I have the privilege of working with Bethany Neumeyer as the Prayer Team Leader at our church. She’s also a great spoken word poet and wrote this as an illustration during our “Living a Passionate Mission” series. It’s pretty much an amazing piece. Enjoy!
Most of you know that I had the honor of starting a new church last September. We’ve experienced some really great things, God is moving in our congregation, and our baby church is growing up fast. It’s been really cool and most of us have the strong feeling that we’ve stumbled on something really special!
When we first moved into the building, we all had to roll up our sleeves and get the place ready. You see, it had been a bar for almost 100 years before we moved in. We painted, put in new carpeting, did some deep cleaning, and of course tore out the bar.
The only thing we didn’t do was hang up any crosses. Come to think of it, there’s not a shred of religious symbolism anywhere. It’s not that we’re opposed to those things. It just never came to mind. In the midst of planning, reaching out to the neighborhood, praying for the sick, and worshiping Jesus, it hadn’t dawned on us that we should have a cross up somewhere.
An older gentleman asked me shortly after we launched why there were no crosses and I just scratched my head and said, “Uh…I dunno…”
My question is… should we have a cross somewhere on our church? Can God use us to bless our city and expand His Kingdom if we don’t have religious symbols? Please let me know what you think and why.
To cross or not to cross? Leave your answer below…
I make mistakes. Sometimes I learn from them. Here’s one I’m chewing on…
Pray with us for God to move in Ireland!
It’s been a year and a half since we began considering our next step. We’ve prayed, thought, been to conferences, taken assessments, sought wise advice, and waited patiently (and sometimes not-so-patiently) for God to speak to us. We’re so excited to finally go public with it! We’re planting a church!
A little history
In August of 2009 the ministry I was working for had to release half of its staff for financial reasons. I loved my job there and continued to travel, speak, and lead prayer events even after I left the prayer center.
When I was faced with the task of deciding what to do next with my life, I thought I’d tackle the process from a different angle. Instead of going into panic mode and getting another church or ministry staff job, I chose to wait. I started a business so that I could have a measure of flexibility and still pay the bills. I also did something I’d never done before when making a major life decision. I sat down with my wife and children and told them that we were all going to pray and make this decision together; that we would let God lead all of us instead of simply moving ahead with my own big ideas and expecting the family to go with it.
I knew it was going to take time and I knew It would be difficult, but I chose to wait until we all heard from God (including my 7 year old).
A Ridiculous Idea
Shortly after our family meeting, I got together with my pastor to ask for prayer for our situation. During our conversation, he asked me how I felt about church planting. I laughed and said something about that being the LAST thing I wanted to do.
I had already been down that road in Ireland and in the U.S.. It was grueling, frustrating, and unfruitful. I didn’t know at the time that there is some really good church planting resources out there and organizations that offer terrific support.
My pastor asked me to pray about it and he sent my wife and me to a conference for those just thinking about church planting (I didn’t know there were conferences like that).
After months of praying, people began making comments to me like, “I sure wish someone would plant a Vineyard Church in our community.” and “I would so be there if a Vineyard started here.” A friend of mine, who had no idea that church planting was even an option for me, had a vision of me starting a church.
Believe it or not, I was still resisting the idea until…
A Powerful Confirmation
My wife came to me and said, “I think we’re suppose to plant that church.”
“I’m not so sure of that.”, I’d say.
This went on for months! Then one day, I was working in my office. It was a small room right off of the play room. I could hear my three boys talking enthusiastically about something and I listened in. They were talking about starting a church! They took turns talking about what kind of childrens’ ministry it would have and what the youth group would be like. They were totally on board and I was following close behind them.
Just a few days later, my wife and I attended another church planters conference. This time, the national church planting director approached us out of the blue and invited us to dinner. He spoke a powerful word into our lives and I was sold. I knew it was what we were supposed to do!
A Bright Future
So here we are! We went public with the plant during Sunday service this week. We have a great pastor who is amazingly supportive (I love the fact that we have a mother church). We’re assembling a launch team and we’ll have our first church service in the fall.
We don’t have a location yet, but we know we’ll be on the west side of Moline or the East side of Rock Island.
We have a long way to go, but we have this AMAZING God who called us to it and is faithful to do His part in this lofty venture!
Please consider partnering with us with your prayers. We need people who will lift us before God’s throne regularly. The task is great, but He is greater still!
Thanks so much!