Tuesday, April 17, 2007
giving life
I knew deep down that God was going to put us with a church plant. What I didn't know was that it would be to help do the actual planting. Well, sometimes I did but I just couldn't figure out how. If I go back to the archives of my blog, I can read about the journey my husband and I have been on. Several months ago I talked about having a burden for my neighbors and wondering if I was supposed to start having breakfast or brunch on Sunday mornings in my home and invite the neighbors (This is what Church planting is). Just about every single night I would lay in bed wondering what that really looked like. Back in forth in my mind was this whole idea in my head of what church was and what I did not want it to be. Could I have people over for breakfast and show them Jesus without talking about Jesus? Could I be friends with an unbeliever, a homosexual or whoever else the church decides is not worthy and love them for who they were? I felt like I could.

A few weeks ago, my husband had a conversation with someone about us moving and helping plant this church. I heard the questions he was asked. "Does your Pastor preach out of his home on Sundays? Is that how y'all do church?" I listened in as Jeremy tried to explain that Kyle was not preaching right now but investing in the community. He tried to explain that "church" for us was different than what others may be experiencing because we are at the very beginning. A lot of churches say they have church plants in other areas but really they are more like satellite campuses. If a church decides to start another church, they usually send some of their core members to the new location to get it going. Instantly they have members! And that in my opinion, is pretty easy to do. What we are a part of is nothing like that at all. So as Jeremy begins to explain that we are spending our time focusing on the community, he shares about Teacher Breakfasts that Resonate Community has been doing. "Sometimes they do things like go to schools in the area and serve breakfast. They don't put up a big sign that has the church name. They just serve." And then this question was asked, "They present the gospel, right?" Then Jeremy says, "No. They serve."

I am finding that the people that TRULY understand what we are doing, the people that are most supportive, the people that don't sit quietly with blank stares when we share the excitement of what we are doing, the people who TRULY understand are the non-church goers. Or they are people that are craving the exact thing we are. What is that? Well, we want to show people Jesus. It's that simple. And for some reason the "religious/spiritual" people question that because we don't have a Sunday service yet or because we participate in the community without carrying our Bibles. If you know your Bible, you know that Jesus offended the "religious" quite often. I'm finding for some odd reason, what we are doing offends the religious/spiritual. I can't tell you how many Christians gave us a hard time for not being in church for those EIGHT months we were out. Looking back, I know it was ALL a part of God's plan. I know now exactly what He was doing. But I am telling you right now, if we would have been in church, we would not have been willing to do something this big. No way! Now I know why we felt such yuckiness in our spirits every single time we visited a church. Without fail, we left feeling like there was no way we could go back to church as we knew it.

I do believe there is a time and a place for the in your face way of witnessing to someone. I've been through E.E. (Evangelism Explosion), I understand it but now I would never approach it with those methods. My friend Gina (from our church plant) would have slammed the door on that kind of approach. She recently became a Christ follower and is learning so much right now. She brings excitement to my life as I listen to her talk about the difference Christ has made in her life. One of the greatest things about knowing her is listening to her explain how she has always viewed Christians. Gina is from New York and I don't know if you have ever known a New Yorker but if you have or if you do, you will love their ability to BOLDLY tell the truth. I love it! I am attracted to truth tellers and she is one heck of a truth teller! What's so cool about her process is that she is experiencing church in a way far from what she originally thought it would be like. She figured we would all be a bunch of wackos, in your face, hypocrite freaks! She expected judgement, she expected rejection, she expected to endure pain by having relationships with Christians. Thank God for people like Kyle that want to lead a group of people in a way that proves the stereotype wrong. Oh sure, we will mess up. The thing about Christians is we are just like everyone else, but some of us think we are way better (I did). Gina called me the other day and gave me the greatest compliment someone could ever give me. "As I read through your blogs, I realize that you are just a normal, real person. I feel so blessed to have you here." Now folks, I gotta say THAT made me feel like God could definitely use me!

The truth is, I am just a real gal with real struggles and that's what makes church planting so incredible. I can be me. For once in my life, I truly feel like I can be the real me and God can still use me.

Tonight our team here at Resonate Community received a pretty cool email from our Pastor/friend. The email got me excited about this incredible thing we are a part of. I am so proud of this group! I think about how God placed us all together to bring about change in so many lives that we will come in contact with. Kyle will probably hate me quoting him but I am proud of him too and I TRUST him so much that I know we are going to be blessed as we follow his leading. God is working so much in his life and that gets me pumped! Two things he said in tonight's email that really got me excited. "My job is to make you guys the best you can be, to help you discover how God has created you and how he has saved you to make an impact in this world." Well there is a whole other blog I could write regarding that statement alone. Point being, it encouraged me and confirmed something in me that I had been praying about in my own life. Pretty cool! His last paragraph in the email was full of a lot of great stuff but the last sentence gave me chill bumps. "We get to see love envelop the broke-down, worn-out wanderers, giving them life in the process." WOW!!!!!!! I love that!

