Sunday, February 9, 2014

God's Provision: A New Location, A New Time, & A New Logo

The church planting ministry presents a number of difficult challenges. We take the gospel to places filled with people who do not yet know Jesus, tell them about Him and what He has done for them, and gather the new believers together as a new church. As a result of our ministry, we serve on the front lines of spiritual warfare. Therefore, we must completely depend on the Lord for all things. Sometimes our dependence upon him is easy and sometimes it is hard, but it is always an absolutely essential element of our ministry.

The Lord always comes through for us according to His excellent timing and perfect will. When we experience the unforgettable, inexplicable, provision of God, our faith grows and we are prepared to serve one more moment, one more day, one more week, one more month, one more year in a difficult ministry.

Here at River City Church, we experienced God's provision in this way recently. So bear with me while I brag about our Lord for a minute!

Our original location was a great start for us but we needed some more space to adequately disciple our children and the cost of rent was preventing us from fulfilling the ministries to which we are called to complete. We began praying and asking the Lord to provide a new ministry center for us. After some time praying, another local Baptist church (Grandview Heights Baptist Church) agreed to allow us to share their facility with them. We pay much less each month and have much more space! Only the Lord could do that!

The GHBC folks welcomed us in with open arms. Their hospitality has been humbling and they provide a great example to us, as a church plant, of God's grace and provision through existing ministries. I still remember our first Sunday in the new location. I remember realizing what brothers and sisters before us had sacrificed to provide this location for us to use now. I wish I could thank them. Perhaps our best thank you will be the way we serve in the future.

Along with our new location comes a new logo and new worship times. Check these out! God is so good!

Monday, September 17, 2012

3 Ways to Save Money in Your Church Plant

Church planting can be an expensive ministry but it doesn't have to be one. In this article, I offer three ways to save money in your church plant...

1) Reuse other's VBS materials.
Many churches use their Vacation Bible School materials one time and throw them away. As a new church plant, we did not have the money to purchase VBS materials. Our friends at First Baptist Church of Dunkerton, Iowa were happy to pass on their materials to us free of charge. We received all of their purchased materials as well as a truckload of decor! Once VBS was finished, we left many of the decorations up in the children's department as our decor theme for the year.

2)  Ask churches to help with your audio/visual needs.
Some of the most expensive items to purchase for a new church plant are audio/visual equipment. While we would all love the opportunity to enjoy a shopping spree at the local A/V store, churches can be a great source of free or cheap used equipment. In my weekly newsletter update, I asked churches to assess their A/V equipment assets and let me know if they had anything they weren't using and would like to give to our church plant. Some readers gave money specifically for the purchase of equipment and Amazing Grace Baptist Church gave us a truckload of equipment, which they had received from another church but had not used!

3) Mobilize your troops to get things done.
When we signed the lease for the storefront property that would serve as our ministry/worship center, it needed a lot of work. We had to design and build walls and a stage, run wiring for sound and televisions, and paint every square foot of the property. That would have cost tens of thousands of dollars to be done by a contractor. Instead, we prayed for the Lord to send the right people to help us get the job done for the cost of materials only. He answered our prayers and the right people came forward from our core group and sponsor church to lead us through the renovation. The Baptist Convention of Iowa sent a group to help one Saturday and New Life Church, our sponsor, helped throughout the process. It took longer then if we hired a contractor and it became my full-time job for about a month, but we saved a bunch of money doing it ourselves.Our people also developed a sense of ownership and were strengthened as a core group through the work.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Does God Know What's Going On?

So this is what I see happening in our world right now. I see...
 - A world that seems to be incessantly on the brink of war.
 - Thousands upon thousands of unborn children murdered annually.
 - Christians brutally persecuted for their faith.
 - Rampant disease.
 - Massive flooding.
 - Wildfires.
 - Drought.
 - A world market that appears to be on the verge of collapse.

