Category Archives: Church Planting

Wisdom for selecting a home

Front Page Lafayette Prayer Requests

It turns out that one of the men from the Pondside group is actually the
President / CEO of Lafayette Savings Bank! It’s amazing how God works
things out. I gave him a call, he had someone call me and in about 30
minutes this morning, Jen and I were “easily” approved for at least a
$180,000 loan.

This raises the question now of where we should live and what home we
should build/buy. The reason this is a big question is that in Lafayette,
homes are really inexpensive, and we could get a home of over 3000 square
feet with a loan of under $200,000!

So, I’m asking you to pray with us and also to comment on my site here
with your suggestions / opinions about this.

Jen and I are praying about a few key homes that we could build for a
reasonable amount:


  • $120,000
  • 2037 square feet.



  • 1618 square feet
  • $90,000



First Floor


Second Floor



  • 1737 square feet
  • $105,000



First Floor


Second Floor



  • 2582 square feet
  • $120,000



English Cottage Elevation


Floor Plan



  • 2771 square feet
  • $130,000



Craftsman Elevation


English Manor Elevation


Floor Plan


[The Auburn]

  • 3183 square feet
  • $135,000



Farmhouse Elevation


Southern Classical Elevation


Floor Plan


Our Dilemma

Here’s our dilemma. The Auburn house would be absolutely wonderful both
for our family and for the sake of the new church ministry. There is a
dedicated home office space downstairs by the door, but there is a huge
area upstairs for the kids to play in while the adults are talking or
having a meeting downstairs. However, the house is really big, and Jen
and I are concerned that we might seem to be pretentious by having such a
large house while living off the support of others-who likely have
smaller homes for themselves.

The Others

The Townsend and Clemson houses are really just toned down versions of
the Auburn house. We would enjoy them too, but they both skip the office
(we still aren’t sure we need that), and the Clemson has one less

The Taft and Coolidge houses are both the functional kind of house.
Everything we really need is in these two houses. Jen and I both grew up
in homes without much more than what these two houses have.

And regarding the Leesburg, I just think it looks really good. It’s a
ranch style home (one story), is economical, but we haven’t seen any
floor plans yet.

None of these homes have basements, but one could be added for only


So Jen and I are trying to figure out whether we need to stretch
ourselves a little bit more financially so that we can get a “dream
house” that would be great for both family and for ministry (core group
meetings and larger Bible studies) with the potential downside of people
thinking negatively about us. We are especially concerned about some of
our supporters resenting our apparent affluence.

Or whether we should grab on to one of the more economical and functional
houses, save ourselves some potential concern over money, and avoid the
appearance of materialism to those we are trying to reach.

Pray and Comment.

Please pray for our wisdom in this decision, and please comment or email
me to let us know what you think.

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Jen and I know where we want to live

Front Page Lafayette Prayer Requests

I want to thank all of you for praying for Jen and me during our trip
this last weekend to Lafayette. We had a really fun time in many
different ways.

Quick Notes

  • We were able to stay with Jen’s cousin and her family. They are so
    gracious and generous each time we visit. Praise God for Mark and
    Michelle Withers.

  • We were able to meet a group of families who have been passionate
    about a new church in Lafayette for almost a year. Praise God for our
    meeting with the “Pondside” couples.

  • We were also able to meet a family that has recently moved from
    California and was part of a BGC church plant out there. They are really
    excited about being on the ground floor of a new church, and the kids
    were even giving me suggestions on what the name of the new church should

  • Jen and I found the place where we want to live. We want to move to
    an area called “The Commons.”

Prayer Requests

Here are the two biggest things Jen and I are praying about right now.
Please join us in prayer for these things.

Pray for God’s guidance for us and the “Pondside”

We had the chance to meet with three families that have joined together
to start a new church in Lafayette to intentionally reach people with the
good news of Jesus. They have been meeting together for a while now and
have adopted the temporary name of “Pondside.” They really seem like
great people, and if they choose to partner with us, it would likely be
an incredible combination.

Pray for us to get a home in “The Commons.”

