God displayed His incredible kindness and power to us as we launched our church. My mom described that first Sunday really well on her blog right here. We had plenty of nerves on the day of our dry run, which just consisted of our core team and extended families. But I think that across the board we were all really joyful and at ease on our launch day. It's weird to say that it was fun, but it really was.
When people started arriving - and kept arriving and kept arriving - it was surreal. We had absolutely no idea how many folks to expect, but we certainly did not anticipate the crowd that we had. So many dear friends came, even from out of town, to cheer us on. That meant so much.
There's a statistic that says the average church plant has 50% fewer attendees on the second Sunday than on the first. Since I knew we had a lot of folks that first week who were only coming to encourage us, I tried to prepare my heart and mind for a much smaller crowd the second week. I was truly fine with that but I did not want it to discourage our team.
On the second Sunday I arrived a little frazzled, having not prepared very well for that morning. All our clothes needed to be ironed, which is never good. I'd intended to get us donuts on the way to church but the Lord whispered to my heart, "Give them cereal right now!" Ha! Our core team met to pray and after that the stress of the morning turned into peace. I hung out around the kids' check-in tables and got to meet some of our new families, which I loved.
Eventually I walked over to the chapel and I couldn't believe my eyes. People came back. It was not quite as full as the first week, but definitely in the same ballpark. This was not about numbers, but we were encouraged to have people to serve! (I may break out in "Be Our Guest" from Beauty and the Beast.) Along the way there have been more than a few "Are we crazy?" moments. When I saw our group, I knew that we were not crazy. We heard God in this. And then I freaked out a little because my husband is a pastor and I am a pastor's wife and do we have any idea what we're doing and we must be crazy! Ha!
Two really special moments that I will always remember are my Aunt Gay sitting with me on the front row on our launch day and later, Curt's family members calling one by one from Missouri to see how everything went. I got emotional when his grandpa called because I know he will probably never make it down here for a service, but he's so proud of his grandson. When Grandma Wanda, who is with Jesus now, saw Curtis for the first time as a newborn, she said, "There's our little preacher." Grandma was with us in our hearts on that day.
I want to thank all of you for your prayers as BCF launched. We had so many phone calls, messages, gifts, and texts from friends and family that it was almost exactly like we'd had a baby. Curtis and I may or may not have some baby weight we need to lose.
Both sets of our parents have been beyond amazing. We would not have survived the ups and downs of this process without their support and encouragement in our calling. My sister and Colin have been a huge blessing to have with us. I would never have imagined that God would move them back home in time to be a part of everything.
And can I just say that our whole core team has blown us away? When I think of them, I think of the word grace. We do not deserve to get to serve with such humble, supportive, powerful, loving, enduring, believing men and women. Last week Curt was having terrible nightmares and when some of our team found out, seven families prayed over us every hour through the night. Can you imagine? We didn't know until late the next morning - after a good night's sleep!
I cannot wait to get to know the people God is calling to be a part of BCF. I have loved looking across the chapel at all the unfamiliar faces and knowing that a year from now, God-willing, these will be individuals whose stories and hearts I know.
Our little team that has spent the last 6 months building this church has experienced Jesus Christ together in a powerful way. Please continue to pray for us as we seek to introduce the lost to this same mighty, faithful Savior, welcome prodigals home, and serve His bride.
These are some pictures I took on our dry run and launch days.
This is the chapel within the school complex.
Everything else takes place inside this building.
Setting up the check-in station for the dress rehearsal. Like everything else, this area has already evolved. Those amazing peeps are Robbie, Ashley and Dana.
Annalee, me, Erin, Lisa, and Cassi. These are some faces you'll see in the kids ministry. Cassi runs the show and she is awesome.
Our first experience with tear down.
Look closely and you'll see our first 4 guests sitting down.
Ernest and Debra opening up the service with the Word.
Curtis welcoming everyone.
Here we go!