Tuesday, September 20, 2011

BCF - The First 2 Weeks

In my mind the width and depth of this post should reflect how profound and exciting the first two public Sundays of Bayou City Fellowship were. I'm giving up on trying to match that in words because there's no way I can measure up to it.

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.



Launch day!

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!


38 comments:

Fran said...

Oh Amanda...
This is just beautiful!! Thank you so much for sharing and rejoicing with you all as you have indeed birthed the most beautiful baby! We are cheering you on across the country and I'm more than thrilled to continue to pray each week for you and Curtis and the entire BCF team. Glory to God for the great things He is up to. He is just so faithful to see it through. Love Him so.

Hugs and blessings my friend!

MEGAN said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE!

Kristen@Chasing Blue Skies said...

Oh Amanda, I'm so thrilled for you! I will keep lifting up you, your family, and the entire BCF team as you follow His will and your divine calling! Our God is beyond amazing!

Indy said...

Congratulations! May the Lord continue to guide you and your husband as you minister to His people.

mindibz said...

Can't wait to see all He has in store for the served and the servants of BCF!

Kelly Fisher said...

I think Richard and I are coming this Sunday. Can't wait!

Tara G. said...

Rejoicing with you! Phil. 1:6- He chooses the most amazing ways, doesn't He?!

HisTreasuredPossession said...

oh Wow!!! This is an amazing thing to watch unfold. Our God is so beautiful in this story, HIS story.

And the praying for CJ throughout the night without ya'll knowing just about brought me to tears. The "Church" is amazing!

love,
rachel

Emily said...

So thrilled to hear how great the first few weeks have gone. God is good! I worked in Children's Ministry full time for 6.5 years (just stopped last year)- and I am impressed that you are starting with computerized check-in! What system are you using? Great to start with it- and it shows you are planning ahead for growth! :)

Angie Smith said...

amanda i have been praying for you all, and to see the real church with everyone it it just makes it so much more *real*. amazing...beautiful and exciting. much love to you all...
angie

Marc and Charity said...

Beautiful post! I'm so excited for y'all.

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Amanda,

Between your post and that of your mom, you have given me such a fever to do the same thing. Our church is sitting on the edge of either building bigger or starting new churches. I am on the Long Range Planning Committee and I am consistently saying that starting new churches is the New Testament model. I think they are tired of hearing it, but I totally believe it and your story has proved me right. God bless ya'll.

Cheryl said...

I'm so excited that we get to be a part of this journey, even if we never take a step into BCF.

And I know what you meant when you said, "it's not about numbers" but really & truly it is. Every number represents someone that Jesus died for. So go ahead & count & celebrate every single number! Yay!

Love y'all dearly!!!

Stephanie said...

I don't go to church -- I use to (I should say). But I have watched and read about the creation of this church since you went public that you were planting a new one. I have read on your mom's blog, your blog, and followed where I could. If I lived closer, I would be honored to go to church there. I feel, even through the writings on your blog and your mom's blog about your church, that despite my struggles and weaknesses, I would be welcomed there and fed as I worked on my own issues. I hope God truly blesses your church, and I can feel that those who attend will be fed. Thankyou for sharing.

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

This makes me so happy, Amanda. So, so happy.

Charity said...

How awesome! I have read this and your moms and craziness and blessings all wrapped into one.

Jennifer said...

So blessed to be there and can't wait to see what all God has in store for our church!

Lauren said...

I just love this post!!! God is so GOOD!!!!!!!!!! :)

Rachel said...

Amanda, I was at BCF last Sunday and I loved it! My husband and I will definitely be back this week. Lately we have been thinking of trying a new church, and I think BCF could be our new church home. I love your blog, by the way. I am not yet a mom so technically I don't have baby bangs, but I can still somehow relate! :)

Blessings!
Rachel in Katy

Marla Taviano said...

I pray for you and Curtis often, friend. Love you! And so excited!!!

Sunni said...

I'm thrilled for ya'll, Amanda!

He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine!

sl said...

Thanks for the update. I have been praying for you'll. Wish I lived close enough to come worship with you.

Kristen Maddux said...

Wow, Amanda. I only know you thru your blog, but it sounds like this church is really something. Anything with that much prayer (and prayer warriors!) surrounding it is going to be blessed beyond belief.
I am a pastors kid myself and always loved (and still love) being a part of dad's ministry. Being the pastor's family is a beautiful calling (if you just stay real. Which I am sure you will!)
I am positive if we lived nearby, we'd be in the second row next Sunday! Blessings to you!