In driving through the different areas of Lafayette this weekend, Jen and
I really fell in love with a neighborhood called “The Commons” that would
be not only a great place for our family but also a wonderful
launching-point for the new church. Lots in “The Commons” are going
quickly at about $40,000 and homes that would work for us are between
$130,000 and $160,000.

We really need to get loan approval first before we can make a decision,
but if we can make a decision next month, our home could be ready by
early Spring. Buying an existing home is also an option, but most
existing homes are more expensive than new construction right

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Why shouldn’t everyone plant a church?

Church Planting Front Page Leadership

Well, this is an interesting take on the whole church planting

According to
, everyone should plant a church. Bob Hyatt claims that there
are two schools of thought on church planting. In my words, they are

  1. It’s only for the elite and super-gifted because it’s really that

  2. It’s really hard, but with God all things are possible.

He claims that no one needs any special “call” or “vision” to plant a
church. They just need a heart to love people and see people come to

He also claims that failure is to be measured by how loving we were to
the people God brings us and not how long the church survives.

Finally, he claims that following the denominational practices and
methods like raising a lot of money first and all that isn’t worth the

My Response

Interesting claims, but I have to disagree a little. God’s goal for this
world is to build a family of people committed to his Son, and the
fracturing of this family into innumerable subgroups that don’t talk to
each other has been quite detrimental to the cause of Christ in this
world. If everyone just up and started a new church, this fracturing
would continue.

My feeling is that everyone should consider themselves a minister doing
the work of care, support, and evangelism, but that we don’t need a ton
more churches.

You might think this is strange coming from a church planter, but it is
the truth. I only have two reasons to be church planter:

  1. I’m convinced that God has called me particularly to it.
  2. I’m passionate to use the platform of a new church to develop a
    healthy network among all the Christians in Lafayette.

The people in Lafayette (and elsewhere) don’t need new churches as much
as they need vibrant, healthy Christian communities accessible to them,
caring for them, and welcoming them.

I believe that God should call church planters to the work, and that the
vast majority of believers should be working on enriching the spiritual
health of themselves, their local church, and their

We wouldn’t need to start new churches if the existing churches were
doing their job of mobilizing house churches, developing leaders, and
doing ministry in the neighborhoods.

I mostly agree with his definition of failure except that I cannot
believe a healthy church will die unless the community surrounding it
also dies. In other words, church health and church longevity go hand in
hand with church growth and church reproduction. It’s just like an
organism. Health always brings about growth, reproduction and

Finally, I am so thoroughly thankful to God for the church association to
which I belong. The leadership in our “denomination” is absolutely rock
solid in line with the Bible and God’s passion for this world, and I love
being a part of it. We can do more together than when we are alone. And,
why not use the basic tactics of marketing, advertisement and big launch
events if you are reaching unbelievers who will respond to

I’m always bothered when someone talks about some “method” as being
better than some other method. Methods are just that. methods for
acheiving an end. Granted, some aspects of some methods are inherently
unethical. But in most cases, the method is only bad if it fails to
accomplish its goal. Set a good goal, maintain good morals, and the
method can be anything you want it to be.

Check out my message on planning in my “Rebuilding” series. It’s called
After We
Say Amen

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Visiting Lafayette This Weekend


I just wanted to send out a quick note to all of you to let you know that
Jen, the kids, and I will be visiting Lafayette this weekend. If all
works out well, we will plan on meeting with some people who are
interested in possibly joining us.

We will also be looking at some of the housing available there to begin
thinking about where we should live when we get there. Keep us in prayer
this week.

Other things to pray for:

  • October 2-We will be presenting our church plant vision to NWBC (our
    current church) and announcing what the next steps are for NWBC.

  • October 9-We will be visiting Bethany Baptist Church in Harwood
    Heights, IL to present our vision for Lafayette. Bethany has already made
    a church commitment to us, but we will be seeking for some individuals to
    join us.

  • October 30-We will be visiting Rogers Park Community Church here in
    Chicago to present our vision. Tim Beavis is the founding pastor of this
    young church and a friend. As a young church, they don’t have many
    resources. Pray that God would bless them to bless us too.