So there you have it! People can say what they want but we are a part of something that will change lives forever! People will see Jesus and people will find Jesus as we serve them and invest our lives in them.

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  posted at 12:15 AM

At 4:07 AM, Blogger Dee said...

Girl the more I hear the more I want to hear! Gina is right - I have said it all along - you are real! You don't put on a front - you and Jeremy disagree from time to time, you are not a perfect mother all the time, you have a few drinks from time to time.... all those NON-PERFECT things drew me to you and guess what I am a Christian. BUT - it's easy to feel as if you are singled out if you even admit your life isn't "perfect."

That my friend is what makes you God's choice for this church plant - your ability to serve, without needing the recognition AND your ability to share the REAL you!

I love you and lift you in prayer....

At 7:03 AM, Blogger April said...

Sometimes you wonder where so many went away from this very idea. This (your church plants) approach makes so much since. I want to pick up my husband and dog and head on down to Texas to be a part of it. This is exactly what Jesus would do. Why is the concept so foreign to so many (and so many Christians at that)??

-So that was not a comment it was more like 20 questions. I love your blog. It is right in check with where I am in my reservations with the traditional church in general. We go and are very active but I have recently started to wonder where "church" became the favorite social scene rather than a group of people on a crusade for Christ. I have a hard time not dwelling on this subject. I keep on reminding myself that I have to focus on my heart and my actions and somehow the rest will be taken care of??

At 7:15 AM, Blogger annie said...

Wow Amanda, it sounds incredible!
You and your family are in my prayers.
♥ Annie

At 1:49 PM, Blogger Borbe Bunch said...

Thinking of you often, praying for you and glad to read God is teaching you so much!
Love ya,
A sis in Christ....
Liz :)
p.s. being real is the best way to be blessed! :) thanks for being real, love that about you!

At 6:14 PM, Anonymous kaukee said...

Beautiful interpretation of your heart. Love it. I love you. Your honesty is a breath of fresh air and there are many that are proud of you and Jeremy.

At 6:33 AM, Blogger Gwen said...

What you are a part of is so exciting! I enjoy reading each new segment in this journey!

At 9:54 AM, Blogger Vivian said...

I can so get into this because it is what we touch on when we do our "Love Winnipeg" adventure each year.

I know you checked out the website last year, but keep checking it throughout June of this year. We hope to get lots of stories on there about how Christians got out of their pews and into their neighbours yards and lives.

THIS IS CHURCH! The more I read about Jesus, the more I'm convinced that we get so much of who he is wrong.

You can pray for a monday morning group that I started with my neighbour ladies...we've been doing Dr. Phil 'Family Matters' but we are almost done and they seem really open to trying out a Beth Moore study next. We had some really great God moments this past week. THIS IS CHURCH.

loving your stories, loving your heart and praying for you!


At 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Mom:

A good movie for ALL of you to see is "Pay It Forward". I have it DVRd. It was life changing and it was confirmation. It would be so good for you all to see it.

Not everyone will understand what you are doing. God does because He called you to do it. That's all that matters.

Unbeknownst to a lot of Christians, we all come in different packages. No two candy bars look the same but they are candy bars just the same! And, not all of them are coated in chocolate. Not all of them have nuts and some of them are nothing BUT nuts! They are still candy bars.

Not only are you taking God out of the box, you are cutting up the box and getting rid of the box.

I think it's awesome. I do not try to explain it. When you say "church plants" all some people see is Ficas trees with little white lites on them. Some just don't get it! I do.

luv u - supporting your vision


At 7:59 PM, Anonymous KA said...

We are a vessel. We can make our vessel what we want it. We ask God to fill our cup and we hold up a teaspoon. We limit God so many times-I know I do. I want an unlimited GOD. A no BOUNDRY, TIMELESS, UNCHANGING God. He is that already but we forget it so many times and try to place limits, times, moments when we want......In the last few weeks you have proved we serve a big God. I am so excited and proud of y'all. I miss you too.


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Location: Austin, Texas

Mommy, Mama, Mandi, Amanda, Babe and whatever else you want to call me! How do I have time to blog with three kids under the age of four? I'm up until midnight and usually later!

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