Revision Church is officially six months old. I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by. It really does seem like a couple of weeks ago we were sitting in my apartment having discussions about what our core values and beliefs were going to be and discussing the book Vintage Church. God has blessed us so much since those days. When we were preparing and planning for a future church plant, I never envisioned the things that are happening right now. Some things have gone as expected and some haven’t. Here are a few surprises I have seen so far:
The willingness to serve
I knew when we launched Revision we would need many people who were willing to serve and give of their time and resources for the good of the church. Regardless if your church is old or new, you need people willing to invest their lives in your church. We began with about ten people who were committed to Revision and now we have roughly 45 members. What has surprised me is how nearly every member is serving and involved in some capacity. During Sunday worship services and Community Groups alone we have people setting up curtains and chairs, playing in the band, getting technology ready for the worship service, hosting Community Groups, leading Community Groups, serving and bringing food and many, many other ways. Nearly everything that happens in the life our church has church members serving and contributing.
The eagerness to learn and mature
As a member of the teaching team, I know weeks and months before everyone what the sermon texts are going to cover. I admit there have been times when I was unsure how interested people were going to be in certain subjects, especially knowing how long the sermons tend be. But as of this post, I have not had one complaint about the content or the length of the sermons. In fact, I have had better responses on the sermons I was concerned over than I have on many of the sermons I was excited about. It is a great joy and honor to share in teaching and preaching to a congregation that loves the Bible and comes to a worship service excited about the sermons. If the Bible is being faithfully taught, God’s people will flock to it and want more of it. I honestly didn’t understand this before we planted the church like I thought I did.
The acceptance and flexibility with new and different things
We knew from the beginning that our church was going to be different in a few areas than what most people were accustomed to when attending a church service. Being aware of this, I felt we would have many conversations on why we were doing some of the things the way we were. I was expecting questions and concerns about our use and style of technology, but have heard nothing but good reports and interest in our technological direction. I expected concerns over the use of the word renewal in our documents and tag line and yet the doctrine has been warmly received. I expected concerns over the length of the sermons, but have been more encouraged and confident than ever in the preaching and teaching of the Bible. I expected many uneasy feelings over taking communion each week, but have been blessed each week to watch the body of Christ respond to the preaching of the gospel through this. There aren’t many things that fill my heart with joy more than seeing people stand together and observe the Lord’s Supper. There were other things I was concerned over. But all of my fears over how flexible our people would be has been changed into deeper a conviction: that God’s people want to be in a place where they can worship Christ with others they love. When that is happening, the church ends up pretty flexible and accepting on most other things. It’s usually the ministers who get concerned over these issues, not the members.
The fellowship that has happened quickly
As we were preparing to launch our church, I had many conversations with people, read lots of books and listened to many sermons and lectures about church planting. One thing I heard over and over was to be patient as people will be slow to develop friendships and fellowship with others. I expected our Community Groups to be a little awkward at first and for people to be slow to share and speak in front of the group, but this has not been our experience. Our church has had deeper fellowship than I have ever seen or been a part of. People have been open and honest, willing to meet outside of church functions, share struggles and victories, to let someone else offer counsel and impart wisdom to them, to serve each other and many other things as well. One reason is because our members have become interdependent on each other. Those who have joined Revision have done so knowing that they need a church family. Combing this with our lack of programs and outlets for fellowship outside of worship services and Community Groups has led to people having to depend on each other for fellowship and not programs. To my surprise and delight, this has happened much quicker and to a greater degree than I expected at this point. God has been so gracious and good by allowing us to experience biblical fellowship like we have.
We are so thankful for the people that the Lord has brought us, and the love that He is building within them for His Word and for biblical relationships. We pray He continues to shape us and guide us and that every season we will see new fruit of His presence among us.