Thanks for your prayers

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10 Guiding Financial Principles

Church Planting Front Page Leadership

I saw this over at

The following 10 church policies and principles were developed by
Brian Kluth and the church elders for use at Harvest Community


At the church leadership meeting on January 6th, the following
written financial policies and principles were approved. Although many of
these guidelines have been informally in place for several years, we felt
it was important for new attendees/members to understand the following
financial principles that provide a solid foundation that guides our
churches attitudes and actions in financial matters.

PRIMARY SOURCE OF CHURCH INCOME: Harvest Community Church is
dependent on God through the faithful and generous tithes and offerings
of God’s people to underwrite the church’s ministry, missions, building
and benevolence needs.

The rest of it can be found
here but I have copied the content below because it’s so good, I don’t want to lose it if the original site ever goes offline.

10 Guiding Financial Principles

The following 10 church policies and principles were developed by Brian Kluth and the church elders for use at Harvest Community Church:


At the church leadership meeting on January 6th, the following written financial policies and principles were approved. Although many of these guidelines have been informally in place for several years, we felt it was important for new attendees/members to understand the following financial principles that provide a solid foundation that guides our churches attitudes and actions in financial matters.


Harvest Community Church is dependent on God through the faithful and generous tithes and offerings of God’s people to underwrite the church’s ministry, missions, building and benevolence needs.


Harvest Community Church commits a minimum of 10% or more of Sunday offerings to God’s work in our world, country and community. The church has a Missions Committee and formal guidelines to review all mission requests. Harvest will accept designated missions gifts from individuals in the church that can be passed along to any Christian 501©3 non-profit organization.


Harvest Community Church will teach Biblical financial and giving principles through Bible studies, seminars, sermons, etc.. The goal of this teaching will be to help people become financially free in their lives in order to serve and honor God more fully and faithfully. To help encourage people to become faithful and generous givers to the Lord’s work (see Malachi 3:8-10), Harvest will offer a 90-day money back guarantee* for anyone who begins to give 10% or more of their income to the Lord’s work and within 90 days regrets this decision.

  • Anyone who begins tithing (giving 10% or more of their income to the Lord’s work) and who within 90 days regrets this decision or feels they have not experienced God’s help in their finances, can request within the 90 days a refund of any monies documented on their church giving statement that were given during this “90 day tithing test period.” Monies given before the 90 days, money given after the 90 days, tangible assets, and undocumented cash gifts cannot be refunded.


Because Harvest Community Church is dependent on God through the faithful and generous support of God’s people, Harvest discourages the use of fundraising events (banquets, bazaars, carnivals, festivals, bingo, craft sales, candy sales, product sales, raffles, fish fries, etc.) to help meet the church’s financial needs.


Harvest Community Church will send quarterly giving statements with church financial, missions, benevolence and/or other financial information and helps to encourage people’s faithful and cheerful giving to the Lord’s work at HCC.


Harvest Community Church will encourage people’s generous giving by allowing them to faithfully give through whatever means is most helpful to them (examples: Sunday offerings, giving envelopes, mail-in envelopes, stock transfers, gifts of appreciated assets and investments, automatic check withdrawal electronic fund transfers, gifts in kind, etc.). The church will abide by all IRS donation regulations.


Harvest Community Church will have a CPA involved in overseeing the church’s financial policies and procedures.


Harvest Community Church will have a benevolence program that will help people that are attending our church. Help will come in the following ways (depending on available resources, finances and individuals to give financial counsel):

  • One-time financial assistance of up to $100 (must be approved by an HCC pastor).
  • Needs assessment by a financial counselor from the church.
  • Partial assistance with short-term food needs.
  • Financial Bible studies and debt counseling.
  • Vocational and career testing and guidance.
  • Possible greater assistance (dependent on needs assessment, financial counseling, and participation in church financial teaching).

Harvest Community Church will semi-regularly conduct food drives for people in our community who need help. Normally this food will be channeled through an existing ministry that works with the poor and needy in our community.


Harvest Community Church will seek to meet its larger financial needs (building projects, equipment, vehicles, land, etc.) through communicating the plans and needs to God’s people and other individuals through letters, presentations, campaigns, visits, etc.. Harvest will accept designated gifts for board-approved building projects or major expenditures. In a desire to experience God’s divine direction and provisions for HCC, the church desires not to use bank mortgages or bonds to meet the church’s capital needs. With board approval, Harvest has accepted financial help of some no-interest loans to help with needed building construction and renovation projects.


