Tonight I had the opportunity and privilege, along with one of our lead team members, to join pastors of the Tri-Cities and Yakima region at an Area Meeting. I am overwhelmed, time and time again, at many of these leaders’ hospitality and support shown towards us.
I am determined to do this church plant in the right way and with the right heart. I want to honor the past and move into the future. It was in October of last year that a few close friends joined me on Jump-Off Joe to pray for the Tri-Cities. For me, most of that time on the hill was taken up by praying for the churches already in existence in the community. I have no desire to undo the work that has already (and is still) being done. In fact, a few of those churches are still very near and dear to my heart. Life Church Tri-Cities was where I was discipled, baptized, mentored, and married. Pasco Faith Assembly tried their very hardest to help a family member of mine who needed it the most. Kennewick City Church was where my father-in-law spent five years as youth pastor.
My hope is to honestly compliment and cooperate – never to compete. I know that most church planter says this (and some do the exact opposite) – so I have to earn (and keep) people’s trust. I also know that I will not do everything right nor can I do all that they expect or ask of me. But I will do my very best to show honor and respect – treating those church as the brothers and sisters in Christ that they are.
The Bible reads, “Listen to your leaders, who have spoken God’s word to you. Notice the fruits of their lives and mirror their faith” (Hebrews 13:7, The Voice).
I went down to the Tri-Cities again last December to share with each of the Assemblies of God lead pastors in the Tri-Cities of my intentions to plant. I wanted them to hear the news directly from me. So many of them graciously responded in prayer, encouragement, and kindness. Just one more reason to have a fellowship – to voluntarily cooperate in a movement larger than myself.
There is so much to learn from many of these leaders – several of them far more experienced than me. For example, I want to meet with Darrel Johnsen and glean from his passion for leadership development. I hope to go to Wes Lindseth and to learn to fast and pray the way that he does. Different churches – cultures, methods, communities, languages, styles – but the same body.
I don’t know everything. Far from the case. But we hope to do exactly what we are supposed to do in trusting obedience to Christ.