His faithfulness.
Giving Jesus Christ all GLORY tonight!
Monday, February 14, 2011
Where do I begin? Seriously! Maybe this will give you an idea. We knew we were too busy to send Christmas cards this year so we made "Happy New Year" cards. Yep....still have not mailed them. It's Valentine's Day for crying out loud! Anyway. There is so much I could say but the main thing I want to do is to ask you to PRAY! For about five or six years I have personally felt God calling me to pastor and more specifically to start a new church. Back in July we asked a few close friends to pray with us about this. God gave us much affirmation during that time and that small prayer group developed into a small Bible study group. For the past six months, we basically have hosted a "house church" at The Shingleton Casa every Sunday night. The time together has been really rewarding. A few in the group are friends we have known for many years, but most in the group are newer friends. God has uniquely put together this team so that we might proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and plant a new church in Tennessee.
If you are one of those people who are saying right now, "like do we really need another church in Middle TN?", and I know some of you are thinking that, I will save the response to that question for a later date.
Fast forward to this week!
The reason we are asking for your prayer support is because this Sunday, February 20th, 2011 we will gather for the first HOPE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH Sunday morning worship service. This is honestly one of the most exciting and at the same time overwhelming things I have ever trusted God in! We don't have it all figured out....we just know that it is time.
Our idea is pretty simple. Bible study a.k.a. "Sunday School" at 9:00 and a worship service at 10:15. I would say that our first month at Rock Springs Elementary will be operating under the banner "less is more" - haha. But here is the TRUTH! With the power of prayer and a group of people who are obedient to God's call on their lives, Jesus Christ and His Kingdom will be honored.
You will have questions like.....so Kent, is this church Southern Baptist? Answer: YES
What about your ministry at the TBC? Answer: I have graciously been given permission to work full time at the TBC for now and be a "bi-vocational" church planter. I will need to make a decision about that status later this year.
So here we go. The web site is not even up yet. How awesome is that! I guess you could say right now we are kickin' it old school style.
For those of you who read this blog and live in Middle TN and are not active in a church....honestly, probably like 2 people, yeah, you are invited to worship with us!
This Sunday, February 20th - Rock Springs Elementary
1000 Waldron Road La Vergne, TN 37086
(two miles south on Waldron Road / La Vergne exit #64 off of I-24)
(if you live in Smyrna - take Sam Ridley until it dead ends into Blair. Right on Blair, left on Waldron to the school)
I want to take a minute now to praise Jesus Christ for what He has already done.
God has shown Himself as PROVIDER! Here are just a few of the miraculous things we are thankful for: Sound system for worship - 100% donated, Liability Insurance needed to meet in a public school - 100% donated, Rock Springs Elementary becoming available at just the right time with a gracious rental fee - 100% awesome, Logo design/Web site design/Promo design - 100% donated, Enclosed trailer loaned to us, Music stands and kids curriculum donated - A team of volunteer leaders willing to take this leap of faith with our family - 100% amazing.
I am humbled to be on this journey! If you would like a daily prayer guide that we are using this week as we pray together, simply respond to this blog post and we will email you a copy.
The family.....we are blessed. Shawnah has a new part-time job at Chico's, Jared is working at Blue Coast and in college, Maci praying about where to go to college, Molly is sweet 16 and has her driver's permit, and Sarah has now been full time in our home for 14 months. Yesterday was the two year anniversary of her mom's death.
We love you guys! God bless, Kent