Planting Two Churches
When I came to Eastside Community Church (ECC) as a Church Planting Intern, my objective was to learn all that I could about church planting before “actually” planting. This is definitely an important step in my church planting journey. But what I didn’t realize all along was that everything I did as training at ECC was something I was actually doing for ECC. Every disciple, every church invite, every ministry I start, every process I put in place, every bit of set up and tear down and anything else I have done has all been to help a new church thrive!
I started at ECC when we were only 9 months old. There were about 60 in attendance here at that time. It was a beautiful community with a lead pastor that had an amazing heart and vision–not just for our church, but for our community. A year and a half later we are averaging about 100 in attendance. While I have learned a lot about creating sustainable, healthy growth in the early stages of a church, I have also contributed to that growth. I didn’t realize it, but all along, I was planting a church in East Austin. I didn’t have to be the lead pastor to do it.
It was also during this time that our lead pastor was investing in me and sharing all the successes and struggles he has experienced. Each ministry leader has given me a new picture of ministry in action in a totally different context than I was used to. I have learned so much and am thankful for a church that is willing to invest in future church plants. So, while there is still much work to be done to plant a new church, I am thankful that I have been able to participate in helping plant ECC. We look forward the time we have left in this beautiful community and while we are excited to plant a new church in the next couple of years, we will be sad to leave this beautiful family.
Healthy churches multiply
But isn’t this how healthy churches operate? Just like any healthy family, growth and multiplication are part of the process. As churches raise up future leaders, they aren’t just raising up leaders for their own community, but leaders of new communities. The more healthy communities we start, the more healthy growth we will see in God’s kingdom.
Pastors, there are future lead pastors in your congregation. Worship leaders, there are future worship leaders on your team. Children and youth pastors, there are future children and youth pastors on your team. Missionaries, there are future missionaries in the congregation. Community group leaders, there are future community group leaders in your group. Disciple makers, every disciple you make should be a future disciple maker. This is the culture of a healthy, multiplying church.
So my encouragement to all who might read this is to multiply! Disciple makers, make disciple-making disciples. Community group leaders, raise up more community group leaders. Missionaries, raise up new missionaries. Pastors and leaders of all kinds, raise up pastors and leaders of all kinds. Churches, plant new churches. Let every member of the body of Christ participate in the growth of God’s kingdom!
To all of you who are praying for our family and supporting us financially, you are basically getting a two-for-one deal! You are helping us plant ECC and our future church. I know that many of you long to join us and labor alongside of us, whether it would be in a short visit or even to move here for good. Thank you for all that you have sacrificed to see the kingdom of God continue to grow here in Austin.
To all of you who have labored or are laboring with us at ECC, you are part of a church that aims to plant multiple churches that plants multiple churches. Thank you for all that you have sacrificed to see the kingdom of God continue to grow here in Austin. There is much more work to be done!