What's Taking So Long?
We are about 6 months into our Colorado Church Planting journey. In some ways, the time has flown by, but in other ways, it feels like it has been a very long time. From afar, I understand that the resounding question is often, “What is taking so long?” It makes sense. We were sent as missionaries, right? So, why haven’t we started having church yet? Well, simply put, it’s complicated.
Consider the idea of planting…like literal planting. When it comes down to it, not only have I not had much experience in things like sowing, watering, growing, and harvesting, but I also am not sure that I would have the patience for it. Horticulture is a lengthy and tedious endeavor. As many of you know, the New Testament if filled with horticultural imagery. From the various types of soil (Matt. 13:1-23), to the plentiful harvest (Matt. 9:37), to the idea that the hard work of the farmer is nothing compared to the God who brings the growth (1 Cor. 3:7), and many other examples, it is clear that the work of God is not an overnight event.
Planting is a process, and each step is important, but it cannot be forced. So, God has been teaching us patience in the process as we work to sow seeds in our new community.
In addition, we have had to go through the process of not only identifying qualities and needs of our particular community but also formulating our own specific church identity and approach to meeting those needs. Each community is unique, and churches that have a well-developed and contextualized mission and vision are most likely to reach their unique communities effectively.
We have had to spend a lot of time in my training and apprenticeship working through this process as we have gotten to know our community better. Could we have rallied some people, gone door-to-door, rented a building, and started having worship services by now? Probably. Would that effort have been successful for reaching our community long-term and making disciples who make disciples? Probably not.
“Having church” is not the measure, and frankly, the people of this community couldn’t care less about a new church service. We need to give them a compelling reason to care, and that begins with building a church DNA that is about more than the Sunday service.
So, we have worked hard to build a mission, vision, and strategy for disciple-making in our community. I love where God has led us in this process, and we look forward to seeing Him bring the growth as we have been working through the long process of sowing seeds in this way. We even landed on a church name, Aspen Grove Church, that effectively reflects our vision. You can read all about it at our new website, www.aspengrovechurch.org.
We are so thankful for the prayers and support of so many.
On a personal note, we enjoyed a beautiful Christmas here in Parker (it wasn’t white yet, but it certainly is now!), and we even enjoyed a short visit back to Georgia with family and friends.
As I continue my apprenticeship and training, we have continued to become more connected with our community through volunteering and meeting new people. Even random meetings at the sledding hill have led to gospel conversations!
We’ve made some improvements to our partially-finished basement in order to make it a more usable children’s space during our Sunday Night Bible Study, the first gatherings of Aspen Grove Church. We’ve even got a great young lady who cares for the kids during that time, which is a huge blessing! We are hoping to grow that group of families in the coming months.