Most church planters ask themselves this question. "What was I thinking when I took the step of faith to plant a new church?" Church planting is just hard...period. At times over the past couple of months I have asked myself that same question. There is so much to do. At times I find myself absolutely overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. And then, God gently reminds me of who He really is and He alone does what only He can do.
Today at Hope Fellowship, God overwhelmed me.
This morning was the first time our young congregation participated together in communion. I borrowed an idea for communion that has been used by countless youth groups. We set up seven different stations on the outer perimeter of the gym at Rock Spring Elementary where we meet. Our church body was divided into six groups and rotated from station to station. At each station, a volunteer leader read scripture and challenged participants to reflect on the power of the Gospel.
The stations themes were:
1- Crown of thorns (participants hold and examine an actual crown of thorns)
2- Bitter vinegar (dip a q-tip in a cup of vinegar and taste the bitterness)
3- Cross and nails (drive a nail into a cross)
4- Temple veil torn (participants take small pieces of cloth and rip apart)
5- He knows my name (write name on poster and focus on our name recorded in book of life)
6- Roll dice (consider how Roman soldiers cast lots for Christ's robe and possessions)
Each of these stations included scripture/prayer/quiet meditation.
We then transitioned into communion. No traditional sermon today.
We remembered Jesus Christ and His sacrifice as we are instructed to do in the New Testament.
The final station after communion involved the simple reminder that Jesus is the light of the world and that each of us who follow Him are called to be that same light. Everyone was invited to light a small candle from a large pillar candle on a table at the front of our stage.
All of this led to the most important part of today's worship service. The invitation to respond to Jesus Christ. This is where we find hope. This is why I do what God has called me to do. This morning 7 people surrendered their life to Jesus! Forever changed.
I have quickly learned as a new church planter that the hard work, the challenges, the spiritual warfare, the times of being completely overwhelmed, are all 100% overcome by the power of Jesus Christ and what He accomplished at Calvary.
Thank you Jesus for today. Thank you for the wonderful gift of new life that I have personally experienced and thank you that 6 of my friends experienced that gift this morning.
What was I thinking when I took this step of faith to start a new church? I'm still processing all of that. I do however know that the fruit of our labor (family, friends, core group) when obedient to Christ is unstoppable! To Jesus be all glory.