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