“How’s the church?”
This has become one of the most common questions asked by folks…
Before people ask about the family, school, my walk with the Lord, or my marriage, it’s usually… “How’s the church?”, to which I usually reply, “Pick a day!” If this has been you, please don’t feel bad, it’s actually my fault because I’m sure I post more about the church then my family, my walk with the Lord, or school, right? When I say “pick a day” it’s not being said with sarcasm, I promise… but because there’s not one specific pattern of things going either really good or really bad… it truly reminds me of the words of the famous Prophet Forrest Gump who said, “Life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get…” but the difference here is that we know exactly what we’re gonna get and what the outcome will be… the only trouble is the path to get there. But because we’re firm believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can stand upon Scripture like:
Psalm 28:7 that says, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”
What exactly am I talking about? Let me give you a taste… Pastor Chris and I underwent some training for church planting and were given certain warnings about church planting and that our CORE Team wouldn’t look the same after a year, some people would back out, fall through, etc… but we were like, “Nope, that’s not gonna happen with us! Our team is as solid as they come.” One of the difficult things in planting was that prior to being sent out, our sending church said we could only take “X” amount of people, so we prayed and asked God to guide us to the right folks, and that they would be sold out for Jesus, and willing to give up comforts, give all of their efforts, monies, and truly sacrifice to help plant this church. We’d originally planned to have 3 meetings of interest and hoped to have “X” quantity of people committed by then; we never got past the first one. We actually had to tell many people that they could not come with us, we wanted to respect our sending churches expressed wishes. Since there wasn’t any wiggle room, we had to make every adult and child count…but we trusted the Lord and approached folks that we’d been walking with and discipling for some time, others approached us and said they felt God calling them to join us. Others still said that they just couldn’t shake the thought of Lynwood and whether or not that is where God wanted them. Beause we anticipated lots of hard work, potential burnout, and the reality of grief and loss, we had a good friend from City Church of Compton stop by our house and speak to our CORE Team and talk to us about their experience, what it looks like, the realities of the difficulty of church planting…we wanted to make sure our CORE Team knew what they were signing up for.
Praise God we got the full team allowed to leave with us and approved to join us in planting and were sent out on July 2nd… before we’d even launched services in the park one family backed out and before the end of the year, yet another would fall out. There’s no going back and saying, “Hey, those two families changed their minds, so can we get two more?” So we suffered the losses of people that had committed to pray, serve, and give…we blessed them and encouraged them to seek the Lord wherever it was He’d lead them to. But it really sucked because there were so many others that wanted to come with us… So if you’d asked me on those days how the church was going, you can imagine what my answer would be. But… that’s NOT the end of the story, you see God works in ways we’ll never quite understand, but as two families abandoned our journey to plant, God brought others in…not just to worship on Sundays but to also join our CORE Team and work their butts off to help plant this church. And if you’d asked me after they’d joined, you can imagine what my response would be to, “How’s church?” Overall, I’d say that as a Pastor I am so blessed to have an amazing team surrounding my brother Chris and I as we spearhead into Lynwood to plant RCLA, there are times that I feel really lonely (see my last blog) and then there are times that I feel super protected by our team when we’ve been tried to take advantage of (yes, that’s happened too).
So how’s church? I’d say it’s awesome! Our team is growing, new people are coming every week, there are folks who had some pretty serious struggles when we first started this journey and by way of prayer and God’s sovereignty He’s providing for all of our needs according to His glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). There was a very well known conference hosted at Biola this past weekend, The Legacy Disciple Conference, and there was a large part of our CORE Team present to support Pastor Chris and I as we taught workshops on the “Need for Effective Preaching” and “Practical Discipleship in an Urban Context” respectively, as well as sit in other workshops to learn, grow, and practically apply those things learned to our personal walks with Christ and our church plant. Planting a church is NOT easy, and it can take a toll… but to see our team representing with RCLA hoodies, hanging out at Starbucks, eating lunch at The Habit, and strollling through Biola University grounds, I was one proud pastor… onlookers knew we were together and it felt damned good.
So when we bump into each other, instead of asking, “How’s church?” just say you’ve prayed for us. We’d be really grateful! Follow us on social media, encourage us, continue to pray for us, like our posts, and share what God is doing here in Lynwood. But please, I beg of you, don’t be one of those people that troll us, watch our videos, and never bother to click on the “like” button or comment… that’s not cool because there are ALOT of those people too. We could really use your love, encouragement, and support. Thanks for taking the time to read this and pray for us along this crazy journey of church planting.