Harvest Community Church will annually communicate its general income and expenses at the congregational meeting in a summary pie chart format. Detailed financial statements will be available at the end of the congregational meeting for anyone who would like a copy. Any individual who would like to review the church’s financial records or would like to ask detailed financial questions is always welcome to schedule an appointment with the church treasurer at anytime.

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A Plan for Leadership Development

Front Page Lafayette Leadership

My assignment from yesterday’s CECL session was to write up a preliminary plan for leadership development in a church. Considering that I am preparing to start a new church, I thought in terms of developing leaders from the “ground up” so to speak.

It’s a rough draft, but this is what I have so far. I’d love to see your comments on it.

Creating a leadership development strategy:

What do I really want to accomplish when it comes to leadership development?

When it comes to leadership development, I really want to help people become fully committed followers of Jesus who are capable of using their unique giftedness to lead others in identifying and taking next steps unique to them.

Being a fully committed follower means:

  1. GOD-CONNECTED: Having a deeply intimate personal relationship with God that incorporates key disciplines of spiritual renewal and works out in a desire to proclaim the greatness of God both to him in worship and to others in personal testimony.
  2. COMMUNITY: Having a real sense of love and camaraderie with others in the various levels of interpersonal relationships: a few spiritually intimate relationships, 10-20 spiritually supportive friendships for care, counsel, and fellowship, a sense of unity and love for the 100 or so in my circle of concern, a commitment to the corporate cause of Christ, and a desire for those outside the family of God to join.
  3. GROWTH: Having a strong desire to identify areas of spiritual weakness or sin as well as areas of practical possibility and taking strategic steps to grow: education, training, experiences (risk taking), and even teaching others.
  4. MINISTRY: Eagerly pursuing God’s goals for my life in a way that makes full use of the person he has made me to be to give full expression to God’s love for others.

Full commitment has the upward, inward, and outward components balanced.

The Development Process

The church will be structured around a cyclical process that carries people through the four characteristics of a fully committed disciple according to their gifting and calling by God.

Level one:

  • Taking a class or attending a retreat to introduce the concepts and life transformation associated with each step of character development.
  • Getting into a relationship that builds the character traits into my life.
    • Mentor
    • Small Group
    • Class
    • Ministry Team
  • Developing a core habit / behavior associated with that character trait.
  • Sharing what I’ve learned from this class with someone who hasn’t taken it.

Level two:

  • Convert current mentor relationship to a coaching relationship.
  • Mentor another person all the way through level one

Level three and on:

  • Lead a small group and develop leaders
  • Coach small group leaders
  • Teach a class and develop teachers.
  • Coach teachers
  • Lead a ministry team and develop leaders.
  • Coach ministry team leaders
  • Launch a new work of God
  • Coach other launchers

My hangups with this method so far:

  • It’s too complicated
  • It’s too formalized
  • It covers too much ground
  • I want to retain the simplicity of “next step” thinking.
    • Yes, there should be some standard steps for anyone to take,
    • But, there will also be unique steps.
    • Serious care needs to be taken to track which steps are the essential ones.
  • Should priority be given in the structure to the person’s individual connection with God or to the person’s connection to the Christian community?

My hangups with the purpose driven model:

  • It fails to directly address the centrality of God / worship in the developmental structure.
  • It splits ministry from mission and discipleship from evangelism.
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Prayer Update

Lafayette Prayer Requests


All of you know at this point that we are on our way to Lafayette, IN in the near future and hopefully most of you have received a full prayer update in your regular mail box at home—if not please respond to this and let me know and I’ll make sure you get one soon!! We have been praying for each of you on a regular basis too and are excited to hear about what has been happening in each of your lives.

We have just a few exciting updates since our last regular letter that I thought you’d like to know about.

  1. We still have a long way to go in raising our support, but God (and many of our friends and family) have been so very generous already. It’s been wonderful!! Pray for God to continue to bless this.

