Hey Ricky, so I’ve had this idea…
That’s how this started. I’d been sifting my way through a number of things in leading our church plant and I kept thinking how I might share my experiences. And so, I called Ricky up. “What do you think about starting a blog together, talking about the things we’re actively learning as young pastors?” And in Ricky’s infinite wisdom, “Well, why not just talk about planting and replanting churches?” And now we’re here.
For my part, I’m in the very early stages of church planting in Manchester, New Hampshire. I’m learning how to lead, pastor, network, strategize, sift and discern, say No, in faith say Yes, and a hundred other things. How do we design small groups? What’s our name and logo? What’s our budget (just kill me why don’t you)? What’s our schedule? Why do we have these core values? Why are we a Sovereign Grace Church? What does it mean to be a part of Sovereign Grace in our new BCO? How do I wrestle my own temptations for comparison? How exactly do we fundraise this animal? How do I keep my sanity? Did I mention I’m planting a church bi-vocationally?
These are all things I’ve been learning as I plant, and those are all things I’ll be writing about here. I’m not an expert, yada-yada. Look, it’s a blog. If I were an expert, I’d probably have a sweet late night show right about… now. Instead, I have a blog. I’ll probably change my opinion on this or that down the road, but I hope to awe you with my thoughts in the mean time.
At the core of why I love Plant/Replant is my love for our partnership in Sovereign Grace Churches. Look, Ricky’s in Te-jas, which is cool and all, but I’m in New Hampshire – Live Free or Die. The only reason we’re partnered together is because of a common confession of faith and unity in mission. We love the same core values, and we love the Savior. How we apply those core values in service to the Savior will look very different. For one, I’ll never wear “salmon” pants. Also, we don’t own AC. On the other hand, we get lots of snow.
Church planting is a ferocious beast. Even a year in I can see how guys get burnt out quick. I’m writing for myself, and to help other church planters, remain faithful to the Gospel. I long to see more churches planted, revitalized and thriving so that we might see the Gospel bear fruit through the whole world, to the glory of Christ in the Church (Col. 1:6). I want Plant/Replant to contribute in some small way to that vision.
A little over 5 years ago I moved back to El Paso, TX to serve as an intern. A year later I was the acting preaching pastor we were calling what we were doing “replanting” and I was knee deep in major decisions: should we sell our church building? who should lead our teams? what book of the Bible should we preach and how? how do we become more evangelistic? how do we create a healthy church culture? how do we do all of this without the luxury of pulling over, but instead trying to fix everything while we keep moving?
On Plant/Replant I’ll be doing most of my writing around replanting and church revitalization. I am, by no means, writing because I’m an expert. But in the last five years I’ve I found some unexpected sources of life and encouragement that sustained me. I’ve tried a lot of things that haven’t worked and lived to tell about them. I’ve had a front row seat to see Jesus working in unexpected ways to build his church and fulfill this promises.
On Plant/Replant I’m writing because I want to encourage and spur conversation, and hopefully contribute something to the discussion. It’s easier to write about church planting while you’re church planting than to write about replanting while you’re replanting. Often the problems are too immediate, too specific, too personal. But a few years down the road I think I can share openly and honestly about the last several years. If you’re in the middle of church planting or revitalization I’d love to hear what you’re learning and share what I’ve learned. I want you to remember you’re not alone.
Jesus made a promise to a group of followers that all misunderstood him, and later abandoned him. He made it specifically to someone that would deny he ever even knew Jesus. And from that not-so-promising start Jesus’ gospel advanced across the globe and his church was built and strengthened. Sometimes it was through the disciples that he fulfilled the promise and sometimes it was despite them.
Here’s the promise Jesus made: “on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18). The promise depends on the one making the promise, and he is our entire hope. He is the reason my church still exists, why the church has stood for 2000 years, why it will endure until his return.
Here’s how things are going to shape up. Monday’s will be a post from Ricky. Something awesome. Wednesday’s will be something from Jacob. Something passable by the FDA. Friday’s will be Variety Friday. Some blog post, book, etc. that struck our fancy and seemed relevant to pastoral ministry, church planting, replanting, or 42. And here’s the big thing: The last Friday of the month will be a video chat between Ricky, Jacob and a mystery guest. Feel the power?
Looking forward to it guys! Hope you enjoy this with us.