California Dreamin said...

So, so happy for you and the family and the entire BCF!! If I lived in Houston I would come cuz this is my kind of church. In the future I hope to find Pastor Curtis' sermons on itunes which I will download on my ipod. I give God all the praise for all the good reports that will come from this church. PRAISE HIM!

Ashley said...

I am so gald everything went well. Curtis is definitely one of my all-time favorite people to hear preach, so I'm jealous we're not in Houston with you! Much love and prayers being sent your way!

His Jules said...

So excited to be a part of this Amanda if only through prayer and blog following. This is such an amazing gift you are sharing with us.

Our Pastors wife and I plan to attend BCF after the SSMT Celebration. Until then we will continue to pray and wait eagerly for more posts.

Myriam said...

So glad to hear that everything is off to a great start.

Many blessings!!!

Myriam

Monica said...

So bizarre to me how I love your precious family having never met them! It's been so exciting to pray for you all and see our Savior do His thing. My husband finishes seminary in December and you make me want to jump in the car and head to Houston and serve alongside of you all!

Shelli Littleton said...

Before you know it, BCF will be moving into its own building! Hang on for an amazing ride! May the Lord continue to bless you all, sweet girl!

Karen said...

Amanda,

I am so excited for you guys! You all inspire me! If I lived there...I would so be going to BCF! God is good!

Allyson said...

My family and I attended the first two Sunday's of BCF and all I can say is that we are in love! Annalee is a friend of a friend and after reading her blog and your blog, I decided that this may be the place for our family so I emailed her about coming. I started praying and asking God to set it on my heart if this was the place for us. The first Sunday that we attended, I looked up to the ceiling of the chapel while we were singing praise songs and I thought, "I'm home." I know that may sound crazy, but I really feel like BCF is what I have been looking for since graduating college, getting married and having 2 kids. We've tried out a lot of different church's in the Houston area, but I have never felt like this before. And your children's ministry! Oh my goodness! AMAZING! I just want to tell you thank you. I cannot wait for the community groups to start and to get more involved. Hopefully we will get a chance to meet in the coming Sunday's!

Love,

Allyson

Amanda said...

Stephanie, your comment meant a lot to me. Thank you.

connorcolesmom said...

This makes my heart SOAR!!
Praising God with you for His faithfulness and Love!
BTW: in the picture of the foyer a movie star/model standing outside the door caught my attention then I realized it is Melissa with her movie star shades and dynamite hair - LOVE IT!
Congrats!!!

Rose said...

I want to you know that God has used BCF and YOUR leading and trusting to throw me over the edge with our church plant. I've had so many doubts for so long, so many questions, so many fears, and after hearing Pastor Curtis' first sermon, I just said, LORD I am willing and I will trust you fully even though so many things don't make sense to me! Thank you for being obedient, and being such an inspiration!

kari said...

Praise Him!!! We would so be there if we could!!!! love, kari

annalee said...

honored to walk alongside you and curtis and all at bcf. love the details of the story align the way.

Lindsee said...

If I've not told you lately how happy I am the Lord has allowed me to be a part of this, I am now. Seriously, friend. I am beyond thankful for this body. It has made this transition not only so much easier, but so much more joyful. I'm so excited to get to know this body more and serve here! Needless to say, I'm so thankful for the way you and Curtis have stepped out. I love y'all!

Audrey said...

Amanda,
My husband and I are similar ages as you and Curtis, have two boys (7 & 9) and worked/served in youth ministry for 10 years before God brought us to the church we are at now (and no, it's not a church plant, although for a while we thought that might be the direction He was leading!). We have been here for one year now~as the preacher and preacher's wife :) I LOVE IT!!! I love meeting the people and getting to know their stories. There are still families I don't know that have been coming for a few months (and others that have just been coming a few weeks, praise God!) and I can't wait to get to know them, too! I know as churches grow, it's near (if not totally) impossible to know everyone, but it sure feels more like a family when you know their stories. One of the things we've come to realize is that, although we may not have lived in the community for as long as some of our fellow church family, due to the vulnerabilities that people feel more free to share with a pastor, it hurts like crazy to have to move on to the next place. LORD willing, you and Curtis and my husband and I will be in this place for a good deal longer, but even so, our people's hurts cause US a good deal of pain, too~and rightly so because we love them so much :) I am so thankful for your submission to the King! I might be a teensie bit jealous that you get to go to church with your family :) but am so thankful for that, too!
May you continue to be faithful to what He entrusts to you!
love,
Audrey