BEWARE: very long post
Since I need to report to the BGC district annual meetings on Friday, I thought I would take a few moments to reflect on our journey to this point.
I was born in Denver, Colorado....(skip ahead 37 years)
In the summer of 2006, the Reillys, Jensens, Rodvolds, Randolphs and Kraakeviks started dreaming about planting a church. At the time, we gave it the name "The Gathering." Although as time went on we considered Emmaus, Stony Creek Church, Pinnacle, Summit, Sacred Space, Jesus Freaks United, the river, the Ancient path, mosaic, Mars Hill, the revolution, the flounderers, and of course South of West Bowles Community Church.
We talked a lot about core groups vs. believer bases vs. launch teams.
Kathy J. brought a book, The Heart Reader, which is a book written anonymously, that talks about the power of seeing people for who they are, and reaching out to meet their deepest needs. We decided we wanted to be a church like that.
Kathy J. brought her CBS bible study notes on Acts 1-4. We decided we wanted to be a church like that.
"They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, to fellowship, to breaking of bread and to prayer."
"If God is against it, it will die, if God is for it, you will not be able to stop it." (Rough translation of a cool verse in Acts 5)
We decided we would be a church that plants other churches (we see ourselves as part of a church planting movement).
We decided we would make a community meal central to everything we do.
We decided to affiliate with the Baptist General Conference, and had lively discussions about baptistic practices.
We read The Radical Reformission and Confessions of a Reformission Rev. by Mark Driscoll.
We put together our first "PowerPoint presentation." As a group, we wrestled for a long time with how to say everything. This was a difficult part. At this time, we started to call the church the 5280 Gathering (Denver is a mile high - 5,280 feet).
On September 2, 2006, we had an all day retreat at Conference Baptist Church in Evergreen. We prayed over each other at that retreat, and it was very powerful. Tears! We decided we needed open mic time at our services, times of corporate repentance, and faith promise giving. We thought it would be a good idea to keep the children in our services, so they could learn to worship next to their parents.
In Sept. Heidi and I attended the Church Planter Assessment Center in Wisconsin. We passed! We took the strength finder personality test. This was our result:
Mark-Woo, Positivity, Communication, Input, Activator
Heidi- Input, Intellection, Belief, Learner, Maximizer
We went to the Rocky Mountain Baptist Conference Board of Overseers meeting on October 17, 2006. It was the first time we rolled out our PowerPoint presentation to a group. They said we needed to clarify our vision. Are we are house/cell church or an attractional church.
On Oct. 29th we had a "Present the Vision" meeting at Einstein Bagels. We had a great crowd, and the meeting went very well.
On Nov. 7th, I attended a Freedom Service at Centennial. It was a night of reconciliation. The timing was perfect, because I was able to attend that before we began our public meetings.
On Nov. 12th we had our first public service at the Rock of the Southwest. We settled on the name, The EDGE.
We were struck with six weeks of crazy things happening on Sunday night. The Fall unfolded like this
Nov. 19th - Bronco night game
Nov. 26th - Thanksgiving weekend
Dec. 3rd - Bronco night game (NFL moved game)
Dec. 10 - Bronco night game (NFL moved game)
Dec 17 - Snow storm x
Dec. 24 - Christmas Eve
In December, our teaching focused on Advent. We sent a second wave of support/update letters. Our first wave went out in October.
In January, our teaching focused on the basics of Christianity. This is the beginning of what will be our "Christianity 101" class. We talked about the Fall, the Law, the Gospel, and the Kingdom. It snowed every week in January!!!
We had a very important core group meeting at Ernie and Jeannine's house on Jan 11th, 2007. I brought a list of 390 tasks that church plants need to do before they launch. I was nearly voted off the island by the core team for bringing the list. The list nearly killed the "DREAM." Everyone felt very overwhelmed. We made a mid-meeting shift in agenda. We talked about money, and how many people we need to have attend our congregation to make it financially viable. We talked about publicity, and children’s directors, and worship leaders, and missions, and small groups and serving the community, and our logo, and having leadership meetings every other week.
Jan. 14th, we had three couples and two young singles attend our evening gathering!!! Wow, this was a huge morale boost.
I started working at the Rock in January. 20 hours a week as a part time pastor. I have been helping with whatever they need done. Bruce Fosdick has become a church plant coach for me, although this is a very busy season for his church. This has been very helpful.
Towards the end of January, Jake Fehr decided to join us as our volunteer youth pastor. We decided to go to Brasil with the students who wanted to go. Tuesday nights would be youth night. With the meetings alternating between Brasil meetings, and youth group meetings. The group is has been meeting at Geoffery Wolfe's house.
February has been a blur. We did not meet on Super Bowl Sunday. Our teaching has focused on the parables of Jesus from Matt. 13. We began a podcast that combines weekly sermons, with daily recordings modeled after Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac, a podcast to which I subscribe.
The most interesting piece that has unfolded recently is the possibility of moving our gatherings to a small church building near our house. The congregation that was meeting there is no longer meeting, and the building is available for rent. The sanctuary holds 60-70 people, and we met there on March 4th. We had a great time, and the size was perfect for us. But looking for a place to meet is somewhat like buying jeans for a growing teenager. The fear is this: if we buy jeans that fit now, they will be at our knees in no time.
And that is our story to this point. There are other parts to the story that have been left out. Doug's dad died the last week of November. One of our brothers lost his job in Dec., and got a new job in Feb. I spoke at retreats in Sept., Oct., Jan., and Feb. I preached at three different churches First Baptist in Lakewood, Elk Creek Community Church, and Summit Church.
This is the story of a collection of people who follow Jesus. We live in Littleton. We encounter people in the name of Jesus, we allow Jesus to turn us into disciples, we gather often, and we equip people to love and serve other people better.