  2. We and Northwest Baptist (where Jeff currently pastors) have decided that we will move in January, although everyone is graciously allowing for some flexibility there. We’d like to have at least 80% of our support raised by then. Pray for the necessary support and all the logistics with a move. We aren’t sure if we will go to an apartment or straight to a house when we get there so there is much to figure out regarding that. We are excited to have a date!

  3. We have 3 churches that we will be presenting our Lafayette church planting proposal to in October, Northwest Baptist (October 2) and two other Chicago churches (October 9 and 30). Pray that it is received well and that God would bless us with serious prayer support, financial support, and even some great Lafayette contacts.

  4. Jeff spoke with a team leader of a small group in Lafayette just last night. This small group is looking for a pastor to plant a church in the area. They have about 4 couples attending the group and a list of about 40-60 people who are “ready to go” when they have a pastor. We, and they, need much prayer to determine if this is a good match or not. Jeff had a good conversation with them last night and we may meet in person the weekend of September 25. This is a really exciting possibility, but we need much wisdom about moving forward with it or not.

  5. We hope to travel to Lafayette from Thursday, September 22 to Sunday the 25th, to see the area, look into housing and meet in person with a few contacts. Pray for safety, great meetings, that we see and hear all we need to see with both people and housing, and that we make a few new contacts in the process.

Thanks so much for praying!!


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Support is now at 37%

Front Page Lafayette

Jen and I just received our latest notice from Midwest Church planting. Last month, we had two new families come on board as supporters and one of them was a monthly commitment of $100! Praise God! We are now at 37%.

If you would like to see our support chart, go to our main website There isn’t much there yet, but there is a cool chart to keep you up to date on our support level.

If God is leading you to make a contribution, the easiest way for you to do so is to click here to access our online response form.

In other news, Jen and I have some appointments to make our presentation to two different churches during October. At the beginning of the month, we will be at Bethany Baptist in Harwood Heights, IL (Pastor Rob Nelson), and at the end of the month, we will be at Rogers Park Community Church (Pastor Tim Beavis).

We still have a long way to go, but Jen and I are trusting God for more miracles just like you!

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“Longing for a Church”

Church Planting Front Page

I recently read an article from “Brother Maynard” at Subversive Influence in which he identifies the 9 things he is looking for in a church.

This list is interesting to me because Brother Maynard is a self-confessed member of the emerging church movement which really is just a term to refer to churches that take ministry to the postmodern culture seriously enough to change the way they do things and the way they think about things.

However, as I read the list, I couldn’t help think critically about some things. For the sake of reference, I’m summarizing his main points here:

  1. I long for a church that is low-key. (No hype and an awareness that worship can be intellectual as well as emotional.)
  2. I long for a church with deep interpersonal relationships…Faith walks need camaradarie, lives shared one with another.
  3. I long for the challenges which God give the grace to attain, rather than the challenges of men which one strives fruitlessly to attain.
  4. I long for a decentralized structure, and I long for servant leadership among peers.
  5. I long for a culturally relevant church…Being culturally relevant in the early 21st century means understanding -gasp!- postmodernism.
  6. I long for a church that can be outwardly-focused without constantly pushing evangelism on the congregation, and for a church that does not relate evangelism with church growth as an end.
  7. I long for a church that recognizes the value of ancient traditions.
  8. I long for a church that is not uncomfortable with mystery or with the sacraments.
  9. I long for a church that recognizes the value of story.

Click here to read the whole article.

As I read through his list, I resonated with some of what he said, but I couldn’t help feeling a little uncomfortable at the same time. It wasn’t until I got to the end of the article that I really understood what was making me feel uncomfortable.

Whose church is it?

This is a list of 9 things that Brother Maynard wants in a church, but honestly, do any of us have the right to make up such a list? After all, whose church is it anyway? As far as I know, the only one who can claim ownership over the church is the builder of it himself—Jesus, and the things he wants in a church are among the following…

  1. Love for him
  2. Love for the community of faith
  3. Representing him to the unbelieving world
  4. Faithfulnes through hardships
  5. Faithfulness to his teaching
  6. Complete reliance on him

Consider these passages…

… I will build my church…
Matthew 16:18

Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:37-40

[Jesus prayed], “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
John 17:20-23

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Acts 1:8

Also see Revelation 2-3.

