[This morning in worship we rolled out the church plant’s name and core group slate. (Copies are available at the info booth in the lobby.)]
This is a very key point in the process for protecting the unity of our congregation. This is where things could go sideways.
For many of our members, this point in the process is a time of celebration – for the first time the baby church has become visible and identifiable. And the core group has already met and voted on their church’s name…Emmanuel Baptist Church. To the mother church, the slate of core group names is an ultrasound of the baby church still in our womb as we look forward to our delivery date, Sunday, April 9. So, most of us are celebrating this point in the process.
But for some of us, this is the hardest point in the process; it is filled with disappointment and hurt feelings. Some of us were really, really hoping to be in the core group but are not. It feels a lot like getting passed over for a position at work we really wanted or getting cut from a team try out. There is an opening for a root of bitterness to germinate so I want to address the situation.
First, MANY of our members were strongly considered for the core group. Your lack of invitation does not mean we don’t think you would be a great fit at the plant and have a lot to offer. NEHBC is rich in high quality people — we have many who would do well at a church plant. If we sent out every member who would do well at a church plant, we’d empty out our church!
Second, simply put, the slate represents the list of people the selection process revealed are the ones called by the Holy Spirit for this task. Many, many hours of fasting, prayer, discussions, and analysis went into the core group process. The leadership capacity and ministry needs of both churches were carefully assessed. You were not asked to be in the core group simply because of what we sensed to be the leading of the Holy Spirit in filling the needs of the church plant and NEHBC through the delivery process and its aftermath.
Here are some passages of Scripture helpful for thinking biblically about this process: Acts 1:15-26, Acts 13:1-3, and Luke 6:12-16. This process of identifying the core group members fits the pattern of Jesus Christ and the New Testament church.
Third, we are ALL planting the new church — those who stay at NEHBC and those who go to the plant. You are still planting the new church, but your seat “on the bus” for doing so is at NEHBC. We need you to help us recover from birthing the first church plant, watch over the new church plant, and prepare us to deliver another one. We plant this church on April 9. In May we begin the search for our next church planter!
John Newton, who wrote “Amazing Grace,” told a now famous story whose moral illustrates how we must look at this situation. God in heaven had two tasks on earth needing to be accomplished. One was for the most disgusting sewer on the planet to be cleaned. The other was for a king who would live in a luxurious mansion with limitless wealth, power, and fame. So, God summoned two angels and asked them to pick which one they preferred. Neither could come to a decision because they found the tasks equally satisfying. The value and joy in the work of our hands is not ultimately found in where we are sent by God, but in the fact we are meeting a Kingdom need. Both NEHBC and the church plant are vital Kingdom needs that must be met.
NEHBC, the process we have been on for the last seven years has proven time and time again that the Holy Spirit is present and leading us. Let’s continue to trust the leading of the Holy Spirit through this process. And in due time, we will see the hand of the Lord make everything clear, in both churches, and in our personal lives.
Tags: church planting