Have you ever wondered if God was calling you to something more? Have you ever wondered if maybe there was more you should be doing for Christ’s Church? Have you ever wondered what the “next thing” in your faith journey was going to be?
I have wondered all of those things and in fact I wonder them all of the time. Our church board has been praying about what that “next thing” may be for about a year. We have taken a leap of faith for the “next thing” that we believe God may have for us.
A little over six months ago I was invited to a conversation by our District Superintendent about the district planting a church in Fruitport. The district had been approached by the school board at Calvary Christian Schools in Fruitport and they were thinking seriously about pursuing this endeavor. My initial reaction was one of believing this was a bad idea, I mean 1/3 of our church lives in Fruitport. However, the more Dr. Seaman and I talked the more the idea for something entirely new might work.
I brought the conversation Dr. Seaman and I had to our church board about what the district had thought. I shared how in our conversation what seemed to come out of it was not an idea for a new church, but an extension of the work God is doing through us. The conversation our board had was, what about us starting another campus of our church at another location.
We talked through various scenarios and we gave the District Superintendent a new plan that would be funded by the district, but rather than a new church plant it would be us providing leadership, infrastructure, and prayer support. The district took that plan to their meeting with Calvary Christian School’s executive board and the financial numbers did not match up in a way that were reasonable. We assumed the conversation was over.
A couple of months later we were contacted by the board of Calvary Schools and they said, what if this time it was really about ministry and the number was more reasonable? Would you still consider another service of your church in our location? Our board prayed about it, talked about it, and eventually approved this endeavor. We are hoping this is the “next thing” God has for us.
This has a few new meanings for our church. First, what it does not mean: It does not mean we are planting a church, we are adding a new service time at another location. It does not mean we are stretching ourselves too thin financially. The district is covering all of the expenses for the first year and we will evaluate the cost at the end of the year and make sure it is self-sustaining before we continue the second year. It does not mean we are trying to pull people from the Eastwood Campus to go and help launch the new service. We are using a handful of twenty-somethings to help launch this and they have committed to continue in all of the various roles they are currently in.
What this does mean: We will have an additional service on Sunday evenings at 6PM inside Calvary Christian Schools. It will be the same message as what is heard on Sunday morning. We hope to eventually hire another staff person who will serve as campus pastor at that location and youth pastor of both locations. We hope to reach people that no one else is reaching.
Here is what I am hoping for all of us who call The Lakes home: join with me in praying for our church, one church in two locations. Pray that both campuses will help to decrease the unchurched population in Muskegon County (as of 2010 there were 120,000 of the 172,000 people in Muskegon County who marked they do not have a church home). Join with me, our church staff, and our church board as we try to follow the words of Jesus when he commanded his followers, “Go and make disciples.” Join with us in loving God and loving others.