Soooooo much happening in our lives in the next few months! I will start with the church here in Troy...
It is no secret that we have struggled as a church. This struggle goes back long before we (and even most of the church members currently involved) were here. This is a church that has been on it's "last leg" for 20+ years. When we came two years ago, it was the last chance for the church to make it. Funny how God works.
Having been in a redevelopment church in Ohio that went relatively well (and developed life-long friendships for us) I guess we felt that we had some experience in this area! The truth is, though both churches were on redevelopment, that is where the similarities end. Kinsman was a country church with a rich history of families being there for generations, and those generations worshiping together. It is a small town with traditional views and life that is a lot slower than here in NY. There were issues in the church, but truthfully, after a rocky start, God intervened and the church started healing and growing again pretty fast. And it was definitely God - we had no clue what we were doing! :)
Enter Troy, NY. Small city where most people commute to Albany to work or work at the colleges in town. Busy-ness is a constant way of life. There are few stay-at-home moms and even fewer home schoolers! And the problems at the church were not things that had blown up suddenly in the year prior to us coming (like in Kinsman) but rather from decades of bad leadership. I am not saying this is true of all the pastors previous - but how long do you fight when you are constantly running into a brick wall?
Still, in the last 6 months God has made it clear to Shawn and I and the leadership here that he is not completely done with this church. But instead of doing things our way, it was time to figure out where HE wanted us. Troy is a city with hundreds of churches and only in the thousands of church people. The problem is that MOST of the churches in the area are fighting for those people. It is not even a conscious thing, but it is the truth. We were doing the same thing - and losing the battle in amazing ways! We do not have the manpower, people, resources, money or anything to "outdo" the churches that can run amazing kid's programs, put on a concert each Sunday, and do other things. This sounds like I am making excuses, but actually I am confessing that we wallowed in self pity too long. Then God started to wake us up as we found ourselves in a desperate spot of sink or swim - NOW!
So here is what he has put on our hearts in the last few months: We are church planting.
Yep...you heard me! We have had plenty of opportunities to reach college students and international students. We have a plethora of apartments behind the church filled to the brim with young families. We have parents of young adults attending the church that want to see their de-churched kids back in church. But none of these people see the relevancy to what we are doing in Sunday mornings. We want to reach these people - the ones who do not know Jesus, the ones who are less than excited about church, but are still (inside) hungering for Jesus and to know their purpose!
We already have a building that is paid off. We have a pastor who has lived here two years and has relationships. And we have a core group of people who are praying and on board. God has also provided an amazing worship band in the form of students right now (and Shawn and I, which is just funny!)
So on Wednesday, October 20th at 7pm we are kicking off "Compelled!"
This is our last chance...can you pray for us?
1. that we are following HIS lead all the way through this
2. That we fall more and more in love with him and are able to lead others to that spot
3. That The Spirit moves and people in Troy see church not only as relevant, but the actual beautiful bride of Christ that we are
4. We need more musicians - people who are settled into the area and not leaving every year. I love the students, but we need a sold base that will last.
5. For a person to come that Shawn can work with to become the pastor of this church eventually, as we do still feel that we are called to overseas ministry. Obviously we are open to His leading in this.
6. For a worship leader (Shawn wants one with a British accent!)
7. For steadfastness and Spiritual protection of our church and all the people involved in this ministry.
2 Corinthians 5:14 "For Christ's love COMPELS us..."