The A-B-C’s of church planting

It’s amazing that we’ve only been in Tampa for a year now. It was a year ago yesterday that we had our first on campus Bible study, in which 13 people or so came out. We had no idea what the next year would hold. As I have mentioned in a previous post, so much of church planting is perseverance and patience. I am not known to possess the latter of the two and I don’t necessarily enjoy the former. So this past year has been a pretty bumpy ride at times for me personally. God has given me a big vision for what we’re doing but visions usually don’t manifest themselves overnight (see Nehemiah – He had to make an 800 mile journey, summon the help of far away kings of opposing nations, recruit a group of people whom he didn’t even know, trust them to do a competent job, and then actually execute the plan. It all happened relatively quick, but it still took time). I sometimes like to skip the B – Y steps and go straight from A to Z.

But often times the B – Y is pretty amazing and we just need to enjoy it. I think we are on letter D as we speak so we still have a long way to go but I am trying to savor every moment. Here we are exactly a year later after our on campus Monday night Bible study debut and a lot of crazy awesome things have transpired. We have seen 100 people accept Christ as Lord and Savior. We have had multiple baptisms. We now have five small group Bible studies. Many of our people are being personally discipled. We have already gone global as a church with a mission to Peru and this coming summer to Mexico and Haiti.  The past three Sunday worship gatherings have been our 3 largest attended gatherings since we launched at the end of August.

It’s not like we’re really changing up what we’re doing. We still teach the same Bible; still show an outpouring of love; still emphasize specific, intentional evangelism and discipleship; still incorporate extreme methods to relate to the culture of this generation (namely with a sweet band); still emphasize the globe; and we still filter everything we do through God’s Word. Heck, we are even seeing some families start to attach themselves to our ministry, which means we are not just reaching college students, we are reaching everyone! So the strategy hasn’t changed, I am just being reminded constantly that everything works around God’s time table. At times this is a discouraging thought because I know God doesn’t work on a time scale, but He still created time so He understands the confines and limitations of it and that makes me happy.

As seasoned as I am as a church planter, I still forget about the A-B-C’s of church planting. These represent the steps that a church plant must take in order to become stable, solid, and healthy. It doesn’t happen over night. It is a process like I’m always talking about. And honestly, I’m glad we are not at Z yet. E – Y should be pretty fun over the next many, many years.

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