Why plant a church? Why now? I wrestled with these difficult questions as an Elder. "Is this the RIGHT direction?" I pondered.
I have never been involved in a Church Plant before, nor have I known someone closely who has. I have seen Church Plants open and then close some months later. I have heard about churches that ‘feed’ the sermon in from their ‘parent church’. These things all create for me a stereotype that is not too favorable. So then enters the question above, like an elephant in the room…
As the Elder board began to adapt and re-form with the addition of Jim Venable and myself, we began to learn of East Hills’ historical desire to plant a church. Could that still be the vision for East Hills? We as an elder board pondered that along with other items. We were interested and intrigued by the thought of ‘church planting’ in general. We had someone who oversees church planting in the Northwest, Randy Shaw, come and share with us some of the answers that he and others have found to be significant to the church planting questions ‘what does is look like?’ and ‘why do it?’. It was informative and made sense, but I didn’t get that gut-wrenching sense of urgency for us to rush out and plant a church.
So where are we now? I myself am compelled to pursue it! I feel that my heart has been changed. I have had such a burden for the people of Kelso/Longview, both saved and unsaved. I feel strongly that GROWTH, both corporately and individually is what is on God’s heart for us in the coming or maybe just arriving season. Of course the word, GROWTH, to me just begs the thought of something having to be ‘planted’ first. What does God grow in our lives without first planting a ‘seed’: a thought, a vision, a dream, a word? And what would we ‘plant’ without the same?
I feel very strongly about two Bible passages that have pierced my heart when we have discussed ‘church planting’. They are the ‘seeds’ that I feel that God has planted in my heart and mind that he caused to grow and that have changed my thoughts and opinions.
I heard all the logical reasons, and they ‘made sense’, but I have found what is useful in my head rarely excites a change in my heart. It is now dominant in my heart that GROWTH is the direction that God is leading, and PLANTING is the work I long to be a part of.