Why are we planting a church? That’s a fair and valid question.
I know that I have wrestled with this question myself. But to me it has sounded a bit like these questions….
- “Why risk everything we have financially?”
- “Why put our extended family through the pain of us moving so far away?”
- “Why radically alter the trajectory of our kid’s future by moving them into a city and change almost everything about the culture around them?”
Each time I start to ask myself one of these questions; the answers always come back to the three reasons I wrote of here and in the form of faces.
- The face of a 73 year old man I baptized because for the first time in his life he understood God’s grace and Jesus’s love for him and wanted to respond to it.
- The faces of two young children under the age of seven who have no idea how close their parents were to divorce. The faces of the parents working hard, trusting God, seeking Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to carry them through the pain of an affair.
- The faces of a young couple in my office for pre-marriage counseling who both, for the first time, asked Jesus to be their savior. Seeing their faces in church almost every Sunday even after their wedding. Their faces when the husband was baptized.
- The face of my daughter when, at age five, she asked me….”daddy, one day will you baptize me?”
It’s with these faces in mind, with God’s love for us and His promises found in scripture to us that we are willing to be responsibly risky.
I find myself daily now dreaming and praying of the stories behind the faces of those we are about to meet in Virginia Beach. The faces behind marriages looking to be restored, children looking to be parented by a mom and dad who have a new since of peace about them, the faces of bored Christians who finally realize what an abundant means and begin to serve with their spiritual gifts, the faces of those who will ask Jesus to save them and lead them….oh the stories behind all the faces we will be part of. The stories of teens looking to belong to an authentic community that connects them to real hope. The stories of young adults looking to find meaning and direction for their lives. So many stories yet to be told.
Can these stories be found just as easily if we simply joined an existing church rather than plant a new one? Yes, and no. Every research project we have found on the effectiveness of church planting all draw the same conclusion. Nothing is more effective in reaching people with the Gospel than planting a new church. Most churches over 15 years old get most of their new members from other churches. Most churches under 15 years old get most of their new members from the unchurched people getting connected to the Gospel truth.
You can be a part of this. Join our email list below and be one of our prayer partners. Help us cover in prayer all of our efforts, everything God has called us to do, and all the stories behind all the faces yet to be seen. Imagine the stories that can be told if together we birthed this movement in prayer.
Marissa and I believe it is worth risking everything to hear just one more story of a person far from God discovering and surrendering to the perfect plan God has for them.
Consumed By The Call,
Eric Dingler, Senior Pastor of Coastal City Church