My Experience in Church Planting
My first experience in church planting was 9 years ago in Washington state.
We had always been attenders and to be quite honest, I really had never committed myself or any of our time to any church we were a part of. We were just “too busy.” We had a young son, were serving in outreach ministry, and Aaron traveled during the week. Church on Sunday was a negotiable and often times, kind of a burden!
We moved to Washington state in 2010 for a job transfer and for the first time sought out the church. We were longing for community because we were thousands of miles away from home. We quickly found this midsize church plant that wasn’t far from where we lived. It wasn’t a typical Texas church so I was in awe and so intrigued by these bearded pastors and the alternative style of worship music. What I was most in awe of was the gospel-centered preaching that left me hungry, convicted, and yearning for more each week. We immediately knew God had us right where he wanted us.
A New Adventure
One Sunday, we heard that our small group leader was being called to plant a church in a neighboring town. We had only been in his small group for a few months but adored him, his family, and the core group, and we were growing spiritually more then ever before.
The church asked for couples to be a part of this new church plant. Both Aaron and I felt very led to be a part of this new church. We started going to the plant meetings and before we knew it, we were helping launch the kids ministry and our own community group.
This was a time of true discipleship and a time I was growing so much spiritually. I learned the importance of having fellowship with other women and being real about my struggles. My new, amazing friends were women who were newly married, women who were single, women who had 7 kids, women who had 1 kid, and women who were empty nesters. We were all different and had different interests. These women became my friends, mentors, accountability partners, and sisters in Christ for life.
One lady taught us all how to filet a fish because she worked on fishing boats. Another brought us perspective into the fostering and adoption world. My pastor’s wife taught us all how to plant a garden and can our own tomato sauce. One of my contributions was teaching them how to make queso and they thought it was pretty gross (haha, only Texans truly appreciate melted Velveeta)! But most of all, I learned what the Lord was teaching them and how he had showered them with love and grace throughout the years. We did book studies and challenged each other by digging into scripture. We discussed weekly how to apply it to our daily lives.
During these three years, I learned about biblical marriage, and gospel-powered parenting. It was during this time that I forged some of the greatest friendships I’ve ever had and found myself growing in my faith through their discipleship. We were a family not by blood, but through the spirit of Christ. We were a true church family - a family of believers fighting hard to let God equip us to go out and equip others for the sake of the gospel in our marriages, parenting, friendships, and just living in our community day to day.
At the end of year three, the Lord called us back to Texas. I always say I came back kicking and screaming only because this was where the Lord grew me,where He gave me people to love and shower me in prayers through good times and bad. This church community had loved me through one of my darkest times - the miscarriage of a child whom we had longed and prayed for. It was during this time that I felt the love of Christ through our church community.
The Lord taught me why God designed the church!
We knew we were called back to Texas and it has been amazing to start seeing glimpses of why! We are so excited to be in the trenches again with our new church family, to grow in deeper ways than we have ever imagined, and to go and fight for the community where we have planted our roots and where our kids will be raised.
My favorite verse is 1 Peter 4:10 (ESV): “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.” I am so excited to serve hard, love harder, and model God’s grace over and over again!
Can’t wait until September!