This month we celebrate our 5th birthday as a church! I still remember our first service. We had 29 people and about 10 of them came from other places just to support us. We did the best we could with what we had at the time. Five years later, we have seen many miracles, God’s church built and lives changed.
It’s been a slow and difficult process at times, but I am more excited and hopeful than ever about where God is leading us.
Here are 5 things we’ve learned from our first five years as a church.
1) Church planting has been one of the most challenging…and most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. I regularly tell people marriage and church planting have been the two most difficult things I have ever taken on. Both are extremely difficult but have the potential to be extremely rewarding. I say “potential” because, as we all know, they also have the potential to be nightmares. My church planting experience has been dark at times, but only because God was working on the darkest parts of me.
Not that I’ve arrived, but as I let the Lord overcome the darkness in my own heart, hope and life and light begin to take root and spring up. I began to look past the challenges and see how God was moving and experience fruitfulness.
2) The people are better than we ever could have imagined. Our good experiences with people far outweigh the bad ones. The family God has provided us through Journey Church is amazing. The way they have given, sacrificed and loved has been more than we could have ever imagined. Gina and I are grateful for each one of you. Thank you for being you and thank you for being a bright spot on our journey!
We try to live our life by this philosophy: think the best about people and always give them the benefit of the doubt.
3) God is more faithful than we ever imagined. What can we say? God has never let us down. Even when we were white knuckling it and holding on for dear life. God has remained faithful, always. Not that we thought He wouldn’t, but you don’t really get a chance to see how faithful God is until you put it all on the line.
Think the best about God. Trust Him implicitly. God is faithful even when we are faithless.
4) Perseverance is the key to so many things. If there is one thing we’ve learned, it’s that perseverance matters a lot. There are simply things you will never get to see and experience if you aren’t willing to persevere.
Whatever is happening in your life, hold onto God past the point you think you are able because that’s when His grace and strength start to kick in. As you persevere, God will use it to develop character and maturity in your life.
I (Kent) remember a time I was walking in Harvard Square and complaining to the Lord about how hard things were. I said (rather emphatically), most people would have quit by now! To which the Lord replied, “That’s why I chose you, because I knew you wouldn’t quit!”
So today, wherever you are on your journey, hold on! God and people are worth it!
5) There is always hope. Even when you think none exists, there is hope. Hope is that expectation in our heart that somehow, someway, God will come through. Look for the hope in every situation. Be a hope filled person. Never give up hope. Things can always change. They can always get better. People need more hope not more pessimism; and that’s exactly what Christ gives us – hope!
Now these three remain – faith, hope and love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
To the people of Journey Church
Whether it’s been a few months or a few years, we hope you’ve enjoyed your time here and that God has used it to make you more like His Son, Jesus. You are the best people any pastor could ask for. What a privilege it is to serve you. Let’s keep praying, keep believing, keep sacrificing and keep loving, because I truly believe, the best is yet to come!
Last year we crossed the Jordan with the launch of Journey Church, this year we are taking Jericho through praise. The Promised Land awaits!