The much anticipated Renovate Church Austin vision night took place yesterday and I couldn’t be more excited with how the evening went! Thank you so much for praying for this gathering – we could definitely feel your prayers and support throughout the week and throughout the meeting.
A couple of things really stood out to me last night. First, it was really encouraging to see a room full of Christ-followers interested in planting a church where the primary focus is on other people and others getting an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel. It is so important in church planting to be “outward focused” from the beginning and not “inward focused.” As my Lead Pastor at Traders Point Christian Church used to say, “the church is one of the only organizations that does not primarily exist for itself or its members. It exists in large part for those outside of itself.”
I shared last night that each of us had come to experience the grace of God because other people sacrificially went before us in prayer, service, and evangelism. Every single person in the room could point to at least one other person from their journey who was significant in them coming to faith. I love what Jesus said to his disciples in John 4:38 when talking about the harvest, “I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” Wherever you see the kingdom of God advancing somebody has done the hard work to prepare the way. We want to be the type of people who give others in our community an opportunity to hear and respond to the gospel and be part of a healthy church.
The second thing that stood out to me was how much the group enjoyed being together and were genuinely interested in one another. This is a group that I would genuinely want to do life and ministry with. It is crucial in church planting that real “community” begins to form because you are ultimately inviting outsiders into something. If your initial “community” is full of selfishness, strife, mistrust, or apathy this will become the prevailing culture of the church and it is very hard to change. However, if your initial relationships are loving, caring, trusting and unified than this becomes the culture. It is April and I’s desire to plant a deeply committed, loving, unified church that brings glory to God by how we “love one another.”
Thank you again for your support over the last several months. You have modeled well for us what we want to reproduce here – people who love well and care about those outside the church. Have a great week!
Dave and April