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By churchsaversites, Aug 22 2018 03:09PM

Starting a church is hard. Starting a church in the country is hard. Starting a church in the country when you haven't lived there long and the community doesn't know you well is VERY hard.

But, here we are.

Through what I can only describe as a circuitous journey across the country back and forth (four times!) we landed on a beautiful property in the northeastern corner of Kentucky, just into the hills of the Appalchian mountiains. When we first arrived here, we were invited to several different churches of different denominational persuasions. Having been a small church pastor for about a decade, I thought that perhaps taking on a new role as a minister of some sort in a bigger church might be the next step. Maybe God wanted us to sit for a while and be ministered to. But that isn't what happened.

Trying to fit into mainstream Christianity has never been easy for me. And what my wife and i discovered is that "all that glitters isn't gold" proves true quite often. When we entered churches without advertising our ministry background, what we experienced is just how tribal and off-putting some churches can be. We also experienced the following life lessons:

-what its like to be ignored

-treated as outsiders because no one knew us

-confused by a lack of direction from the church staff

-lost in a crowd

-have our kids mistreated the very first time they attended a Sunday School class

-be overwhelmed with information and programs

-have pastors insult us and our kids both intentionally and unintentionally

-really like the church people and really dislike the pastor

-really like the pastor and really dislike the church people

-experience over-hyped emotionalism described as spirituality

-experience dry, boring, lifeless meetings described as spiritual

-told that "we accept everybody", only to be rejected when they find out who you are (doctrinally speaking)

The list could go on. In all I think I counted 11 different churches we visited in the time between when we first arrived to this area and when we decided to start having home fellowship. Some recruited us to be part of their team. Others couldn't have cared less if we ever visited again. But in the end, we just didn't fit with any of them.

I heard somewhere that you know your calling when you can't get away from it. I tried to resist being a church pioneer. I don't enjoy the process of loneliness and frustration that often comes along with being the first family of a brand new church. However, it is who we are. And truthfully, there is no lonelier feeling than being in a crowd of a thousand strangers with no sense of self purpose. We see the need in this community for life giving ministry. We see the need for what we are and who we are. So, we have embraced (I have embraced, finally. A lot later than my wife did) the call to be a shepard seeking to grow a flock from faith.

I said all of that to say this: We need support! We need prayer covering for several areas of need:

-Finances beyond the immediate need. We are blessed to have an arrangement that allows us to be able to use a facility for minimal costs. However, it is limiting in our access to it and in its viability for the vision God has given us. Eventually, we need a place dedicated to our sole use. That requires money to be saved, of course. So we need more income than out-go.

-Helpers, laborers, musicians, apostles, prophets, evangelists and pastor/teachers. In short, we need people to buy into the vision and join us in carrying it out.

-That our faith will not fail. God has never failed yet. But we can short circuit our own blessing if we faint. We need the first love and faith of Jesus to continuallly remind us of the Promises of God, the Faithfulness of God and the Provision of God.

-Righteousness, Peace and Joy. That is the Kingdom of God. We want that to be the central heartbeat of our gatherings and efforts!

Thanks for taking the time to read this. We appreciate all of your love and support for the work here. There are great challenges in this region. Drugs, poverty, crime and dysfunction are plentiful. But where sin abounds, GRACE does much more abound! With the Lord's help, we will make a difference in Jesus Name!

In Love~ Pastor Chad Davis

By churchsaversites, Jun 11 2018 07:48PM

Church Growth in a week!

5 Easy Steps to Revival!

How to Unlock Your Church's Growth Potential!

The Three Biggest Mistakes Pastors Make That Keep Your Church From Being What God Wants It To Be!

Over and over again, my email inbox is flooded with methods, groups, ideas, events, conferences and organizations all opining about how to fix the problem of "How do I grow my church into a mega church?", while simultaneously insinuating that anyone with less than 1000 followers is a failure who needs to rethink their life.

Pastoring a church is hard enough without the added burden of unrealized expectations. Many times, we get saddled with standards that are simply too difficult to live up to. But the area of church growth seems to be one that is placed on us by our own ambitious designs for the work God has called us to.

"Why isn't the church growing the way I envisioned? What am I doing wrong? How do I identify and remove the hindrances to world wide domination?"

This seems to be a regular theme among so many that are called to lead God's flock. But is God asking that question? IS it His design to see every church become a behemoth of monstrous size? Or could it be that WE are asking it for our own prideful lusts?

We know that some are called to lead large groups. But that is statistically a very few. Most churches average between 50 and 80 members, depending on whose stats you look at. That means for every mega church of 1000 or more, there are dozens of small churches numbering in the tens or even less. So are the majority of pastors failing at their God-given calling? Is there a flaw so prevalent in Christian leadership that only a handful of special people have figured out the secret to overcoming it?

My answer is unequivocally NO!

All throughout Scripture we are told to seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness, and "all these things will be added unto you". We are told that God's Kingdom is not what we see with our eyes, but that it is within us. Yet, like David, we are tempted to number the people and evaluate our relative success or failure by how many people are around. Yet, like David, I don't think God is pleased with us when we do that.

Some are given one talent, some 5 and some 10. Yet the parable says that the one talent sevant was not judged for only having one talent, but for misusing that talent. My belief is that multitudes of ministers are leading lives of depression and feel like failures because they look on with envy at those who have been given more "talents" than themselves. But God is the One who grows His church. And God is the one who calls men and women to towns and hamlets and neighborhoods, just like He calls certain individuals to cities and nations. Instead of judging one another by the size of our congregations, perhaps we should begin using the same standard that God uses: faithfulness.

The great T.F. Tenney (who recently passed on to his reward, God rest his soul) once said "God has not called you to be successful, He has called you to be faithful!" True words from a wise man, indeed. When God sends someone into a place, He does so with knowledge that His word will not return void. Jesus tells us of four different kinds of soil, and only one is called good. So, if even the Lord Himself had opposition to His message, how can we expect that every person we witness to or every sermon we preach will be received gladly?

What it comes down to is faith. What are we placing our faith in? What is the foundation on which we are building the church? Is it the Gospel as delivered by the apostles, Jesus Himself being the chief cornerstone? Or are we building it upon methods and music and finances?

Truthfully, I felt like God clarified this for me several weeks ago. While speaking to a friend of mine, we were discussing how the church he serves in was having contests for fundraising and focused on what he considered to be gimmicks to get people to like the church. He lamented that it just felt like a lot of hype and not much substance in their gatherings of late. This resonated with me, as we have visited many churches since moving to Eastern Kentucky and found that the gospel takes a back seat to church dogma and identifying with a denomination in many places. That is when my friend said the words that have stuck with me: "Why isnt the Gospel enough?"

I was immediately convicted. So many times I have been like the 10 faithless spies who went into Canaan and came back saying "We are like grasshoppers in our own sight". They saw the obstacles, rather than having faith in the God who Overcomes. And so it is with each of us in our lives and ministries. Obstacles will ALWAYS be present. The Gospel is enough. People will ALWAYS be a problem. The Gospel is enough. Answers may not come when we want them to. The Gospel is enough.

We must put our faith in the Gospel, not in methodology, marketing strategies or discipleship classes. We will see God's results when we rely on God's work. All growth is not godly growth. Cancers metastacize. Ungodly groups can gather a following. Numbers are not the undisputed tool of evaluation. If we lead small groups, if we lead large groups, if we only lead our family, as long as we are making the Gospel of Jesus our foundation and staying faithful to His words of life and truth, we cannot fail.

By guest, Oct 8 2015 08:00AM

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