I am sure you have observed many, many other events of this nature. Let me ask you something. As we live in the midst of times such as these, to whom or what will we place our faith? In our daily quiet time today, Darlene and I talked about God's steadfast presence in our lives. We realized that no matter what our circumstances portray to us, God is there steadily, purposefully working everything out.

Psalm 146:1-10 confronts me with a very important question: In whom or what will I place my faith?

Psalm 146:1–10 (ESV)

1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! 2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. 3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. 4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. 5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; 8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. 9 The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 10 The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord! 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter in the Garden

Hey everyone. I just wanted to invite you to join us at River City Church for a worship service and Easter egg hunt!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

River City Church: Our Vision for the Future!

Here is a quick video presentation of what we hope the Lord will accomplish through River City Church in the next few months.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Darlene in Missions Mosaic!

Hey everyone. I am so excited to post this article of my wife Darlene who was featured in the Missions Mosaic magazine recently. I am reminded of what a great partner I have in the ministry. Praise God for awesome wives!

Click here for the full article.

Reprinted from the February, 2012, issue of Missions Mosaic, Woman’s Missionary Union, Birmingham, Alabama. Used by permission. To receive this issue, or subscribe to Missions Mosaic, call 1-800-968-7301.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Do we really want to see God move?

I would define God-sized movements as events in our world that no person or persons could ever have accomplished on their own. As a church planter (someone working to start a new church) I often pray for God to move. I ask Him to use me and others in our ministry for His glory. Today I caught myself wondering if I was really ready for Him to move in a God-sized way. Do I really want to be a part of a God-sized movement? Am I willing to follow His lead wherever it may lead? What if He moves in a way I am not prepared to go?

This led me to check out some of God’s great movements in the Bible. I wondered if studying these would help me prepare to be a part of what He is doing here in Dubuque. Check out these top 3 movements of God in the book of Acts and how they were so far outside of the box for those involved:

1) Acts 1: The disciples eagerly anticipate Jesus’ immediate restoration of Israel. Instead Jesus is taken away, the Holy Spirit came, and He would begin God’s work to gather people from every tongue, tribe, and nation. The Old Covenant was fulfilled in Jesus, the Messiah, and a New Covenant had begun in order to build God’s church, a spiritual Israel.

2) Acts 9: Saul, a zealous persecutor of the followers of Jesus, becomes a believer himself. God has plans for him to “carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (v.15). Little does anyone know that Saul, later named Paul, would share the gospel and plant churches throughout the Middle East and even in Rome, which was probably the most powerful city in the world at that time.

3) Acts 10: Peter, an apostle of Jesus, receives a command from God to go and share the good news about Jesus to a family of Gentiles (people who were not Jewish). “While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word” (v.44). Later, Peter meets with other apostles and church leaders in Jerusalem to talk about what happened. Here is what happened: “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life’” (11:18).

What is the common thread in each of these movements of God? In each event, I see two things. First, I see man-sized expectations completely obliterated by God’s awesome work. Second, I see God doing things that no person could ever accomplish on his or her own. In Acts 1 we learn that Jesus’ kingdom would be of an incomprehensible magnitude including all of creation. That is quite larger than the disciples initially expected! In Acts 9 we learn that Saul would be used by God as a catalyst for the worldwide proclamation of the Gospel. Who would have thought that the “kings” to which God was referring would be the most powerful men in the world! In Acts 10 we learn that all people everywhere are invited to be followers of Jesus and adopted into the family of God. A movement that began in an obscure corner of the world soon became the hope for everyone in all of the world for all time.

I think we could all agree that these three events are God-sized movements. When we apply our two observations of these events to the ministry today, our initial question becomes much more critical. In lieu of the fact that God’s movements oftentimes obliterate our expectations and are of such a great magnitude that we could never accomplish them on our own.

As we continue to pray for God-sized movements, should we also pray that we are prepared to be a part of movements of God? Do we really want to be a part of a God-sized movement? Are we willing to follow His lead wherever He directs? Just a thought from Dubuque, Iowa, where we long to see God move and hope He will use us to do so.