by Nancy Franks
We are just an ordinary family. I can prove the ordinary to you, so you can really see how strange to the world it is that we would pack up and move across the country for Christ. We are deeply rooted in our city, and my husband has had the same stable job for 14 years. We have two kids (girl and boy), a wonderful church family, many friends and family nearby, a comfortable home on a cul-da-sac, and even a yellow Labrador. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for the ordinary. But I am even more thankful for the God who calls ordinary people to do extraordinary things for him. There are four events which have defined our call to move from Raleigh, NC to Windsor, CO to plant a church. These events are the heart of church planting, and God lined them up for us over the past 10 years.
1- Quality discipleship. Gerald and I were discipled for several years by another couple at our church. Amazingly, they came to our home every Thursday evening and taught us the Bible. Even though both of us had been Christians for a long time and had been taught in church, they taught us something different. They taught us HOW to study the bible. This was life-changing. Through studying the Bible the right way, we saw that it is more about God than about us. This is foundational for everything we do as Christians, including missions and church planting. I believe God was putting a seed in our hearts for church planting at this time.
2- Small group. When asked to be apart of a small group at our church, our first reaction was of wonder as to why we would give up every Friday night for a group of people. But, the more and more we thought about it, the more we were curious to give this sacrificing of “us” time a try. As the weeks went by, we began to really look forward to the special time each week with our small group as we studied the Bible together, prayed for one another, and served one another. We reached the point where we couldn’t imagine not having this a part of our lives. Church planting will involve lots of small group time as we seek to teach, encourage, and serve the community that we are called to.
3- Hospitality. God put people and circumstances in our lives to show us the importance of having others (especially those who are different than us!) into our home for meals. Sharing these meals gave us a bigger picture of what it means to welcome strangers into our home – much like God welcomes those who do not know him through Christ. Hospitality is another activity we will be participating in regularly as church planters as we seek to love and serve those around us in our new community.
4- Short term mission trips. Gerald and I have had the privilege of being a part of numerous short-term mission trips over the past 10 years. One trip in particular really rocked my world and started preparing me for church planting – both in the faith that it took to go on the trip and in what I learned while on. I learned radical hospitality, how to love those far different than me, and how to trust God in the going to those who do not know Him.
We believe that God used these people and events, over many years, to prepare our hearts for church planting. I can look back and see his hand in all of it, and my heart is overjoyed that he would take this ordinary family on an extraordinary journey to plant a church for his glory! I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.