When I reflect on what we’ve seen God do in the arena of church planting over the past few years in NJ and past few months in VT, I realize very quickly that very little of the fruit we’ve seen is due to our brilliant strategic thinking or exceptional spiritual intuition. As we continue on this journey, God continuously reminds me of the incredible grace He has shown us through our “partners in the gospel.” Three groups of people especially stand out in my mind:
Our Family. Both mine and Christin’s families have been 100% supportive of what God has led us to do even as it’s meant moving further and further away from them. This does not mean that our parents have not asked us probing questions about our decisions, but these questions have always been rooted in a desire to support us and see us pursue God’s path. I can honestly say that neither my parents nor my in-laws have ever given me the slightest guilt trip, although this path has led to their daughter and grandchildren living thousands of miles away. They have definitely placed their faith in God’s plan above whatever their personal feelings may be.
Our Team. When we moved to NJ in 2004 I was blown away by the willingness of the Zilas, Nussbaumers, and the Camps to transplant their lives with us from suburban Atlanta to urban NJ. I’m not sure if we would have survived without these couples serving shoulder to shoulder with us. Over the years the Point Church grew, our staff team expanded, and then the recession hit. I can still remember the week when we made the decision to cut salaries and even stop paying others. Not once did anyone remotely contemplate quitting or leaving. The resounding response was, this is where God’s called us and we’re in it for the long haul. As my family has moved on to VT, these families continue to minister in NJ.
Our Supporters. I’ve frequently joked that I do a much better job at starting churches when I have food to eat and a roof over my head. Over the past several years God has placed some amazing churches who have run alongside us supporting us through prayer, sending volunteer teams, and financially backing our ministry endeavors. I am still amazed at the patience these partnering churches displayed as we would take two steps forward, one step back, make mistakes, learn from our mistakes, and revise our strategy. Many church-planters are given the “you’ve got two years to figure this out” line from supporters. Ours often said the opposite: “We know this is tough soil and we know this will take time. We believe in you and what God has called you to do.”
To all of those who have partnered with us in the past and partner with us today, please know…
I thank my God every time I remember you in all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.