I have dreamed of this for almost 10 years now. Dreamed of the people who would come, the kids who would run around our children’s ministry, dreamed of the hands raised in worship, and the joy shared within the text of Scripture. For nearly a decade now, I couldn’t wait to get to this time. And now it’s here and I am overwhelmed by God’s provision and mercy.
So a couple of weeks into our soft-launch, here are the things I know about Story Christian Church. First, we are a group of people who really want to know and worship Christ. Second, our new families are buying into our vision and excited about the work in Aubrey. Lastly, this is more difficult than I had ever dreamed.
As a believer, I know that there is an Evil One who is actively working against the Church, but I have experienced his attempted advances over the last month more than any other time in my ministry. From spoiled details, to technological frustrations, to sickness it is evident that there are forces opposed to Story Christian Church launching in Aubrey. It’s with that opposition that I have relearned some basic truths of church planting, reinforced with tangible experiences.
First, I have to rely on God’s power supplied and not my own.
I have skills (know that I am saying this from a month of being humbled). I have musical talents, I am a capable preacher, I enjoy leading teams, and I have ministry experience from which to pull. All that being said, I have been reminded over-and-over again that church planting is primarily spiritual and not just strategic. Paul said it in Ephesians 6, our battle is not against things we can see and touch but against evil. I have found myself being consumed by my to-do list and vision to the point that I forget that I am not able to plant this church apart from Christ. Leading from humble connection to Christ is the only way to truly succeed for the Kingdom.
Second, I have to rely on the team God has given me.
Having a launch team is not about filling a ministry schedule. It’s not about having bodies to lift speakers and drapes. It’s about planting a church together. The people on my launch team are just as called to Story as I am. Our first Sunday was amazing, but only because God has given us an amazing team! That morning I could barely walk and ended up in the ER with pneumonia right after our gathering. If it had not been for the team around me, our launch would have been a major flop. I am so grateful for their devotion to the Kingdom and the vision God has given us.
Finally, I have to rely on the stories of God leading us to this point.
-God supplied what we lacked in fundraising our first Sunday back in DFW.
– The beautiful wedding venue we gather in had been waiting for a church to start meeting in their facility.
– Story Christian Church has been and will be used in all Aubrey events in partnership with the city leadership.
I could keep going, but this is a short list of the things God has worked out for Story. While praying through some of the problems we are facing, God gently reminded me that he has already been at work for Story and that his work is not in vain. I know that we all, who have planted churches, have similar stories. When things get tough, it is these testimonies that will encourage and sustain us for the Kingdom.
I know some of us might be thinking that these are obvious lessons. Well, yes. They are. But this is what the Lord is confirming in my heart in this soft-launch process. I am so excited to be part of God’s plan for Aubrey! He is working in our lives to change lives and I can’t wait to see what more He does in the years to come.