Now, I’m not going to be too critical about the article that Brother Maynard wrote because he basically is making a list of how he believes these basic things should be lived out in a church these days, and I’m not against making lists about what a church should look like. I’m doing the very same thing myself as I’m trying to determine what a biblical and healthy church will look like in the context of Lafayette, Indiana; however, whether Brother Maynard knows it or not, he (and me too if I’m not careful) is contributing to a consumeristic Christianity that says the church is all about what I want.

I believe it’s time to refocus ourselves on what the church should be from God’s eyes. Certainly, we have to consider what the church will look like from the eyes of the watching world ( “…have a good reputation with outsiders…” 1 Timothy 3:7), and we should certainly consider what the church feels like from the inside for the spiritual support, nurture, and growth of believers; but we should never let such pragmatic concerns be the starting point for our discussion about the church.

Honestly, I’m a Baptist, but I don’t even want to talk about what role the sacraments should have in the context of a church without first talking about what role God and His Word should have.

I’m all for pragmatics, but I think it’s about time for Christians to stop talking about “what I want” and to start asking two completely unselfish questions about the church:

  1. What does God want to be true about my character?
  2. What actions should I be taking to fulfill God’s call on my life?

For me, I know that God wants me to develop a deeper quality of love for him and for others, and that I need to be planting a church that is reaching lost people with the fabulous news of the God who loves them so much that he would rather die than live without them in his family.

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The cat’s out of the bag

Church Planting Front Page

My wife and I have just recently told our congregation that we are following God’s leading to start a new church in Lafayette, Indiana. We’ve been thinking and praying about church planting for some time, and I even had a (secret) weblog about our initial investigations into church planting and where we might plant a church.

We told our congregation yesterday that we will be moving to Lafayette, Indiana as soon as we can raise the needed funds to plant a church there, so now the secret is out and I really don’t need that other weblog anymore. I’ve moved all of the entries from that log over to here under the “Church Planting” category.

I’ll be writing more about it here, but at least now, you don’t have to feel strange if you see new posts in the archives and wonder how I suddenly was able to write some things a month ago.

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It’s Official

Front Page Lafayette

That’s right, it’s official. Not only have Jen and I made a decision about where we will be planting a church, but we have also made the announcement to our congregation!

Are you ready?

We will be planting a church in Lafayette, Indiana!

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Supposed to make a real decision

Church Planting Front Page

Well, the Vision Team of our church has asked Jen and me to make an announcement on Sunday letting the congregation know that we are being led to start a new church. We had all agreed that it would be okay and even a good thing to let the congregation know before we knew where we were going to go. I was really sold on that idea because I thought it would give the church a great opportunity to “join in” with us as we prayed over where God would have us go.

However, I spoke with Gary Rohrmayer (the Director of Church Planting for the [Midwest Baptist Conference][1]) and he clearly said that he would recommend against that. He said that when making an announcement like this, some people will be hurt, and any ambiguity that is left will only serve to prolong the hurt. Announcements like this need to be as clear as possible so that the congregation knows that God really is in it.

He also challenged me to think about why I haven’t yet been able to decide upon a location. He said that perhaps this challenge to reveal our plans to the congregation were a way of pushing us to make a decision. He said that perhaps I needed to just step out in faith and claim that God is leading us to _.

I think it might be Lafayette, and I’m not sure why I don’t want to take the plunge and make that commitment.

Regardless, I really want to be a church planter who listens to his coach, and that means I can’t reveal anything to the congregation until I know where we are going. Or it means that I need to make a decision by this Sunday.

It ruins my idealism of having a whole church unify together to support me and my wife as we seek God in this. But Gary reminded me that some people might be mature enough to do that, but the majority of the people in the congregation won’t be.

Can I decide by Sunday?

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A decision has been made!

Church Planting Front Page Prayer Requests

Well, it’s not the BIG decision, but it is a little decision. Jen and I will be telling our congregation this Sunday that God is leading us into church planting. We don’t have a definite location, and we don’t have a definite timeframe, but the indications all point to the fact that we probably won’t be at NWBC for much longer than 6-9 more months.

Pray for us as we present this to our church.

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