This adventure; planting a new church (aka birthing, pioneering, or starting a new church) is really beyond my natural or learned abilities. It's hard... emotionally. Being the pastor, the guy in charge... that's heavy. Like spiderman... "with great power... ya de da de da".
We had our first home group, last night, it was fabulous. Good food. Fancy trader joes drinks. The reading of scripture. Middle school baby sitter finding purpose. People from different worlds colliding and trying to figure out what it looks like to be the church. The night ended later then I expected with all the men playing "magic" at my kitchen table. Good times.
Morning worship was good. People worshiping, fellowshiping, listening to the preaching of the word. Yeah,... preaching; the one thing I was pretty confident about, this I can do, this I am trained for. Now I wonder each day, "Could someone be well fed spiritually with a diet of only my preaching?" Probably not. At least there are a lot of books, tapes, CDs, and MP3 downloads out there.
So many good things are happening. When folks from the mother church call I'm tempted to only tell them those things. Is there some tangible way of calling this a success or failure? I have this excel file called "Coldwater stats" and I track attendance and offerings, like those are measurable markers. It's sick, I catch myself trying to count the unborn in our congregation as a way of padding those numbers. If only they could give an offering.
There's no real way to count the "what ifs". What if we didn't show up? How many from our church would not be regularlly attending church? What if these opportunities didn't happen? How many would still feel lost looking for a place to minister? What if we had waited till the fall? Who here, would have totally given up on church between now and then? What if we had done exactly what the church planting gurus say, Would anything be different?
I'm loving the adventure. I'm ok with the pressure; wanting to be a good financial steward of the generosity of those who are supporting us and also handling well the time of those who are here and sunselfishly sacrificing many hours. I'm everyday realizing this is much bigger than me, or anyone else. I'm thankful that it's Jesus' project., and I'm thankful for the privilege of being a part of it.