When does a church actually start?
Somewhere in the early parts of 2020, we began praying about starting a church. Prior to that, people believed we could start a church and planted the idea in our hearts. By mid-spring of 2020, we were actively having conversations about whether or not we were called to this sort of work. In the summer of 2020, we received affirmation from multiple organizations that we had the competencies to be church planters. Later that summer, we discovered Fairfield County and began focusing on this area as the place we were called to relocate. In the winter of 2021, we set the paperwork in motion to create a legal entity for a church in Connecticut; and, later in the spring, we began officially working as staff members. This past summer we moved into Fairfield and became residents of the community. And this fall, we had our first family commit to helping us launch a new church.
Our hope is to continue building a launch team who will join us in opening a public worship service about year from now, in the fall of 2022.
So when does the church start?
The fact that someone from this area recognizes the work God is doing and longs to be part of it feels like an arrival point. We are by no means done, but there is cause for great celebration at this milestone. This confirmation of our calling came right on time.
In the eyes of many, this church still hasn’t started. In the eyes of God, it’s already beginning to bear fruit. There’s a principle around church planting: “You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed.”
The parable of the sower teaches that the fruitfulness of the seed is unknown to the sower at the time of sowing. Some seed yields a hundred-fold harvest while other seed yields sixty- and thirty-fold.
We continue to operate in the blind with regards to how fruitful each seed we sow will become, how many apples may be in any given seed. In some ways, this first family joining feels like a huge harvest. In another sense, this first family joining feels like a new seed.
Has the church even started or is it already multiplying?
God’s ways of moving are truly beyond our comprehension (Ecclesiastes 3.11), but our greatest joy is found in participation (Ecclesiastes 3.12). There are more dimensions to God’s activity than we can pin down at any given time. We’re enjoying the work we’re called into, sowing and harvesting as God directs.