Life changes, big and small.
We want to apologize for how long it has taken for us to send out this first update. The truth is that the packing, moving, traveling, waiting, unpacking, starting school, and putting our lives back together process has been a real challenge, perhaps the hardest thing our family has ever done. That is not to say that the process has been unpleasant. We had incredible help from dear friends as we packed. We were incredibly blessed by gifts and love shown by our family, friends, and church family. We truly loved (most of) our extended trip across the country, seeing beautiful sights and expanding our worldviews.
The rental home we were able to get into fits our family well, and we have been excited to meet new neighbors and friends. Our belongings arrived unscathed (mostly), and we have been able to make that house a home. Our kids have gotten into the swing of a new school, re-adjusting to classwork and routine, and making friends well. We have been blessed by the support network of the North American Mission Board, and have enjoyed being a part of nearby churches. We’ve eaten great food, seen great sights, and have even begun to develop a few new friendships.
So, please understand, when we say that things have been difficult, it doesn’t necessarily mean that things have been bad. Adventures and major life changes can be simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting, beautiful and terrifying, affirming and stretching, grace-filled and trying. Let’s face it, God happens to have called us to do ministry in one of the most beautiful places in the country! And He has been so clearly making a way for the gospel to go forth here. So, we keep reminding ourselves that there is a mission before us, and a loving God who has orchestrated it. And while we certainly have moments of feeling lonely or out-of-place or sad or even fearful, we are resolved to run the race set before us with joy!
With all of that being said, allow me to offer you a few insights that we have gained so far.
First of all, the words of Jesus remain absolutely true. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” I wouldn’t go as far as to say there are no churches here. There are some, and several of them are doing great work and reaching people. But the simple fact is, we are not in Covington anymore, Dorothy. There are 53,000 people in Parker alone, over 320,000 in Douglas County with over 60,000 students in the county’s 91 public schools. At the same time, the statistic remains true that around here there is 1 participating and active SBC Church for about every 20,000 people.
Take a look at our neighborhood. Our rental home is in a large subdivision near the middle of town. Our subdivision has subdivisions. Literally, we live in “The Mesa” which is in Clarke Farms. On our little loop of a street, there are 75 homes. Zooming out on a map, you can easily see hundreds more homes in our neighborhood across the street.
Zooming out even more you can see that there are thousands and thousands more in surrounding neighborhoods. In addition, thousands more homes are currently being built just to the south of us as our community continues to grow. If there were 100 evangelistic, discipleship-minded, outreaching churches around, it still wouldn’t be enough. There is work to be done. The hard part is not being overwhelmed with the volume of it.
But, the beauty of evangelism and discipleship is the inherent multiplication effect. By living as a disciple who makes disciples, and raising up others to do the same, gospel work becomes exponential, and a few dedicated, Christ-focused workers can accomplish a lot simply by obediently going about their work on the small scale.
In the book The Art of Neighboring, Jay Pathak and Dave Runyan explain that there is a common misinterpretation of the Great Commandment. If we read Matthew 22:39 where Jesus says, “love your neighbor as yourself,” and interpret our neighbors only in the global, macro sense, then we basically free ourselves from actually participating in the commandment on the micro level. As the authors say, “if that definition is our default, it probably means that by trying to love many, we actually love very few.” Many people, under the guise of a sense of the global need for gospel ministry, can miss the literal, small-scale implications of Jesus’ instructions, that we have to actually know, care for, speak to, invite, and evangelize our literal next-door neighbors. That kind of understanding makes this great work to which we have been called a little more digestible. Which leads to the second major insight that we’ve gained in these few weeks…
People want and need true community. In a world where everyone is constantly connected through social media, many are still longing for something more. We still live in a world where people pull into their garage, close the door, go about their home life, play in their fenced backyards, and then leave from the garage the next day, never knowing or interacting with their neighbors. That kind of lifestyle leaves a hole. Christ-centered, gospel community, in which people love one another with a the love of Christ, a love better than any that the world offers, stands in stark contrast to our common cultural life. In fact, Kirstin had a conversation with a neighbor in which the young mother candidly admitted that, even though she is local and has lived in this neighborhood for a long time, she has found it very difficult to make friends or maintain meaningful relationships. That’s where Christ-like love steps in.
So, if you’ve made it to the end of this long post, please lift us up as Paul asks of his readers in 2 Thessalonians 3:1, “pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.” Thank you for all of the prayers and support. If you would like to read more about why and how we are Church Planting, click HERE. if you would like to help support our missions effort here in Parker, Colorado, you can do so HERE. Simply choose “Colorado Church Plant” from the fund selection drop-down menu.